The last of the historical accounts in the Book of Daniel holds the infamous story of Daniel in the Lion’s Den. What did it take to survive spending a night with hungry lions? Why did Daniel, who was so revered in Babylon, get sentenced to death by lion? There’s more to this story than you think. Let’s dig in…
Daniel 6 – Daniel in the Lions’ Den
It’s around 539-537 BC, Daniel is around 80 years old. Darius the Mede had recently captured Babylon, killed King Balshazzar and now ruled.
Darius the Mede decided to divide the kingdom into 120 provinces, and he appointed a high officer to rule over each province. 2 The king also chose Daniel and two others as administrators to supervise the high officers and protect the king’s interests. 3 Daniel soon proved himself more capable than all the other administrators and high officers. Because of Daniel’s great ability, the king made plans to place him over the entire empire.
4 Then the other administrators and high officers began searching for some fault in the way Daniel was handling government affairs, but they couldn’t find anything to criticize or condemn. He was faithful, always responsible, and completely trustworthy. 5 So they concluded, “Our only chance of finding grounds for accusing Daniel will be in connection with the rules of his religion.”
6 So the administrators and high officers went to the king and said, “Long live King Darius! 7 We are all in agreement—we administrators, officials, high officers, advisers, and governors—that the king should make a law that will be strictly enforced. Give orders that for the next thirty days any person who prays to anyone, divine or human—except to you, Your Majesty—will be thrown into the den of lions. 8 And now, Your Majesty, issue and sign this law so it cannot be changed, an official law of the Medes and Persians that cannot be revoked.” 9 So King Darius signed the law.
10 But when Daniel learned that the law had been signed, he went home and knelt down as usual in his upstairs room, with its windows open toward Jerusalem. He prayed three times a day, just as he had always done, giving thanks to his God. 11 Then the officials went together to Daniel’s house and found him praying and asking for God’s help. 12 So they went straight to the king and reminded him about his law. “Did you not sign a law that for the next thirty days any person who prays to anyone, divine or human—except to you, Your Majesty—will be thrown into the den of lions?”
“Yes,” the king replied, “that decision stands; it is an official law of the Medes and Persians that cannot be revoked.”
13 Then they told the king, “That man Daniel, one of the captives from Judah, is ignoring you and your law. He still prays to his God three times a day.”
14 Hearing this, the king was deeply troubled, and he tried to think of a way to save Daniel. He spent the rest of the day looking for a way to get Daniel out of this predicament.
15 In the evening the men went together to the king and said, “Your Majesty, you know that according to the law of the Medes and the Persians, no law that the king signs can be changed.”
16 So at last the king gave orders for Daniel to be arrested and thrown into the den of lions. The king said to him, “May your God, whom you serve so faithfully, rescue you.”
17 A stone was brought and placed over the mouth of the den. The king sealed the stone with his own royal seal and the seals of his nobles, so that no one could rescue Daniel. 18 Then the king returned to his palace and spent the night fasting. He refused his usual entertainment and couldn’t sleep at all that night.
19 Very early the next morning, the king got up and hurried out to the lions’ den. 20 When he got there, he called out in anguish, “Daniel, servant of the living God! Was your God, whom you serve so faithfully, able to rescue you from the lions?”
21 Daniel answered, “Long live the king! 22 My God sent his angel to shut the lions’ mouths so that they would not hurt me, for I have been found innocent in his sight. And I have not wronged you, Your Majesty.”
23 The king was overjoyed and ordered that Daniel be lifted from the den. Not a scratch was found on him, for he had trusted in his God.
24 Then the king gave orders to arrest the men who had maliciously accused Daniel. He had them thrown into the lions’ den, along with their wives and children. The lions leaped on them and tore them apart before they even hit the floor of the den.
25 Then King Darius sent this message to the people of every race and nation and language throughout the world:
“Peace and prosperity to you!
26 “I decree that everyone throughout my kingdom should tremble with fear before the God of Daniel.
For he is the living God,
and he will endure forever.
His kingdom will never be destroyed,
and his rule will never end.
27 He rescues and saves his people;
he performs miraculous signs and wonders
in the heavens and on earth.
He has rescued Daniel
from the power of the lions.”
28 So Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrus the Persian.Daniel 6 NLT
Rooted in Integrity
In the NKJV, v. 3 reads, “Then this Daniel distinguished himself above the governors and satraps, because an excellent spirit was in him…” It was Daniel’s good character, rooted in integrity that got him promoted — not because of his unique gifts and accomplishments.
Integrity leads to trustworthiness and promotions. He showed no corruption, nor was he negligent. He was rewarded for his integrity.
Interesting Points to Ponder
- Daniel’s loyalty and obedience was first and foremost to God. Even when it was against earthly government laws! Wow! Considering that so many churches were closed because of fear of the pandemic, were true Christians being loyal to God first above earthly government rules? In Acts 5, when Peter is in front of the officials who said that it was strictly prohibited to teach in Jesus’ name, Peter boldly said, “We ought to obey God rather than men.”
- Daniel was disciplined in praying 3 times a day — every day. Notice that he knelt in humility. What is the proper prayer posture?
- Standing with hands in the air?
- Sitting with head bowed down?
- Prayer itself is the key, not the posture!
- He prayed facing Jerusalem. This stems from back when Solomon built the temple, brought the Ark of the Covenant and dedicated it to God. The temple building, though now destroyed, still symbolized the presence of God.
- The laws of the Medes and Persians were different than most. Once issued, it could not be repealed. Not even by the king himself. Kind of like the American President’s Executive Orders. Even if the accused was found perfectly innocent, he was still executed.
- Daniel’s habit of daily prayer prepared him for the trial he faced. Notice that once Daniel was sentenced, he didn’t file a petition, he didn’t appeal, he didn’t panic and most importantly — he didn’t compromise! He could have said, “For 30 days, I can go without praying.” But he didn’t. How many churches closed down for “2 weeks to flatten the curve” and 2 years later are still closed?
- The lions didn’t eat Daniel because God sent “an angel” to shut the lion’s mouths. He also changed their temperament to those of kittens. Could that “angel” have been a pre-incarnate Jesus?
- Daniel was fearless. He was steadfast, courageous, and bold.
Charles Spurgeon once said…
“It’s a good thing those lions didn’t eat old Daniel. They would’ve choked on him. Daniel was half grit and half backbone.”Charles Spurgeon
Pastor Sandy Adams comments…
Here’s the moral of the story: don’t allow yourself to be frightened or bullied by those who are determined to pick on Christianity, and oppose Christians. Daniel didn’t go out looking for a fight, but when it came to him, he was brave, had faith, and was faithful. “Daniel was a stand up person in a bow down world.” Let’s dare to be a Daniel. Take a stand when it’s your turn… and God will be with you even in the lion’s den!Sandy Adams
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope. 5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.Romans 5:1-5 NIV
If you are a born-again believer, then you’ve got the Holy Spirit in your heart! You’ve got that excellent spirit that the king admired so in Daniel!
If you’re not sure if you’re saved or not, if you truly want to be born again and have the assurance of salvation, receive the Holy Spirit, feel His Shalom — a peace that surpasses all understanding, and get a 1-way, non-stop ticket to Heaven after you die, or that you won’t be left behind at the Rapture, which can happen at any moment, this is what you have to do…
Believe. Repent. Be Baptized. Receive the Holy Spirit.
- Believe — have Faith — that Jesus is the Christ and He died taking your sins away forever and that He rose from the dead 3 days later.
- Repent of your sins — stop sinning! Do a complete 180-degree turn in your life and surrender your life to Him. When you ask Jesus to forgive you He will. ALL your sins will be wiped clean — past, present, and future! And All means ALL!
- Be Baptized by water baptism — show the world and yourself that you have died to your old life and are born again in Christ.
- Receive the gift of Holy Spirit in your heart.
Invite Jesus into Your Heart and Receive the Gift of Grace, Joy, Peace, and the Confident Hope of Eternal Life…
The Book of Daniel – the Movie
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