Book of Daniel

Daniel in the lion's den

Chapter 6 (Verses 14-28)


Sometimes when we read a story like the story of Daniel, we get the idea that it is God’s purpose to deliver His children in a miraculous way, but sometimes He chooses not to do that.

The same Bible that records Daniel’s deliverance, also reminds us that Isaiah believed God and he was sawn in half and that Paul believed God and he was decapitated, that Peter also believed and he was crucified upside down. Peter chose to do so, because he said I’m not worth to be crucified like my Lord. He let them nail him to the cross with his head down lest he be compared to the Lord, trusting that his blood would be the seed of the Church and his sacrifice would send the message of truth farther than his living speech would carry it.

The heritage of your faith and mine is found upon the sacrifice and the courage of men like Peter and Daniel. Daniel was wonderfully delivered from death; Peter paid for his faith with his life.

Believing God does not necessarily guarantee you that you won’t be “eaten by the lions,” but in Daniel’s case deliverance was part of God’s plan. What a wonderful story it is, as we review it.

Daniel was preferred by Darius as Darius came into the kingship of the Medes and Persian Kingdoms. He chose out of all the men in his kingdom, Daniel, and he selected him as Prime Minister. He was one of the three Presidents, but he was above the Presidents and under him were the one hundred and twenty princes. He was preferred because of his excellent spirit and his wisdom and that he had God with him.

Daniel had no sooner taken this responsibility that was his, when he began to be persecuted by his enemies. They were jealous of him. He was a foreigner who had been elevated above them and they hated him.

Not only that, but Daniel was honest, and he kept them from stealing from the king and they all set out to get him out of their way, out of leadership. They searched and searched but they couldn’t find anything; he was absolutely spotless in his character.

So, they set out to catch Daniel praying to his God because they knew he would not break this habit. He prayed three times a day. They had observed that Daniel was very regular in his prayer life.

That brings us to the 10th through the 13th verses where we learn that Daniel was persistent in his testimony. When they had the Law of the Medes and Persians passed that King Darius would be god for a month and anybody who refused to bow down before him would be thrown into the den of lions, Daniel and the king were caught in the trap. He did not know that Daniel would be the one condemned.

Daniel 6:10-13 (review)
10Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime. 11Then these men assembled, and found Daniel praying and making supplication before his God. 12Then they came near, and spake before the king concerning the king’s decree; Hast thou not signed a decree, that every man that shall ask a petition of any God or man within thirty days, save of thee, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions? The king answered and said, The thing is true, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not. 13Then answered they and said before the king, That Daniel, which is of the children of the captivity of Judah, regardeth not thee, O king, nor the decree that thou hast signed, but maketh his petition three times a day.

Daniel didn’t change at all; he just kept on doing what he had always done.

We come now to verses 14-23 and we learn that Daniel will be protected by his God. We notice in verse 14 of the displeasure of the king. It’s interesting, as you read this verse 14,

Daniel 6:14-23
14Then the king, when he heard these words was sore displeased with himself, and set his heart on Daniel to deliver him: and he laboured till the going down of the sun to deliver him. 15Then these men assembled unto the king, and said unto the king Know, O king, that the law of the Medes and Persians is, That no decree nor statute which the king establisheth may be changed. 16Then the king commanded, and they brought Daniel, and cast him into the den of lions. Now the king spake and said unto Daniel, Thy God whom thou servest continually, he will deliver thee. 17And a stone was brought, and laid upon the mouth of the den; and the king sealed it with his own signet, and with the signet of his lords; that the purpose might not be changed concerning Daniel. 18Then the king went to his palace and passed the night fasting: neither were instruments of music brought before him: and his sleep went from him. 19Then the king arose very early in the morning, and went in haste to the den of lions. 20And when he came to the den, he cried with a lamentable voice unto Daniel: and the king spake and said to Daniel, O Daniel, servant of the living God, is thy God, whom thou servest continually, able to deliver thee from the lions? 21Then said Daniel unto the king, O king, live for ever. 22My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions’ mouths, that they have not hurt me: forasmuch as before him innocency was found in me; and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt. 23Then was the king exceeding glad for him, and commanded that they should take Daniel up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no manner of hurt was found upon him, because he believed in his God.

The king wasn’t displeased with Daniel; rather he was displeased with himself. He didn’t want to hurt Daniel. He had been tricked and when he realized that his own people had connived against him, this verse tells us that King Darius labored hard to deliver Daniel, even from morning till night.

Under Persian law, when a person is convicted of a crime, and the sentence was passed, they were executed on the same day, so King Darius had a limited time to free Daniel. The laws of the Medes and the Persians could not be changed. They thought the Persian king was infallible and that they couldn’t do anything wrong and that anything they said was right.

Four different times in this 6th chapter we are reminded that that which the Medo-Persian monarch would decree could not be changed. Verse 8 states “which altereth not” and verse 12, “which altereth not” and verse 15: could not be changed. Nobody could change it, but God. He is not affected by any law.

We learn at the beginning of the Book of Daniel, is a picture of the Sovereignty of God. Now Daniel didn’t do anything deserving punishment; his life has been clean since he came to live in these pagan palaces as a teenager. He’s pushing 90 years old now. He just kept on doing his regular devotions to God and the result was that he was set up and he’s about to be thrown to the lions.

Remember when we studied the Book of Esther that the Medes and the Persians were in charge and under the authority of the king when a decree was made that decree couldn’t be changed. That is why Esther when she went in to the king, at first without permission, she said, “If I perish, I perish.” He did not know at that time that she was a Jew. Remember, the king reached out his scepter and honored her presence and would answer her request that pertained to saving the lives of her people, the Jews. To do so, he had to make a second decree.

Back in the palace, verse 18, we read, Then the king, King Darius, went to his palace, and passed the night fasting, neither were instruments of music brought before him, and his sleep went from him. The king was worried. King Darius was not only losing his friend but his number one administrator.

Though King Darius had not, himself, consigned Daniel to the lions’ den, he was responsible in that his own vanity had caused Daniel’s being thrown in the den.

Seemingly, the only ones who didn’t eat supper that night were the king and the lions.

Daniel 6:19-22
19Then the king arose very early in the morning and went in haste unto the den of lions. 20And when he came to the den, he cried with a lamentable voice unto Daniel: and the king spake and said to Daniel, O Daniel, servant of the living God, is thy God, whom thou servest continually, able to deliver thee from the lions? 21Then said Daniel unto the king, O king, live for ever. 22My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions’ mouths, that they have not hurt me: forasmuch as before him innocency was found in me; and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt.

Daniel evidently had been given the same assurance that his three friends had been given in the fiery furnace.

Daniel 6:23-24
23Then was the king exceeding glad for him, and commanded that they should take Daniel up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no manner of hurt was found upon him, because he believed in his God. 24And the king commanded, and they brought those men which had accused Daniel, and they cast them into the den of lions, them, their children, and their wives; and the lions had the mastery of them, and brake all their bones in pieces or ever they came at the bottom of the den.

The king loved Daniel.

Hebrew 11:16-32 tells us: By faith, by faith, by faith…Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, Moses, the walls of Jericho, the harlot Rahab, Gedeon, Barak, Samson, Jephthae, David, Samuel, and the prophets:

Hebrews 11:33
Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions,

Spurgeon said, “It was a good thing that the lions didn’t eat Daniel. They never would have enjoyed him for he was 50% grit and 50% backbone. He wouldn’t have been much fun to eat. Daniel believed in his God. He wasn’t any different from you and me, only in the measure of his faith.“

The plot of those who were enemies of Daniel was uncovered. Verse 24, And the king commanded, and they brought those men which had accused Daniel, and they cast them into the den of lions, them, their children, and their wives; and the lions had the mastery of them, and brake all their bones in pieces or ever they came at the bottom of the den.

It wasn’t that Daniel was one of God’s pets; neither was it because he was so special to our Heavenly Father; it wasn’t because he was preordained or predestined, but because Daniel believed in his God.

The Book of Hebrews , Chapter 11, tells us what happens when a man believes in his God. Enoch believed in his God and he was translated (11:5); Abel offered a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, because he believed in his God (11:4). Noah built an ark to the saving of himself and his family because he believed in his God (11:7). Abraham went out, not knowing whither he went, because he believed in his God (11:8) Joseph gave commandment concerning his bones because he believed in his God (11:22). Moses refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter because he believed in his God, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God because he believed in his God, and Daniel, according to the Book of Hebrews, although he is not mentioned by name (Hebrews 11:32-33), stopped the mouths of the lions, because he believed in his God.

A teacher once asked a group of girls why Daniel was not afraid when he was in the lions’ den. One little girl said, “Because one of the lions was the Lion of the Tribe of Judah and He was in there with him.”

Now we come to verse 24 and we see the fifth major section of this text and we see Daniel’s faith proved by his God’s protection. Some people who don’t believe that God can perform miracles want to explain them away, like the lions were not very hungry or Daniel hid in one of the corners of the den and the lions couldn’t find him.

These were hungry, furious, terrible lions. Scripture tells us that when those men were thrown into the den that the lions broke all their bones before they got to the bottom of the cave. The lions got their reward.

Instead of one tough old Jew, they got a lot of tender, spineless Persians for breakfast. They were hungry and they ate them all before they hit the ground.

That reminds me of Haman, who was hanged on his own gallows (in the Book of Esther).

Psalm 7:15
(The wicked)…He made a pit, and digged it, and is fallen into the ditch which he made.

He made it (the ditch) for somebody else.

I believe God often does that when people reach out to touch/harm His anointed…and God “touches” them, the perpetrators. There’s a great story in the 12th chapter of Acts and when you get a chance, read it, about how Peter was saved out of prison.

The first part of the story says that Herod stretched forth his hand to vex certain of the church and he killed James, and he tried to kill Peter, and you read how Peter was miraculously delivered out of that jail cell, and you come to the end of the story and it tells about Herod claiming himself to be God and receiving praise from men, as if he were God and the Scripture says that Herod was eaten of worms, and he died.

Herod stretched his hand forth to get the Church and God stretched His hand forth and got Herod. Because when you touch one of God’s anointed it’s a terrible thing to see what Goes does.

As we come to the end of the 6th chapter of Daniel, we’ve probably all known the story of Daniel in the lions’ den and the three Hebrew children in the fiery furnace. We’ve seen flannel graph stories and cartoons and colored it in coloring books. Many of us who have worked with children have taught the children about it throughout the years. There isn’t a thing in this Bible that doesn’t have practical application to our lives, not a story, no matter how familiar, that it doesn’t have something to say to us.

1. Notice the lesson that’s wrapped up in the probability of the lions’ den. The nature of the Christian faith marks all of us for “the lions”. We are out of step with the world around us and that’s why we’re always in jeopardy of the “Lions Den”. You remember back in chapter 3 that Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were standing when everybody else was kneeling. Now in today’s lesson everybody else was standing, but Daniel was kneeling.

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were out of step with their times and Daniel was out of step in his time and God delivered them, but I want you to notice: He delivered Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego through the fiery furnace, and Daniel through the lions’ den. There was no attempt on the part of God to withhold them from the pressure of certain death and it will be like that for you and me.

Do you have any “lions” in your life? The lions we confront may be sickness, illness, business reversals, friction, loss of job or a farmer who has lost his crop. We don’t despair and give up, but praise the Lord, because it reminds us to lay up treasures in Heaven…a mother who loses a child is not frantic, but is comforted from the assurance that she will rejoin her child in the Father’s House.

God always acts in the best interest of His people. Sooner or later every child of God will face some sort of “the lions’ den.” The devil is before the one, accusing the saints of God and when he reminds you of something that God has forgiven you for, just remind him of his future.

Suffering and testing are inevitable in the life of a Christian. We cannot escape it, but there’s a promise wrapped up in the lesson of the lion’s den. Daniel was not kept from the lions, but he was kept in the midst of them. God has not promised to keep us from the difficulties of life, but He has promise to keep us in the midst of it. Let me remind you of some of His promises to that effect:

Psalm 34:7
The angel of the LORD encampeth round around them that fear him, and delivereth them.
Psalm 97:10
Ye that love the LORD, hate evil: he delivereth them out of the hand of the wicked.

That’s just a couple of His promises.

You might think when you’re traveling: I hope I get back safely. I heard a statement that I’ve never forgotten: “A man or woman of God, in the will of God, is immortal until his work on earth is done.”

It simply says that a man of God, in the will of God, not anything on earth can touch us, until God’s done with us and when God’s done with me, I don’t want to be around here. We can trust Him for our safety.

The Promise of the Lions’ Den:

  1. Sometimes the mouths of the lions are shut.
  2. Sometimes He feeds us by the brook, like Elijah.
  3. Sometimes the streams run dry.
  4. God will take care of you!


Let’s think for a moment about the Purpose of the Lions’ Den:

  1. God is in control.
  2. God is the Star of this story.


As stated earlier in this lesson:

Daniel 6:22-23
22My God sent his angel and hath shut the lions’ mouth, that they have not hurt me: forasmuch as before him innocency was found in me; and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt. 23Then was the king exceeding glad for him, and commanded that they should take Daniel up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no manner of hurt was found upon him, because he believed in his God.
Daniel 6:26-27
26I make a decree, That in every dominion of my kingdom men tremble and fear before the God of Daniel: for he is the living God, and stedfast for ever, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed, and his dominion shall be even unto the end. 27He delivereth and rescueth, and he worketh signs and wonders in heaven and in earth, who hath delivered Daniel from the power of the lions.

That’s a pagan Medo-Persian king giving new testimony to the greatness of our God, “so that even the wrath of men praise God”.

The purpose of these difficulties is to glorify God. At the beginning of this story we have a regime; at the end of the story we have a new religion, all by the king who was touched by the power of Almighty God.

All the difficulty, problems, suffering and the tragedies of our lives, if we just look for it, is to glorify God through your lions’ den experience. I don’t know how He is going to do it, but the consistent testimony of the Word of God is this: Whenever God asks His children to go through difficult times, it is always and ever for the purpose of glorifying God and the next one is to prosper Daniel, verse 28.

Daniel 6:28
So this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius, and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian.

I was reminded of the passage of Scripture in Job 23:10 and James 1:12:

Job 23:10
But he knoweth the way that I take: when he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.
James 1:12
Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. (My comment: tried = tested)

The testing is to glorify God, but it is also to refine us, purify us and when we’re purified and refined, we always prosper. Whenever God puts us in the furnace and He drains all the dross off, we come out as pure gold.

Daniel maintained his position to the end of his life which came during the reign of Cyrus. It was Cyrus who made the decree, permitting the Jews to return to Palestine.

From this point on the Book of Daniel will be mainly concerned with the visions and prophecies which were given to Daniel over the long period of his life spent in a foreign land.

Author: Nannie Mae Jordan   (Transcribed by Joyce Carter   Transcribed and Formatted by Jerry Knight)

 

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