The Great Deliverer Day 3: Delivered From Lions
Then they answered and said before the king, “Daniel, who is one of the exiles from Judah, pays no attention to you, O king, or the injunction you have signed, but makes his petition three times a day.” Then the king commanded, and Daniel was brought and cast into the den of lions. The king declared to Daniel, “May your God, whom you serve continually, deliver you!” And a stone was brought and laid on the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet of his lords, that nothing might be changed concerning Daniel. Then, at the break of day, the king arose and went in haste to the den of lions. As he came near the den where Daniel was, he cried out in a tone of anguish. The king declared to Daniel, “O Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God whom you serve continually, been able to deliver you from the lions?” Then Daniel said to the king, “O king, live forever! My God sent his angel and shut the lions’ mouths, and they have not harmed me, because I was found blameless before him.” (Daniel 6:13, 16-17, 19-22, ESV)
Have you ever been the object of someone’s betrayal—either from a friend or family member? Or have you ever been the target of someone who simply had you on their hit list for seemingly no reason? Most of us probably haven’t been on a hit list of a serious criminal, but many of us have been considered unworthy or an outcast—someone on whom bullies preyed. It’s a pretty awful experience, and one that leaves you feeling hurt and alone.
Now here is another question for you. Have you ever seen the size of a lion’s paw? I remember staring closely at one in a zoo and I marveled at the size of it. Oh—and their teeth! They have a set of teeth and a jaw that makes my arm look like a matchstick. I think it’s pretty safe to say most of us don’t go through our days worrying about encountering a lion—certainly not being thrown into a den of them. But in Daniel’s time, it was a punishment that wasn’t unheard of.
Sometimes we find it hard to understand why we would ever face opposition when we make a choice to do the right thing. Think of those who have lost their lives for refusing to renounce their faith. It seems wrong, humanly speaking, that they would be killed for following Jesus, and yet many of His disciples and apostles faced the same end. Yet they showed an unwavering passion to follow Him whatever the cost. In situations like these, the gospel flourishes rather than being extinguished. We also know that God uses bad things as well as good things to fulfill purposes greater than we may ever understand this side of Heaven.
For Daniel, he was targeted by men who were jealous of his favor and position. His faith set him apart and made him a well-respected counselor to King Darius. Because of this favor, the men sought and devised ways to set him up for his demise. Knowing he prayed three times each day to God, they crafted a plan that would get rid of him in the den of hungry lions. However, they discounted the power of the One Daniel served and prayed to.
Even though these men hatched a plan to entrap him, he continued his regular prayer routine without a second thought. And in that den of lions, Daniel was delivered. This greatly convicts me as I wonder how I would face a similar situation if I boldly continued in my faith against a law that prohibited it. For Daniel, we see an unwavering commitment to God, and he is noted as one of the faithful ones in the Bible. I can’t imagine spending the night with a bunch of lions in a dark den, but we know that God sent an angel to close their mouths, not allowing any harm to come to Daniel.
God used this situation of deliverance for a very specific purpose—to reveal Himself to those who did not believe in Him. Sometimes, that is best done by delivering us, and sometimes it’s best done by taking us home to Heaven. Just as Daniel trusted God with the situation he faced, we can trust Him too—because He is the same God today as He was then. He will deliver if it is in His best plan. This can give us confidence as we face hardships and difficulties in life, knowing that, as His children, we are seeking to live out a plan that honors Christ and furthers His kingdom. Sometimes this will look differently than our prayerful pleas—yet it is in those moments that our faith is truly revealed.