- Dan. 6:1-27; 1:21; 6:28
With Darius the Mede now in charge of Babylon, Daniel is promoted to the position of administrator and, along with two other administrators, is placed in charge over 120 satraps who ruled throughout the kingdom. Daniel excelled again in this role and Darius wanted to make Daniel in charge over all the kingdom. But the other administrators and the satraps were jealous of Daniel, so they sought to find some reason to accuse him. However, after investigating Daniel's decisions and character, they found him to be completely blameless. They had nothing at all they could charge Daniel with.
So they came up with a plot. They tricked king Darius into signing a decree where the people of the kingdom could only pray to the king for 30 days. They could not pray to GOD or idols. The punishment would be to be thrown into the lions' den. Hearing this news, Daniel went home and opened his upstairs windows towards Jerusalem and knelt down and prayed to GOD, as his custom was. A group of these jealous men went and found Daniel praying to GOD, so they went and reported it to Darius.
Under the law of the Medes and Persians, a decree by the king could not be changed, so Darius had no choice but to have Daniel thrown in the lions' den. Darius went personally along with those who threw Daniel into the den. He said to Daniel, "May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!" Then they brought a stone and put it over the entrance to the den. Darius went home and wouldn't eat nor have entertainment, and that night he was unable to sleep.
As dawn came, Darius hurried to the den. He called out to Daniel in anguish:
...“Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to deliver you from the lions?” 21 Then Daniel said to the king, “O king, live forever! 22 My God sent His angel and shut the lions’ mouths, so that they have not hurt me, because I was found innocent before Him; and also, O king, I have done no wrong before you.” 23 Now the king was exceedingly 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 injury whatever was found on him, because he believed in his God.
(Dan. 6:20-23 NKJV)
Darius then had the men who had plotted against and accused Daniel brought, along with their wives and children, and threw them into the lions' den. The lions crushed their bones before they even hit the den floor.
25 Then King Darius wrote: To all peoples, nations, and languages that dwell in all the earth: Peace be multiplied to you. 26 I make a decree that in every dominion of my kingdom men must tremble and fear before the God of Daniel. For He is the living God, And steadfast forever; His kingdom is the one which shall not be destroyed, And His dominion shall endure to the end. 27 He delivers and rescues, And He works signs and wonders In heaven and on earth, Who has delivered Daniel from the power of the lions.
(Dan. 6:25-27 NKJV)
Daniel continued to prosper under the reign of Darius and Cyrus king of Persia after him.
We've read about many amazing stories where GOD chose to intercede on behalf of His children and save their life, none greater than Daniel in the lions' den. As we've noted before, GOD didn't always choose to save the righteous from suffering, persecution or death. It seems clear that GOD chose to save Daniel for at least three reasons:
- Daniel's faith—Daniel persisted in praying to GOD and asking for His help even in the face of what seemed as certain death. He did not waver in his commitment to GOD despite the threats of evil men.
- GOD was not finished with Daniel yet—Daniel was serving a very important purpose in GOD's plans, and GOD apparently wanted him to continue his efforts.
- GOD used Daniel's situation to demonstrate His supreme power over lions, nature, hunger, fear, idols, kings, man-made laws, and evil and faithless people. GOD's choosing to save Daniel led to Cyrus proclaiming the name of the LORD throughout the kingdom, and much good could come from that.
At various times in our life, we will face tests of our faith. How we respond is crucial—the most important decisions we make are in the face of tests, temptations or trials—and GOD would have us succeed. We might never face situations where we will have to choose to die in order to profess the name of GOD or Jesus to others; but then again, we might. We need to be prepared for these tests because we never know when they might arise. GOD help us defeat Satan and his forces who would see us fail during the moments we are tested. Be like Daniel. Trust in GOD.