IN THE DAYS OF HIS POWER SERIES.
TOPIC: REST AND PEACE EVEN IN THE LION’S DEN
COMPILED EDITED BY:-
Rev. Innocent Peace-Udochukwu
President Living Fountain Ministries Int’l LIFOM
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear…”
You can find rest if you rest in God. You can find peace if you depend on the Lord. You can get rid of all your worries if you commit your life to the Lord and pray every day.
“So the king gave the order, and they brought Daniel and threw him into the lions’ den. The king said to Daniel, “May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!”
A stone was brought and placed over the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the rings of his nobles, so that Daniel’s situation might not be changed.
Then the king returned to his palace and spent the night without eating and without any entertainment being brought to him. And he could not sleep.
At the first light of dawn, the king got up and hurried to the lions’ den. When he came near the den, he called to Daniel in an anguished voice, “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to rescue you from the lions?”
Daniel answered, “May the king live forever! My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight. Nor have I ever done any wrong before you, Your Majesty.”
The king was overjoyed and gave orders to lift Daniel out of the den. And when Daniel was lifted from the den, no wound was found on him, because he had trusted in his God.”
The story of Daniel in the lion’s den, one of the most dramatic incidents recorded in the Bible, is a great strengthener to faith, a challenge to stand firm in a time of testing and trial, and a marvellous demonstration of the power of prayer. It is an illustration of Proverbs 18:10; 1 Corinthians 16:13; 2 Timothy 4:18; James 5:17; it is a prophetic picture of the protection that God will give to His faithful people at the end of the age (when His judgments will be poured out), and it also illustrates the present help and enabling that God gives to His people in times of testing. Notice why Daniel was thrown to the lions, what happened to him and what was the result of his ordeal.
“O Daniel, servant of the living God, is thy God, whom thou servest continually, able to deliver thee from the lions?” — Daniel vi. 20.
THE empire of Babylonia and Chaldea passed into the hands of a new dynasty, and king Belshazzar was slain in a night-assault upon his capital. On that very night, he had clothed Daniel in scarlet, and made him the third ruler in the kingdom. This was providential; for, had Daniel been in obscurity, he would have been little likely to attract the notice of Darius; but, observing him in the palace, clothed in scarlet, Darius would naturally ask who he was, and enquire into his antecedents. The fame of his wisdom would be quickly told, and the fact of his having twice interpreted the dreams of Nebuchadnezzar, in former times, and of his having just then, with startling precision, foretold the downfall of Belshazzar, and the capture of the city by the Medes and Persians, would be eagerly related. Hence it was not at all surprising that Darius took great notice of Daniel, weighed his character, observed his conduct, and, after a while, exalted him to be prime minister of his realm.
Daniel’s prosperity and honours excited the envy of the courtiers. Full of sullen spite, and brimming over with jealousy, presidents and princes conspired together to cast him down with calumnious accusations. We are wont to say that “any stick will do to beat a dog;” so they looked about for any charge with which they might assail him. I have no doubt they watched him constantly, waited eagerly for his halting, all the while basely flattering the man they wanted to trip up. Can they discover a flaw in his accounts? Can they question the impartiality of his judgment? Can they detect a lack of loyalty in the administration of his government? Can they find fault with his private life? Nay; but is there nothing against him? Is Daniel such a four-square man that he is more than a match for them? I can well believe that they hunted him here and there till their haughty faces grew haggard in the vain effort to find a cause of complaint; and that they set spies to skulk about his house, and mark his movements; and, in fact, they stooped to the meanest stratagems, little heeding how much they compromised themselves if they might but compass his downfall. But his integrity was proof against all their devices. The more closely they observed him, the more clearly they discerned that he was always diligent, discreet, and devout. So conscientious and so uniformly consistent was Daniel, both in his character and his conduct, that every effort to entangle him in the meshes of their conspiracy proved to be vain.
At length the devil, who does not often run short of devices, puts them up to a fresh plot. O Satan, thou art full of all subtlety! “Let us contrive a new law,” say they, “that shall bring his piety and his patriotism into conflict. He is a Hebrew by birth, and he believes, with all his heart, in only one God. Our divinities he despises; towards our temples he shows a silent scorn; he sets no value on the magnificent statues that we venerate; three times in the day he has been accustomed to offer prayer to an invisible Protector whom he calls ‘the living God, Jehovah’; surely these peculiarities will supply us with a pretext, and so we shall entrap him.” So they laid their evil heads together, and devised as cunning a snare as they could possibly invent; and yet, clever as they were, they perished in the trap they had prepared. They managed to involve the king himself in their iniquitous device, and to entangle him in such a way that he must either sacrifice his favourite courtier, or compromise his own truthfulness, and violate the sacred traditions of the empire. A royal statute was framed, and a decree published, forbidding any petition to be asked of God or man for thirty days. How preposterous!
But when was there ever a despot who was not, sooner or later, deserted of his wits? The passion for power, when indulged without restraint, will lead a man to the utmost foolishness, and urge him to a madness of vanity. In such a false position stood the monarch, who was easily persuaded to issue the infamous edict desired. In this strait, how will Daniel acquit himself? Will he count it prudent to desert his post, and get out of the way? Nay; Daniel had a soul above such policy. Yet you might imagine that, if he must pray, he would go down into the cellar, or offer his supplications to God in some retired place where he need not challenge notice. His petitions will be heard in heaven without respect to the place from which they are presented. Or it might have been expedient to suspend the vocal utterance of prayer, and offer his supplications silently. Daniel, however, was a servant of the living God, and therefore he scorned thus to temporize, and play the coward. Well does one of the old writers call him Cœur de Lion, for he had the heart of a lion. Into that den of lions he went, a lion-like man, — not cruel, like the beasts of the forest, but far more courageous. His conscience towards God was clean, and the course he pursued before his fellow-creatures was clear. His sense of truth would not suffer him to be a trimmer. He does not change his habit; but goes upstairs, though he might have known that it was like climbing the gallows; he drops upon his knees, puts his hands together, with his windows open toward Jerusalem in the presence of ail his adversaries, and there he prays three times a day as he had done aforetime. He prays openly, not ostentatiously; in the spirit of a Protestant rather than in the fashion of a Pharisee. He sought no honour, but he shunned no danger. To encounter shame, or to endure reproach, if needful, for the cause of righteousness, had long been his fixed habit, and now that it threatens to bring on him swift death, he swerves not.
Hear those quick feet as they patter along the streets of Shushan. All the presidents and princes are coming together; there is mischief brewing, for they are going to seek an interview with the king. They are anxious to inform his majesty that they have caught Daniel committing the horrible crime of prayer! Was not this a new offence? Oh, no! The first man that ever died fell a victim to his religion; and so, I suppose, for many and many a century, this was one of the foulest offences a man could commit against society. Those who serve the living and the true God are sure to challenge the sneers of the time-servers in any age. There are many, nowadays, who hate nothing so much as a religious man. All the epithets in the catalogue of scandal are too good for the man who offers homage to God in everything. An infidel may be reputed honest, intelligent, and worthy of respect; but a genuine Christian is at once denounced as a hypocrite. Away with such a fellow; his conscience is as offensive as his creed! There is toleration for everybody who conforms to the fashion of the day; but no toleration for anyone who believes that the laws of heaven should regulate life on earth.
So they told the king that the laws of his empire must be kept inviolate; good, loyal souls as they were, they would not have a statute broken for the world! There is an end to your monarchy if your royal proclamations are not to be respected! They are so jealous for the common weal, and so earnest for the king’s honour, that they must, at all hazards, even if it be at the risk of seeing their dear friend Daniel put into the lions’ den, maintain the dignity of the king, and assert the majesty of his imperial edict The king perceives that he is caught, but thinks the matter over, and, finding no alternative, gives Daniel up to the conspirators. Alas! I see the godly man flung in among the lions; but what do I hear? Do I hear his bones cracking? Can I hear a shriek from the prophet? Is there a noise of the howling of those savage beasts of prey? There is an awful hush while the king puts bis seal upon the stone; shall we step down, and peer into the den, to see what is going on there? No sooner had Daniel arrived at his destination than an angel of God encamped in that dungeon. Stretching his broad wings, he seems to have fixed his station in front of those fierce beasts. The safety of Daniel was secured. The mouths of the liens were shut, and they lay down like lambs. Perhaps Daniel found a comfortable pillow for his night’s rest upon the shaggy body of one of those monsters that would have devoured him had not the heavenly visitant hushed them into silence by his presence; or perhaps the appearance of the angel was as a flame of fire, and wrought an illusion before the lions’ eyes, so that Daniel seemed to them to be surrounded with flame, or robed with fire. At any rate, that night, the prophecy of the latter days, that the lamb shall lie down with the lion, was fulfilled to the letter. God, in his providence and grace, preserved his servant. We can easily imagine that, like Paul and Silas, when he did not sleep, he made the lions’ den vocal with his songs, and that the lions growled the bass while God’s angel stood there listening to such music as he had never heard before, till the morning dawned, and then he sped his way up to heaven as the king came to fetch Daniel out of his prison house. So Daniel was delivered, and his foes were confounded.
The king said, “Thy God, whom thou servest continually,” This was no empty compliment. His scrupulous uprightness had become so habitual that it was like an instinct of his nature. Daniel began to serve God in his youth. There are no saints to be compared with those whose childish minds were imbued with heavenly truths as soon as their infant lips began to lisp them; just as there are no sinners so inured to wickedness as those who are bred and trained in haunts of vice, tutored from their cradle to utter profane words, and prone to act, as they think bravely, in defiance of every precept of the Decalogue, till they become proficients in every kind of profligacy. They, who give their morning to God, shall find that, in beginning early, they can keep pace with their work all the day.
Here, dear friends, I would remark that the only service to God which is real, genuine, remunerative, is this continual service that sticks at nothing. Any hungry dog will follow you in the streets if you do but entice him with a piece of meat, or a bit of biscuit. How closely he keeps to your heels! But, after a while, the bait is gone, and the dog retreats. That is like many a professor. There is some little pleasure in religion, or some advantage, and so he follows Christ; but, after a while, there is an attraction elsewhere; and, impelled by greed rather than gratitude, he pursues it. Thus do false professors forsake Christ, whom they never did really follow. But I have seen a man on horseback, splashing the mud about; and I have seen his dog keeping close at the horse’s heels, — up hill and down dale, — whether the roads were smooth or rough, what mattered it to the faithful hound? His master was before him, so on he went. That is the only kind of dog I would care to own; and I believe this is the only sort of follower that our Lord Jesus Christ is willing to acknowledge.
“I feel within me
A peace above all earthly dignities,
A still and quiet conscience.”
In life you’ll face trials, but in every case, your deliverance is determined by your faith. The heritage of our faith is founded upon the sacrifices and courage of people like Daniel.
You can find rest if you rest in God. You can find peace if you depend on the Lord. You can get rid of all your worries if you commit your life to the Lord and pray every day.
God actually allowed Daniel to be put into the den, just as previously He had allowed Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego to be put into the fiery furnace (Daniel 3:17-23); just as He allowed Paul and Silas to be cast into prison (Acts 16:23-24)
My times are in Thy hand;
My God, I wish them there;
My life, my friends, my soul I leave
Entirely to Thy care.
That is what faith in the living God does - it gives peace and poise in the midst of terrifying situations and produces within the believer the experience of Isaiah 26:3. Look at verses 18 to 20. Daniel was more at rest in the prison with the lions than Darius was in his palace with all his luxurious comforts. If you are in a lions’ den, do believe this: the lions cannot harm you unless God allows them to, and if He does allow them, then somehow it will be for the best (Romans 8:28). What God wants most in our lives is that we trust Him, as Daniel did.
Dare to be a Daniel,
Dare to stand alone!
Dare to have a purpose firm!
Dare to make it known!
Effective Prayer is Thankful Prayer. Daniel did not moan and complain. He gave thanks for God’s Sovereign will impacting his own life. Daniel was certain that nothing could be more wonderful than God’s perfect plan for himself, even if he suffered trouble. The Lion’s Den, therefore, was certain to be a place of God’s Sovereignty and glory. Daniel probably could not see the full plan, but he was thankful for God’s will fully operative in his life. King Darius, not knowing the outcome, was terrified by the danger he had caused Daniel when he signed the new law. He had failed to understand the trick his advisors had played on him.
Effective prayer Brings God’s Presence into Any Situation:
Daniel spent the night peacefully while the King fasted and an Angel shut the lion’s mouths. Some have imagined Daniel sleeping with his head resting on the belly of one of the lions, a warm pillow in the cool dungeon. When we pray, we are empowered by the Third Person of the Trinity, Jesus Christ. His Spirit comes to visit us in our crisis and in our day of thanksgiving.
When people come to the altar of God for prayer, they bring their “Lion’s Dens” with them. They have found themselves in or on the way into the Lion’s Den. This crisis tests their faith. It raises in them the fundamental question, “Is God real? Is He aware of what is happening in my life? Does He care about my dilemma?” God answers those questions immediately. Whereas Daniel spent the night in peace, his conspirators who had plotted his demise, died in the jaws of the very lions which they had gathered together for Daniel’s destruction.
Much of the New Testament is composed of letters from first-hand witnesses to Jesus’ life and ministry, His death and His resurrection. These letters were written to the various early churches which these witnesses had “planted” across the known world. These letters were then, and are today, powerful messages from the Holy Spirit to the modern church around the world. The Word of God is active and alive, a living message.
Can’t you just imagine the delight around the throne of God throughout the night that Daniel was in the lion’s den. What joy there must have been in heaven because one man had been willing to stand up against an entire kingdom simply because he believe in and loved the Lord! We don’t often picture laughter on the throne in heaven, but I can on this occasion. All the enemies of Daniel thought they have won a victory. They are at home rubbing their hands together in delight that they are going to be rid of Daniel. The king is at home turning in his bed thinking that he has sentenced his favorite man to death among the lions. God is in heaven, leaning back with a great smile as he looks down on Daniel and sees him resting among the lions.
Do you and I ever make heaven glad? Is our faith, steadfastness and commitment something that rings bells in heaven? God is looking for some people like Daniel – people who pray and people who back up their prayers with action.
We will never convince this world concerning our Lord unless we are willing to be true to the Lord ourselves. We begin that by knowing Him in salvation.
Will you trust God today to be your Savior? Jesus died for you. On the night he died, those who wished for his death were delighted. Perhaps Satan was celebrating. But, on Sunday morning when Jesus stepped out of the tomb, it was a different story. He is alive. You can trust Him now to save you. Don’t be ashamed of Him. Come to Him today in repentance and faith!
Are we who know the Lord as Savior praying as we should? Is our faith visible to the world? Is there a Daniel among us?
If we want to change the world, let’s start by changing our own commitment! Let us rededicate ourselves to the Lord today – right now!
If you are not now praying three times a day, or at any time of day, then start today. Paul said that we should pray continuously. Yet, prayer is a learned skill. The disciples said, “Lord, teach us to pray!” Jesus gave them a pattern of prayer to follow, and then encouraged them to pray on many specific occasions. Daniel did not wait for the Lion’s Den crisis before he started learning. It all started when Daniel surrendered to the Holy God and to His purposes for his life. You can do likewise today, hopefully long before you have to go into the “Lion’s Den of Peace.” May God’s peace keep your heart until you see His faithfulness revealed, until you grow confident in His Goodness. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
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