“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. 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. So they concluded, “Our only chance of finding grounds for accusing Daniel will be in connection with the rules of his religion.” Daniel 6:3-5 (NLT)
“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!” Daniel 6:16 (NIV)
Daniel and Nebuchadnezzar
As is true for all earthly kings, Nebuchadnezzar’s reign ended and everything changed. This new ruler did what most new leaders do—he shook things up—Darius decided to divide the kingdom. The formation of new provinces didn’t pose a problem. The problem began when Darius made Daniel, yes the Hebrew slave, the supervisor of the supervisors.
You don’t need much experience to realize the tense work relationships that decision caused. The jealous, insulted, over-looked co-workers of Daniel decided to overthrow him rather than enjoy his wise leadership. That’s one lesson—but not today’s.
Daniel ended up in the lion’s den. You probably know the story. Those passed over for promotion set-up Darius and Daniel. Daniel spent the night in the lion’s den. God protected Daniel. Darius had the evil plotters thrown into the lion’s den and the lions ate them.
It’s another great story. Goodness wins. God’s shows His mighty provision and protection for those who follow His commands in the middle of the lion’s den. No doubt, you can name some metaphorical lions or literal evil plotters in your life. Rest in knowing God will overcome evil.
That’s the kid’s story of Daniel in the lion’s den.
A Deeper Message
I’ve been wrestling with something for the past few months. Here are the questions I’ve been asking myself. I’ll let you decide if you want to ask yourself these questions.
Does my relationship with God send a mixed message to those around me? Do I tell people God is great and wonderful only to live out a pitiful life of fear, doubt, inadequacy and yes, sometimes willful, prideful sin?
Just like his three friends, Daniel didn’t accidentally become faithful, always responsible, and completely trustworthy. When the other administrators looked for some skeleton in Daniel’s closet, they found themselves disappointed. Darius, not as volatile as Nebuchadnezzar, didn’t worship Jehovah, but look at what he knew. Darius recognized Daniel’s faithfulness and God’s ability to save.
Look at the difference Daniel’s life of determination, integrity, faithfulness, and trustworthiness made. Daniel didn’t snivel when his reputation was attacked. He didn’t whine in the face of persecution. He didn’t compromise to make his life easier.
Setting Himself Apart
Being devoted to Jehovah made a difference in Daniel’s life—a difference he lived out for all to see and recognize. Daniel didn’t wear a cross necklace. He didn’t have a Bible to carry to work with him. He didn’t listen ONLY Christian music. He didn’t have a John 3:16 tee-shirt or bumper sticker. None of those things really matter if we, as believers, live pitiful, powerless lives. Daniel lived in a pagan culture. He was a foreign slave in a land hostile to his beliefs. Daniel lived in the same circumstances you and I do.
Still, all those around Daniel KNEW his God made a difference in his life.
That’s the grown-up story of Daniel in the lion’s den.
A life of faithfulness, goodness, determination to swim against the tide and devotion to God is not the end in itself. The believer’s life of integrity, honesty, victory, joy in bad circumstances, and humility is to bring God glory. The fruit the Spirit grows in my life is not for my Christian enjoyment but as an advertisement for those who don’t know God—an advertisement of His goodness and power.
Read Paul’s words in Galatians 5 if Daniel hasn’t convinced you.
I have a lot of swimming to do.
Father, HELP ME! Help me live a life that shows others around me Your greatness. Work in my life to make me a good advertisement of Your loving power and grace. Give me the divine determination to swim against the tide of my selfish desires. Father, I give up my weakness—please make me strong.