In the Lions’ Den

Daniel 6 records the fairly well-known history of Daniel in the lions’ den. Consider how the lions’ den anticipated one of the means by which Christians were executed by the Roman Empire. Then consider how being surrounded by hungry lions is an apt parallel to the experience of honest, faithful people in our time. Here are some important details about Daniel.

First, Daniel had integrity: his life as an ambassador of God’s kingdom and service in his calling were consistently faithful, including Daniel’s daily prayers.

Second, those who were jealous of Daniel mistakenly assumed that Daniel’s integrity could serve as a means to destroy him; mistaken because virtues, including integrity, are precisely what preserve our lives no matter what. The enemies of Daniel tricked the king into making a decree that everyone must join him in idolatry and that anyone who refused would have to be thrown into a den of lions. Thus, people full of pride and jealousy insist that everyone practice the vanity and other evils that they promote or by way of negative media, be thrown to the lions and devoured.

Third, Daniel did not provoke those who made themselves his enemies nor did he provoke their attention. The text of Daniel is careful to say that Daniel simply maintained his custom of praying with the windows of his dwelling open—which is what his enemies depended on.

Fourth, the king did realize that he had been vain and foolish in agreeing to the decree of idolatry.  He wore himself out trying to find a way to reverse his law, and expressed a desperate and intense hope that God would save Daniel from harm, so much so that he was up all night in prayer for Daniel—what a powerful experience for a king.

Finally, no harm came to Daniel; the Lord sent His angels to close the lions’ mouths.  Yet after Daniel was lifted out of the den and his enemies where cast in, the lions devoured them before they reached the ground.

Daniel in the lions’ den is a powerful and memorable history of how God works integrity in the lives of those honest about dependence and how that holds us in the care and protection of Him. Psalm 91 is a beautiful articulation of God’s care for those who seek refuge in Him. God bless and keep us in the everlasting refuge of His Word and grace.

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