Daniel and the Lion's Den
by Zack Howard
The familiar stories of Daniel offer us unique lessons in God’s mercy and justice. In particular, the story Daniel and the lions’ den gives us three separate lessons we can learn: The world will often turn their back on us and find ways to target our faith; We need to focus on God no matter the distraction or opposition we find in our lives; and God will always reward our faith in Him.
At the beginning of Daniel 6, King Darius set up 120 satraps (a governor of sorts) over his Persian Kingdom, to help run the country. Among them, he chose Daniel. Now Daniel was already well known in the Persian kingdom, because of his example he set among the young men (1.8-17). With his example of health and standing firm in God’s expectations of him, he created a separation of him from those of the world. In chapter 6, not only was Daniel chosen as a satrap, later he was put above all the other satraps. The other satraps reacted with jealousy and anger. They became irritated with Daniel’s success, and wanted to find a way to trip him up. Thus they chose to target his faith and his belief. In the decree they bring to Darius, they trick the king into signing—in order to target Daniel specifically. They choose something they know Daniel will not forego, his prayer and his faith, to entrap him and enslave him.
The modern world is very much the same! If they see us standing out because of our faith, then many times they will target our faith and try to chip it away and cause us to stumble. Sometimes if someone sees us worshipping God in public, they will use that chance to challenge our faith or mock us for our beliefs. When that happens, we need to respond like Daniel does.
King Darius issued a decree against praying to any man or god besides Darius for thirty days. The other Satraps, knowing that Daniel would not obey this decree, tricked Darius into issuing this decree. The punishment for this disobedience: they shall be thrown into the Lions Den. Daniel, even though he heard this decree and foreboding punishment, continued to pray three times a day. The other Satraps then went to Darius and told him who disobeyed his order: Daniel. Darius was greatly displeased with being tricked into a decree that harmed his satrap. However, when throwing Daniel into the Den, Darius acknowledged God would save Daniel from this wrong.
Daniel did not shy away from his faith. Neither should we. Because of this opposition, we need to be more like Daniel, in the sense that we do not shy away from the opposition of our faith. When faced with trials and persecutions of our beliefs, we need to turn to our foundation in Jesus Christ and strengthen our weaknesses. Daniel, with the knowledge of the law that was passed, still took time out of his day to pray to God, and trust in Him even with the fear of persecution. Do we hold the same type of faith and trust? We don’t have the fear of laws being passed against us in this country—yet—but we do have the fear of opposition to our beliefs. If we don’t conform to the world’s ideas of right and wrong, then we are viewed as intolerable and pious.
Yet we are called to be lights in the world, and we are told that we will be different than the world—thus, we need to have that faith in God and strength in our beliefs, even when the world is putting us down for it. It is not easy to do, and we are told that. But if we long to achieve the goal of heaven and be examples of Christ, then we need to be like Daniel in this aspect. We must be willing to show God shining through us always, in public or in private. We are called to be lights.
If we stay true to our faith, God will reward us for that. After Daniel was thrown into the lion’s den, God shut the mouths of the lions. He saved Daniel from death, because Daniel was his faithful servant. We are told multiple times in both sections of the bible about the promises God has made us, and about his rewards he has for us in heaven. Why shouldn’t we then trust in Him? We see his promises fulfilled time after time, so we can trust that He will keep his word. But His promises will only come true to those who stay on His path, and devote their lives to serving Him. If we can stay on His path, and trust in His will, we will see Him in heaven one day. What a wonderful reward.
As the story of Daniel continues, we see more evidence of God’s promises and Daniel’s trust in them. We need to learn from Daniel’s example and be like him. We need to trust in God, even though the world will turn their back on us and oppose us for our beliefs. We have to strengthen our foundation in Christ, in order to stand firm in our beliefs when we are persecuted. We need to understand and trust in God, and if we do this, then He will reward us for that faith. In Daniel, we can see all of these examples and many more.