November 30, 2018
Biblical Literature I
Blessed is he who trusts
Daniel is not the easiest book to read, and over the times, it has been a controversial book where scholars hunt and search for unanswered questions. It speaks to us and to the condition of the real world with a word from God of history who rules over the nations of the earth. The book of Daniel was written in the sixth century during the Babylonian exile by one, Daniel, himself one of the Jews Exile. This book declares how Lord God was in control not only of history but also of the end of history, where Israel demonstrates a deep trust and devotion which must surely reflect a confidence in God on the part of many Israelites at the time. Yes, we see the suffering of Daniel, but we are also able to notice a vindication at the hand of God. This proof lays down death and grasps a glorious hope, only found in God’s eternal kingdom. (Russell 3)
Daniel in the Lion’s den, among many bible stories, teaches us about the promises of God and his faithfulness in them. As college students, or not, our faith is a big part of our lives as it keeps growing if we get to know God better. Daniel, even when it seemed like everything was lost, kept his faith in God and continue to pray to Him three times a day. Therefore, his testimony falls into his obedience to God and how God uses him to save a nation.
Daniel was only a kid in 605 B.C when the Babylonian army fought Israel and he and 3 friends Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were carried as slaves because they were very smart, and Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, wanted them to work for him.
The first time the kids got to Babylonian they mentioned that they would only believe in their one and only God and that they would obey what their God told them, including the food they could eat or any of His laws so that they could please Him.
Even though Daniel and his friends were in Babylonian, nothing really made them change. Daniel’s knowledge and wisdom were still the same and it was distinguished among others. Although there was a new king and now the Babylonian’s King was called Darius, he decided to put Daniel in charge of the whole country and he also named several men to help him govern and lead the nation, but Daniel was the leader.
As Daniel was a very wise men of God, and had a lot of power, he had many enemies who were jealous of everything that he had become even though he wasn’t from Babylonia. King Darius really liked Daniel and although he wasn’t always acceptable with Daniel believing in a different God, he still allowed him to worship God as he wanted.
Knowing that, Daniel was so committed to his God and never stopped worshiping him for whatever the reason may be. Daniel would pray in his room three times a day on his knees facing his window with the hope that one day he would return to Israel.
Knowing that Daniel served the God of Israel, and because they could not find any reason to get rid of him- as he never disobeyed or broke any rule- the only way for the king to fire him and to get him to disobey the king was making a law against his God.
The wicked men went to King Darius very nicely and told him that they thought he was a great king, that by his majesty no one should pray to anyone other than Him. They proposed the King a new law that said that people were only allowed to pray or ask for things only to King Darius and not to any other king for 30 days. They lied that all of his people had agreed in this new law, but of course they never talked to Daniel because they knew He would be opposed to it. Kind Darius believed this was a good idea because he wanted the people in the kingdom to worship and obey him, so he agreed to the new law and signed the papers.
The punishment for whoever broke the new law was being thrown into a lion’s den, which was a cave in the ground where hungry lions were trapped so that they would eat and kill the lawbreaker.
When Daniel heard about the new law, he promised his heart to stand firm in his prayers to the Lord, and he continued praying three times a day. He went to his room and opened the windows to continue to pray. The men, after seeing Daniel praying at the window, went immediately and directly to the King to inform him that Daniel was disobeying his law and that they had seen him pray to his God three times a day that same day.
After the King heard that, he felt devastated and sad because of the liking he felt towards Daniel and because the King didn’t want Daniel to die because of his new law. The king tried everything to get the law changed to prevent Daniel being thrown into the lion’s den but the men came to him and reminded him that the law couldn’t be changed and Daniel would have to be punished. The king then knew there was nothing he could do to save him. With that being sad, at the end of the day the king gave the order to bring and throw Daniel into the lion’s den.
When the guards escorted Daniel to his death, they were surprised by how calm Daniel was, and unlike other condemned, Daniel did not try to escape. Some of the guards even noticed that He seemed to smile as he prayed softly. As he got closer to the den, he could hear the roars of the hungry beasts, but he did not resist, because the presence of God was already upon Him and that’s when the king told Daniel that he hoped that his God would rescue him.
Daniel being in the lion’s den wasn’t lonely. In fact, where there once was roars of lions, now there was only silence, because each lion’s mouth had been closed by a presence of a celestial being. Here, we see a parallel between Daniel 3 and 6. In chapter 3, we watch the Jews being thrown in a pit of fire, and in chapter 6 in a den of lions. In both of these cases, the victims were saved through angelic intervention. (Schwab 81) Because the Persians were fire-worshipers, they had then to resort to other means of execution, as is confirmed by this passage, where Daniel is thrown into a pit of lions. (Feinberg 75)
That night, king Darius could not sleep thinking about Daniel and what he might be going through. On the next morning, as soon as the sun came up, the king quickly went where he left Daniel. As he shouted Daniel’s name, and first obtained a silence, he then heard:
“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 very happy, so he helped Daniel get out of the den and he realized that even though he spent all night there, he didn’t have any scratch from the lions. The king knew that the wicked men set that law and lied to Daniel, so he punished them, and the bible says that they had not even touched the ground of the den and the lions were already eating them.
What Daniel experiences is the common experience of all Israel, where they have been devoured by the Babylon. However, with the restoration of Daniel, they find a glimmer of hope that perhaps all Israel will also experience restoration.
In this passage we can clearly see how blessed it is for a good man to be innocent from any accusation. The only accusation from any enemy we might have is getting accused on the very ground of his loyalty to the living God. (Feinberg 79)
Nowadays, a lot of people all over the world die because they are Christians but Daniel in the story didn’t care if he didn’t follow the law given by the king, instead he kept praying because he knew God was going to help him to survive, for His will was being done.
Sometimes there might be ups and downs in our faith, but if we trust God, He will have a path for us to follow. He teaches us through this story that we have to trust Him, pray in His name, and trust Him even when we can’t trace Him.
Feinberg, C. L. (1981) A Commentary on Daniel: The Kingdom of the Lord. Winona Lake, IN.
Russell, D. S. (1981). Daniel. Saint Andrew.
Schwab, G. M. (2006). Hope in the midst of a hostile world: The Gospel according to Daniel.
Phillipsburg, NJ: P & R Pub.