Thrown Into the Lions' Den
JULY 15 - Nº 196 Daniel 6
When the Medes and Persians captured Babylon, Darius the Mede became the most powerful king in the world. He appointed governors (or satraps) to manage the 120 new provinces he had just acquired. These satraps reported directly to three administrators. Daniel was one of them. He was so exceptional in this role that the king decided to promote him and make him the chief administrator for the whole nation. The other administrators and satraps were jealous: Why should an exile from Judah become one of the most powerful and influential leaders in the world? So they began to look for ways to get rid of him. But Daniel’s record was spotless. The only dirt they could dig up on him was the fact that he worshiped the God of Israel rather than the gods of Persia. They had to find a way to use this against him. They knew that he prayed three times a day and that he always prayed facing Jerusalem. They proposed a new law that would make it illegal for anyone in the empire to pray to any god or man other than King Darius himself for the next 30 days. The penalty for breaking this law would be death in the lions’ den. This idea appealed to the prideful ruler. So King Darius signed it into law. And, according to Persian law, once he signed it, not even the king himself could repeal it. But Daniel did not change his prayer life. Three times a day he went upstairs in his house, opened the shutters of his window that faced Jerusalem, and kneeled down to pray and praise God. Of course his rivals reported this to King Darius. The king was beside himself with grief. The law he just signed had trapped his most trusted advisor. He tried to find a way to rescue his faithful friend, but there was no way for him to undo his own ruling! By the end of the day, Daniel had to be executed. As the sun set, Daniel was brought to the mouth of the lions’ den. “May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!” the king yelled as Daniel was thrown in. A rock was placed over the den, and it was officially sealed. That night the king could not eat or sleep. At dawn he rushed to the den and called out to Daniel, “Servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to rescue you from the lions?” Daniel replied, “May the king live forever! 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!” The king was overjoyed. He gave orders for Daniel to be lifted out. He was completely unharmed! The king commanded his officers to throw the men who had accused Daniel into the den. The hungry lions killed them immediately. Then Darius issued a new decree. This one stated that in every part of his kingdom, people were required to honor the God of Daniel. The king acknowledged that the Israelites’ God was a living and powerful God—unlike the iron and stone idols that everyone else worshiped. Daniel continued to be successful and prosperous for the rest of Darius’ reign.
If prayer became a crime, would you be convicted as a criminal? If people observed your prayer life, would they conclude that you believe in a living and powerful God? Daniel did what was right regardless of the consequences, and God used his example to change a king and a powerful nation!