Daniel 6:1-28 (NRSV)
God saves Daniel from the lions
It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom one hundred twenty satraps, stationed throughout the whole kingdom, and over them three presidents, including Daniel; to these the satraps gave account, so that the king might suffer no loss. Soon Daniel distinguished himself above all the other presidents and satraps because an excellent spirit was in him, and the king planned to appoint him over the whole kingdom. So the presidents and the satraps tried to find grounds for complaint against Daniel in connection with the kingdom. But they could find no grounds for complaint or any corruption, because he was faithful, and no negligence or corruption could be found in him. The men said, "We shall not find any ground for complaint against this Daniel unless we find it in connection with the law of his God."
So the presidents and satraps conspired and came to the king and said to him, "O King Darius, live forever! All the presidents of the kingdom, the prefects and the satraps, the counselors and the governors are agreed that the king should establish an ordinance and enforce an interdict, that whoever prays to anyone, divine or human, for thirty days, except to you, O king, shall be thrown into a den of lions. Now, O king, establish the interdict and sign the document, so that it cannot be changed, according to the law of the Medes and the Persians, which cannot be revoked." Therefore King Darius signed the document and interdict.
Although Daniel knew that the document had been signed, he continued to go to his house, which had windows in its upper room open toward Jerusalem, and to get down on his knees three times a day to pray to his God and praise him, just as he had done previously. The conspirators came and found Daniel praying and seeking mercy before his God. Then they approached the king and said concerning the interdict, "O king! Did you not sign an interdict, that anyone who prays to anyone, divine or human, within thirty days except to you, O king, shall be thrown into a den of lions?" The king answered, "The thing stands fast, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be revoked." Then they responded to the king, "Daniel, one of the exiles from Judah, pays no attention to you, O king, or to the interdict you have signed, but he is saying his prayers three times a day."
When the king heard the charge, he was very much distressed. He was determined to save Daniel, and until the sun went down he made every effort to rescue him. Then the conspirators came to the king and said to him, "Know, O king, that it is a law of the Medes and Persians that no interdict or ordinance that the king establishes can be changed."
Then the king gave the command, and Daniel was brought and thrown into the den of lions. The king said to Daniel, "May your God, whom you faithfully serve, deliver you!" A stone was brought and laid on the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet and with the signet of his lords, so that nothing might be changed concerning Daniel. Then the king went to his palace and spent the night fasting; no food was brought to him, and sleep fled from him.
Then, at break of day, the king got up and hurried to the den of lions. When he came near the den where Daniel was, he cried out anxiously to Daniel, "O Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God whom you faithfully serve been able to deliver you from the lions?" Daniel then said to the king, "O king, live forever! My God sent his angel and shut the lions' mouths so that they would not hurt me, because I was found blameless before him; and also before you, O king, I have done no wrong." Then the king was exceedingly glad and commanded that Daniel be taken up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no kind of harm was found on him, because he had trusted in his God. The king gave a command, and those who had accused Daniel were brought and thrown into the den of lions - they, their children, and their wives. Before they reached the bottom of the den the lions overpowered them and broke all their bones in pieces.
Then King Darius wrote to all peoples and nations of every language throughout the whole world: "May you have abundant prosperity! I make a decree, that in all my royal dominion people should tremble and fear before the God of Daniel:
For he is the living God,
His kingdom shall never be destroyed,
and his dominion has no end.
He delivers and rescues,
he works signs and wonders in heaven and on earth;
for he has saved Daniel
from the power of the lions."
So this Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrus the Persian.
Today’s devotion echoes the lessons from yesterday! My heart is filled with a Hallelujah Praise as I read the story of “Daniel and the Lion’s Den.”
Once again, this is a story that I was read as a child in Sunday School, but I am happy to declare that God is giving me a deeper understanding on this day.
First of all, I notice that the Bible says that Daniel had “an excellent spirit in him.” Because of the excellent spirit of God working in Daniel’s heart, Daniel’s enemies “could find no grounds for complaint or any corruption, because he was faithful.”
Yesterday we talked about the importance of being faithful, rather than fickle. Again this lesson is reiterated in the life of Daniel, who was determined to be faithful to two things—God and the call God had placed on his life to help administer the kingdom.
I love that Daniel had his priorities straight! He understood that he had to be faithful first and foremost to God Almighty. Then he had to be faithful to the call God had placed on his life to help administer the kingdom.
This is a good lesson for us as well. Daniel was faced with a choice that challenged his priorities. He could choose to be faithful to God and break the earthly law of the king, or he could be faithful to the king and break with his relationship with God!
I am happy to report that Daniel made the right choice and it is my prayer that God will enable us to do likewise! For whenever we are given the choice to bow down to God, or bow down to idols made by human hands, we must always choose to worship God.
In his ignorance, the king made himself an idol with “the swipe of his pen.” Daniel saw the treachery in such an action and continued to pray three times a day whilst faithfully carrying out his work for the earthly king.
For his faithfulness, he was thrown into the lion’s den. It was a tomb of sorts where he was expected to die! But, God always exceeds the expectations of humankind! God sent salvation and deliverance to Daniel in the form of an angel who shut the lions’ mouths.
As a result of this grand miracle, the king and the entire kingdom came to know, respect, and worship God. After seeing Daniel emerge unscathed from the lion’s den, the king declared that God was the living God, who endures forever, delivers and rescues, works many signs, and has an everlasting kingdom!
I believe by faith that this can happen within our spheres of influence as well. We too can be faithful to God no matter what the cost. We too can “govern” with such care that no one will be able to find grounds for complaint or corruption. And we too can become partners with Spirit, as we engage in the work of leading people into a saving relationship with our loving and compassionate God!
This can be true in our families as we serve as husbands, wives, children, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles or cousins. This can be true in our communities as we offer voluntary service in schools, hospitals, homeless shelters, or blood banks. This can be true in our churches where we may serve in the culinary, church council, youth, or family ministries.
Listen, in my tradition we say, “ONLY what you do for Christ will last!” Let us be found faithful to God and to the work God assigns to our hands! As we humbly and faithfully do our work, God will use our witness to soften the hearts of our non-Christian friends and family members.
Now, let me say this. You may think that your work is not important to God; I beg to differ my friends. If you are living and breathing you can offer your life as living testimony to the goodness of God!
Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King said, “If a man is called to be a street sweeper. He should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, "Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well."
I can’t wait for that GOOD NEWS day when I stand before the throne of God and hear God declare, “Well done good and faithful servant!”
Now, ain’ta that GOOD NEWS?!
How can you be more faithful to God or to your work?
Holy One, I love you. I want others to know that you have First Place in my life. Please help me to be faithful to a life of worship and prayer. I know that as I attend to our relationship you will give me everything that I need to be faithful to the work that you have assigned to my hands. I want my life to declare your glory and I want to be a witness to my non-Christian friends. I really want them to know and love you as I do. Please help me to lead them to Christ by Your Spirit. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
If you have additional questions about how to become a friend and follower of Jesus, please see the devotion entitled, "Come to Jesus" found at
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