Summary: A study of a Christian’s Character through the story of Daniel in the Lion’s Den
The story of Daniel in the Lion’s Den is one of the most familiar in the Bible. Many of us can recall sitting around that little table in the Children’s Department of the Sunday School…somewhere…listening as our Teacher told about a brave young man who would not disobey God, even if it meant death by lions, and then how God sent His Angel to change the natural desires of the lions, and Daniel was spared death, only to become a mighty man in the kingdom of Darius the Mede.
But in that story lie some extraordinarily meaningful lessons for Christians. These are sometimes missed because Preachers and Teachers of the Word of God have the tendency to leave this Biblical story in the Children’s curriculum for Sunday School or Bible School. But in this Old Testament account are some lessons in character-building that need to be put into place in our lives. In this chapter in Daniel are three significant places that speak of Daniel’s character as a true man of God. And like Daniel, we should have:
1. A WINDOW OF CONSISTENCY. (Daniel 6:10)
“Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home. And in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days!”
It becomes obvious to a reader of Scripture that Daniel had made a relentless commitment to God. The key to this character trait in the life of Daniel is found in the closing words of the text verse.
“…as was his custom since early days.”
There are various possibilities for interpreting this part of Daniel’s life experience.
A. One might suggest that “when Daniel knew that the writing was signed,” he used this as an occasion for witnessing. In effect, he shouted: “Hey, all you heathen, I want you to know I am not afraid to pray to my God, and I’ll show you what it means to be a Christian!”
B. Or, we might suggest that Daniel, in Churchillian fashion stuck out his jaw and challenged the people and the leaders of the kingdom of Darius and said, “I advocate civil disobedience, and I’m going to show you a thing or two. I’ll do as I please, and worship my God the way I want to.”
C. Or it could be interpreted in what should be considered the most accurate way. “When Daniel knew that the writing was signed,” he did not alter, did not change the procedure of his devotional life. He simply continued consistently in his devotion, his dedication to God. No demonstration, no great show…just consistency.
Crises did not throw Daniel into a panic mode. He just continued his life with God as he had done since that grand day when he made his commitment to God.
I recall a number of years ago when Central Oregon was experiencing a serious shortage of hay for cattle feeding. A hay buyer who was well known by the farmers of that area was coming through, attempting to buy hay from some of the farmers who knew how to grow the best alfalfa hay. He was attracted to Jim Paulson, one of the finest young farmers in the area. But as he pondered the proposed stop at the Paulson farm, he said to himself, “No sense stopping there today. It is Sunday. Jim and his family are in Church, and wouldn’t sell hay to me today anyway!”
A Window of Consistency! No wonder the Holy Spirit had the writer of Sacred Scripture to insert verse 5 into the record:
“Then these men (Daniel’s accusers) said, ‘We shall not find any charge against this Daniel unless we find it against him concerning the law of his God.”
Powerful testimony! And we all have the window, but the serious question is: Is our window a window of consistency? Make it personal. Is my life clearly seen by others in its devotion and dedication to God as being consistently Christian? This does not call for civil dis-obedience, or a flamboyant display in order to show the world what fine Christians we are! To the contrary. It is simply the day by day consistency, so that our responses and reactions to life’s situations are predictable. Can we be accused of being loyal to God in the face of whatever comes along? That is the challenge of the window.
2. A DEN OF CONFIDENCE. (Daniel 6:16a)
“So the king gave the command, and they brought Daniel and cast him into the den of lions.”
The royal order comes. Daniel’s accusers have persuaded the king. Daniel is thrown into the den of hungry, vicious lions. Circumstances prevailing in the law of the Medo-Persian Empire prevented the king from doing otherwise. And after the seal had been place over the opening into the den, the Biblical account gives to us that magnificent view into the deliverance God brought to His servant, Daniel.