Summary: This message is a part of a series on Super Heroes of the bible. In this message we see that God was in control of the lion's den, not the lions. Daniel refused to give in to pressure and continued to serve God in a might way.
“The Lion in Daniel’s Den”
Dr. Madison Sarratt taught Math at Vanderbilt for many years. Before each test he liked to put things into perspective so he would say these words to the class. “Today i am giving two exams, one in math and the other in honesty. I hope you will pas both tests. There are many good people in the world who cannot pass math but there are no good people who cannot pass the test of honesty.
While I was in seminary I was required to read the Bible completely through during the first two semesters. On any given day we could be tested over a reading assignment from the night before. This sometimes involved reading over 25 chapters in an evening. Then we would arrive the next morning for class and we might hear those dreaded words .... take out a sheet of paper and number to 5. The professor would then ask us just 5 questions about our reading from the night before. We never knew until we got to class whether there would be a quiz or not. I figured our right away that i didn’t like pop quizzes.
It doesn’t take long to realize that the really important tests in life come long after school is out. Many of these tests are painful. And sometimes they are like a pop quiz ... they takes us by surprise. That is perhaps why Peter wrote these words... “dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering as though something strange were happening to you.” 1st Peter 4:12. Then in referring to these trials Peter also said these trails have come so that your faith will be made stronger.
This morning we will look at a prophet named Daniel who is probably facing the greatest test of his lifetime. The setting is that Daniel was now serving under a new king, King Darius. This king like the ones before him recognized that Daniel had a lot of integrity and they recognized that he was very wise. Daniel was almost 90 at this time and Darius chose Daniel to be one of 3 men who would govern the kingdom. Daniel did such a good job that Darius got rid of the other two and placed Daniel in charge of the entire government. As you can imagine this did not go over very well with the other officials. They became jealous so they decided they would go out and dig up some dirt from Daniel’s past. Problem was they couldn’t find any. So they moved to plan B. They decided to try and trap Daniel. They knew Daniel was a very religious man so they tried to use his faith against him.
So they went to the king and said we challenge you to issue a royal decree, one that cannot be altered and the decree should say that anyone in the kingdom who prays to any god other than the king ... that person would be executed. So the King issued the decree. He declared that anyone who prayed to a god other than the king ... that person would be executed. So the king issued the decree. He declared that anyone who prayed to anyone other than him would be thrown into the lion’s den. What he didn’t realize is that this decree was going to endanger the life of his good friend Daniel.
Well Daniel was truly a man of prayer so it did not take long to find him guilty of praying to his heavenly father. Now Daniel this great prophet is thrown into the Lion’s den simply because he was doing the right thing. Now comes the greatest test Daniel would ever have to face and if we are attentive, if we pay attention here then we will get to the other side of our difficulties just as Daniel did.
1st Truth. God’s tests are often designed to remind us of our limitations. From a purely human perspective there was no hope for Daniel. I see at least 3 factors here that would hold anyone back.
(1) The law of that day. It is referred to in v. 15 as the law of the Medes and the Persians. The law said that once a king issued a decree nothing about it could ever be changed, not even by the King himself.
(2) The stone placed over the den. Verse 17 describes a large stone that was placed over the den to make absolutely sure certain that no one could escape.
(3) The seals placed on the den. V. 17. The king and his men took moist clay and sealed it over the stone, then they pressed their rings into the clay. The rings had an insignia on them that showed that this was authorized by the king. If someone were to try and rescue Daniel they would have had to break the seals and the penalty for doing that was that they would be executed.