Daniel in the Lions’ Den

6  It pleased Darius to appoint 120 satraps to rule throughout the kingdom, with three administrators over them, one of whom was Daniel. The satraps were made accountable to them so that the king might not suffer loss. Now Daniel so distinguished himself among the administrators and the satraps by his exceptional qualities that the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom. At this, the administrators and the satraps tried to find grounds for charges against Daniel in his conduct of government affairs, but they were unable to do so. They could find no corruption in him, because he was trustworthy and neither corrupt nor negligent. Finally these men said, “We will never find any basis for charges against this man Daniel unless it has something to do with the law of his God.”

So these administrators and satraps went as a group to the king and said: “May King Darius live forever! The royal administrators, prefects, satraps, advisers and governors have all agreed that the king should issue an edict and enforce the decree that anyone who prays to any god or human being during the next thirty days, except to you, Your Majesty, shall be thrown into the lions’ den. Now, Your Majesty, issue the decree and put it in writing so that it cannot be altered—in accordance with the law of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be repealed.” So King Darius put the decree in writing.

Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before. 11 Then these men went as a group and found Daniel praying and asking God for help. 12 So they went to the king and spoke to him about his royal decree: “Did you not publish a decree that during the next thirty days anyone who prays to any god or human being except to you, Your Majesty, would be thrown into the lions’ den?”

The king answered, “The decree stands—in accordance with the law of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be repealed.”

13 Then they said to the king, “Daniel, who is one of the exiles from Judah, pays no attention to you, Your Majesty, or to the decree you put in writing. He still prays three times a day.” 14 When the king heard this, he was greatly distressed; he was determined to rescue Daniel and made every effort until sundown to save him.

Then the men went as a group to King Darius and said to him, “Remember, Your Majesty, that according to the law of the Medes and Persians no decree or edict that the king issues can be changed.”

So the king gave the order, and they brought Daniel and threw him into the lions’ den. The king said to Daniel, “May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!” 17 A stone was brought and placed over the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the rings of his nobles, so that Daniel’s situation might not be changed. 18 Then the king returned to his palace and spent the night without eating and without any entertainment being brought to him. And he could not sleep. 19 At the first light of dawn, the king got up and hurried to the lions’ den. 20 When he came near the den, he called to Daniel in an anguished voice, “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to rescue you from the lions?”

Daniel answered, “May the king live forever! 22 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 overjoyed and gave orders to lift Daniel out of the den. And when Daniel was lifted from the den, no wound was found on him, because he had trusted in his God.

24 At the king’s command, the men who had falsely accused Daniel were brought in and thrown into the lions’ den, along with their wives and children. And before they reached the floor of the den, the lions overpowered them and crushed all their bones.

Then King Darius wrote to all the nations and peoples of every language in all the earth:

“May you prosper greatly!

“I issue a decree that in every part of my kingdom people must fear and reverence the God of Daniel.

“For he is the living God    
and he endures forever;
his kingdom will not be destroyed,    
his dominion will never end.
27 He rescues and he saves;    
he performs signs and wonders    
in the heavens and on the earth.
He has rescued Daniel    
from the power of the lions.”

So Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrus the Persian.

Daniel 6           ‘Daniel in the lions’ Den’  

          The word ‘diaspora’ is used to refer to the involuntary mass dispersion of a population from its indigenous territories, in particular the dispersion of Jews.

          Even though Jewish community has been a diaspora since Assyrian’s captivity, the Babylonian captivity must have taken the most Jews and had lasted the longest in its length. 

          When a conqueror had taken their captive to their land, their goal must be erasing the colonial’s identity, their pride, their common value, and their religion to disconnect their bond as a community.

          The Book of Daniel shows how Daniel sustained his faith in Yahweh God among the gentiles who had worshipped idols. His social status had been a captive in the beginning, but God had raised him to the top next to the king.  As the times passed by, his position had been changed due to the enthronement of the new kings. 

          However, God restored his position through the incident of  hand writing on the wall during the reign of the king Belshazzar.  After Medes-Persia conquered Babylon, the king of Medes, Darius enthroned the kingship. 

          Then, he reorganized the infrastructure of the Empire, which had benefitted his successors such as the king who had been the queen Esther’s husband. 

          Then, he appointed 120 officials and three administrators.   One of the administrators was Daniel.  Even among those positions, Daniel excelled in all so that the king Darius was about to have Daniel as the highest official who would govern everything in the Empire. 

          As you know, Daniel wasn’t one of the inner circlers, who were native of Medes-Persia.  He had been out of the circle for a while until he was appointed by Belshazzar and recognized by the king Darius. 

          The more unbeatable legacy Daniel had projected in the empire, the sharper arrows of jealousy had been shoot to him.  Administrators and the officials tried to devise a conspiracy to trap Daniel and to prevent his becoming top administrator. 

          However, it was hard to find any flaw in his conduct because he was a blameless man in all manners.  They found a way to trap him.  Daniel wouldn’t comprise a bit in terms of his relationship with God.

          Therefore, they proposed the king to make a decree not to pray or worship any God or a person other than the newly enthroned king for 30 days. It was confirmed by the king since it would strengthen his throne in the newly conquered empire. The decree became effective as the law of the Medes-Persian Empire.

          However, Daniel did what he used to do, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before. 

          There were people who had been watching Daniel day and night to find any fault.  They eye-witnessed his unchanging heart for the God of Israel.

          They brought the report to the king and urged the king to put him to death.  Even though, the king cared about Daniel, there was nothing left for the king to do anything for him since it became a law.  Daniel was thrown at the lions’ den. 

            One of God’s name is ‘Jehovah Jere,’ which means ‘God  provides, God prepares.’ That was the name that Abraham had given to God when God prepared a little lamb for the sacrifice instead of his son, Isaac.

          God who prepares ahead of us send His angels and shut the lions’ mouths in the den. Hungry lions couldn’t do anything since God was there with Daniel.

          Another name of God means ‘God Almighty’ is ‘El Shaddai.’
Why don’t you call God’s name out loud? 

          My Jehovah Jare!  My El Shaddai! 
          Save us and protect us from any harm of this world!
          People easily replace God’s place with something else if they believe the substitute of God might give instant power, wealth, and recognition.  To those God is like stocks that have low risk long term investment while the substitute is like those that produce high profit with high risk so that when an opportunity comes, they don’t hesitate to all-in not to loose the chance of big gaining.

          People’s response to an opportunity shows the glimpse of who they are.  It doesn’t mean to be dull in your awareness of timing.  People say to convert the crisis into an opportunity. In fact, crisis is the other side of the same coin.  However, people who only see the one side of the coin will remain on the narrow side of life journey.  Psalm 118: 5 say, “From the narrow place, I called out to God;
He answered me from the wideness of God.

          God’s will for God’s faithful children is letting them stand on the vastness of the world to know and comprehend God’s world without anxiousness or fear, but with deep thought and integrity.

        Steven Spielberg’s 1998 film  tells the story of Captain John H. Miller (played by Tom Hanks), who leads a platoon of GIs during the near the end of . Their initial mission, along with nearly 175,000 other Allied service men, is to liberate France and defeat the  After getting themselves off Omaha Beach, Miller is able to push his platoon up over the ridge and into the French countryside. Just a few days into the invasion, Captain Miller receives revised orders from high command. His new mission: locate and rescue Private First Class James F. Ryan (played by Matt Damon), whose three brothers had been killed in the war within a few months of each other. Private Ryan was what was known as a “sole-surviving son” and the War Department wanted him back with his mother. The problem was, the U.S. Army didn’t know exactly where he was. In the film, Captain Miller and his platoon search for the wayward soldier in house-to-house fighting. Eventually, they find Private Ryan and send him back home—but at great cost to Captain Miller and his men.
        There are three kinds of opportunities.  The first one benefits ourself while second one benefits other people.  A majority of secular people tries not to loose the opportunity that benefits them.
          For this reason, Daniel had been the object of conspiracy by many gentiles.  Even though the opportunity that people should risk their lives must be the ones that benefit others.  It should be bring people to the Lord, giving people hope for life as we have seen in the movie, ‘Saving Private Ryan.’

          The third opportunity glorifies God’s name and that’s the one that Daniel had chosen. 
          Daniel did not give up the opportunity of proclaiming the praiseworthy God of Israel through his ceaseless prayer, but he did give up the opportunity to sustain his social and political position.

          If Daniel had chosen the opportunity to sustain his wellbeing by not praying God, he would be abandoning the opportunity to proclaim the praiseworthy God of Israel in the Empire.

          Daniel chose God’s opportunity rather than his opportunity.  Then, God sent his angels and shut the mouths of the lions.  Finally, the king realized his fault when he eye-witnessed Daniel staying alive harmless from the hungry lions’ den.

          Good ending was that those patient lions’ stomachs were filled with conspiracy makers. 

We need to see the opportunity with various perspectives.
“Would it be lifting God’s name high?”
 “Would it be beneficial for other’s life?”
  “Would be beneficial for myself?”

          Daniel’s ‘let go’ of his opportunity (to succeed) had been God’s opportunity to act.  God’s people’s ‘let go’ of their opportunity could be the opportunity for God to expand His Kingdom on earth.
          Daniel’s surrendering his opportunity for God opened the door to minister as the highest administrator in the Empire over 2 generations of kings. 

          In general, self-benefit opportunity seekers could be met at the gate door to make an eye contact with people, but God’s opportunity seekers are hidden at the upper-room to hear the voice of God.

          Reflect on the opportunities and crisis in your life.  There will be someone who could be benefitted from the opportunity/crisis.  To discern the answer, we need to head to the upper room to hear His voice.  Have a blessed quarantine.