God Rescues Daniel from the Lions
Daniel – one of the Major Prophets written during the time of Judah’s captivity to the Babylonian Empire. The events of the book span approximately 70 years (605 – 530 B.C.) … from Nebuchadnezzar (Babylon) to Cyrus (Persia).
Daniel was a part of the first deportation (605 B.C.) while Jehoiakim was king of Judah. Jehoiakim, was a wicked king who rejected the Word of the Lord as spoken by Jeremiah sealing the fate of the Southern Kingdom (Judah).
There were three deportations: 605 B.C., 597 B.C., and 586 B.C.
The first six chapters are primarily (not entirely), historical, while the last six are prophetical, revealing the progression, rise and fall, of world empires (Babylonian, Medo/Persian, Grecian and Roman), and ultimately the Kingdom of God.
The events of Daniel take place in ancient Babylon, located in modern in Iraq, near the city of Baghdad.
Daniel may have been 20 years of age at the time of his deportation, and 90 years old during the reign of Cyrus, king of Persia.
Daniel (God is my Judge) to Belteshazzar (Refers to the Babylon god, Bel and means “May Bel protect his life.”)
Hananiah (The Lord is gracious) to Shadrach (Sumerian moon god).
Mishael (Who is like God) to Meshach (Who is like Aku, moon god).
Azariah (The Lord helps) to Abednego (may mean “salvation of Aku, or servant of Nebo).
Babylonian Kings (during the time of Daniel): Nebuchnezzar (605-562 BC), Amel Marduk (562-560 BC), Neriglissar (560-556 BC), Labashi-Marduk (556 BC) Nabonidus (556-539 BC) Belshazzar (556-539 BC). Belshazzar, the son of Nabonidus, ruled as co-regent of Babylon along with his father.
There appears to be no mention of Darius in history (apart from Scripture). Many scholars believe Darius and Cyrus are one in the same (their explanation is that Darius was the king’s Median name; his mother was Mede, and Cyrus was the king’s Persian name; his father was Persian.) So when the Scripture refers to Darius the Mede and Cyrus the Persian, it should read Darius the Mede even Cyrus the Persian acknowledging his heritage from both parents.
-OR- He may have been Gobryas, the General who conquered Babylon.
Chapter six peaks to the consistency faith, resulting in courage to stand for what is right. It also answers the question of the biblical position on “civil disobedience.”
Daniel’s response to the edict of the King reveals his commitment to God and his confidence in God.
Daniel choices and commitment to God was not determined by his culture or the circumstances.
Dedication to the Lord in prayer (Daniel 6:1-10).
Even in a pagan society Daniel’s faith in God was recognized. Who he was, was demonstrated by how he lived.
Christians ought to be and do, according to the Apostle Paul, “as unto the Lord.” Every facet of our lives should be motivated by the glory of the Lord.
The pagan leadership (driven by jealousy), recognized they could not make any corruption charges stick, so they sought his demise through his faithfulness to God. Daniel was guilty of faith in and faithfulness to God.
Notice: The pagan officials used pride to trap King Darius (Pride, in some form, is always at the root of sin). Remember, “pride goes before the fall … destruction.”
Daniel didn’t go to pray because of the edict … he went to pray because it is what he did … he was being consistent in his faith. He wasn’t trying to show off. Daniel didn’t pray out of rebellion but out of obedience.
What Daniel did would be considered today as civil disobedience, however, it is important to recognize Daniel was attempting to disrupt anything, he was only doing what God required.
NOTE: Christians are exhorted to obey the law of the land, until that law stands in contradiction to what God has clearly commanded.
NOTE: Some today, while they may not pray to other gods, would pray to God in secret, or would alter their praying habits to avoid judgment
Dependence on the Lord for rescue (Daniel 6:11-18)
There appears to be no attempt by Daniel to plead his case before the King. He accepts the punishment depending on God. Even if Daniel would have been given an opportunity to change, like Meshach, Shadrach, and Abednego He would not.
Daniel knew that God was bigger than his circumstances and that the Lord had a plan that would results in His own glory. Daniel was committed unto death if that would result in God’s praise and plan.
NOTE: Darius referred to Daniel’s God as “your God.” While it is clear that Darius believed in Daniel’s God (just a god among many gods) there was no personal relationship with Jehovah.
Darius belief in Daniel’s God is no different than the many who believe in God but do not have a relationship with God.
NOTE: Had Daniel’s commitment to God failed, his testimony to Darius would have also failed.
NOTE: The believer’s testimony resulting from the life lived (Past) can be undone by a present mistake.
Deliverance by the Lord for mission (Daniel 6:19-28).
Darius’ anguish demonstrates that he did something he would not have done except for political pressure. He was guilty of succumbing to “peer pressure.”
Daniel’s response to the King was one of royal courtesy (I wonder how many of us would respond in like manner if we had been thrown in a lion’s den?).
NOTE: Once again we see God’s presence in the midst of adversity.
What was intended for Daniel happens to Daniel’s accusers. “Whatsoever a man sows that shall he also reap.”
The words, “may you prosperity abound, contained in Darius’ edict to the empire, indicates that he believes that prosperity requires a right relationship with God.
The edict sets forth God as eternal, sovereign and powerful worthy of reverence and fear.
Theological Theme: God seeks to exalt Himself through the believer’s adversity brought on by their faith.
Christological Theme: Daniel’s deliverance from the lion’s den is a picture of Christ’s resurrection and the ultimate deliverance of the saints from the dead.
Missional Theme: Sometimes it is necessary to be civilly disobedient in order to obey God.