Our Only Hope... God
Pray: Ask God to give you wisdom and insight to understand the Scripture that you are reading and the faith to live what He reveals to you.
Read: Daniel 6
If you grew up in the church you are probably familiar with the story of Daniel in the Lion’s Den. Daniel continued his rise in power as the emperors, rulers, and powers changed around him. King Darius appoints Daniel as one of 3 rulers over all the satraps in the land. His skill and character set him apart even among the most prominent figures in the land, leading to his peers plotting his demise. The hapless king is duped by his advisors’ flattery and issues a law that will surely doom Daniel; no one may pray to any god but Darius himself.
Daniel remains faithful to God and continues his regular prayer routine, is found out, and sentenced to death in the lion’s den. The king, who values Daniel, realizes he has been tricked but can do nothing to alter the law and carries out the sentence. Daniel is thrown into the lion’s den and a stone is rolled over the entrance. The king is troubled all night, fretting over Daniel’s fate, but in the morning Daniel is found alive. The king then tosses Daniel’s accusers to the lions instead. The chapter ends with Darius issuing a decree that Daniel’s God is the true God. Boom!
This story should seem familiar in more ways than one. The structure of the book so far has been that Daniel or his friends have faced a seemingly impossible situation that will surely result in their death, only to be delivered in the midst of their trouble by God. This is then usually followed by some divine revelation of future events in the chapter or verses that follow. This is the last of the near-death narratives in Daniel, before the second half of the book dealing with revelations.
There are plenty of moral and practical lessons we can take away from this story – Daniel’s faithfulness, work ethic, bravery, etc. – but the primary purpose of this (and every other) story in Daniel is redemptive, not moral. Daniel is sentenced to death for his faithfulness to God and a stone is rolled over the entrance. There is no help to be had; the lions cannot be fed, weapons cannot be supplied to Daniel, and no escape is possible. Darius’s last words as the entrance is sealed are, “May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!” The only possibility of survival and the only hope for rescue comes from God alone. And God delivers Daniel!
How will Daniel interpret a dream he doesn’t even know? God. How will Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego escape the furnace? God. How will Daniel interpret a dream none of the other wise men in the kingdom can? God. How will Daniel interpret the enigmatic writing on the wall? God. Each story contains impossible situations that the narrative makes clear is only solvable by God.
God is our only hope. God is our only help. God is our chance for a future.
- What are some possible reasons you see in that the satraps and other rulers wanted to put Daniel to death?
- What is the end result of Daniel’s faithfulness (not just his deliverance from the lions)?
Memorize: Daniel 6:16