Thursday, January 19, 2012
Hungry Lions Put on Hold
God had said through the prophet Jeremiah that the Hebrew exiles would be in Babylon for seventy years. Time and again, and through the reign of several monarchs Daniel had proved himself to be a man in whom was found "an excellent spirit" (Daniel 6:3).
King Darius the Persian recognized this and was prepared to make Daniel number two in charge. Other governors and satraps in the land, jealous as they were, conspired to alienate the King's favourite.
But where and how to entrap Daniel? His record was successful and blameless. They realized that somehow public policy and opinion would have to be turned against Daniel's religion and God. Do we not see this today? Are faithful people in office not usually brought to the difficult decisions where it would be most expedient to "hang their faith out to dry"?
Hence the plot was devised, and the King was duped into a program of thirty days' no prayer except to the image of the King. Daniel's thrice-daily practice of prayer to the God of Israel at an open window would not, did not change.
The conspirators had him! Reported to the King. Put Darius in the squeeze of remaining consistent to his law (Persian kings could not alter their own laws). Watched the prisoner thrust into the den of hungry lions.
How Darius wished that he could have undone his prior act! He had consulted with legal authorities to no avail. He spent the troubled night in fasting. Truly he wanted to believe that such a good man could not be put down. But perhaps he had no idea of the import of God's timetable for the children of Israel.
The lions would remain passive. God's angel would be present. The prisoner next morning would be released unharmed. His enemies would be thrust into the den to satisfy the animals' voracious hunger ("and the lions had the mastery of them and brake all their bones in pieces or ever they came at the bottom of the den").
Daniel's victory was two-fold. His God's agenda was right on course. The foreign king was pretty much a believer, and saying the following:
26 I make a decree, That in every dominion of my kingdom men tremble and fear before the God of Daniel: for he is the living God, and stedfast for ever, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed, and his dominion shall be even unto the end.
27 He delivereth and rescueth, and he worketh signs and wonders in heaven and in earth, who hath delivered Daniel from the power of the lions.
28 So this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius, and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian.