The Hebrew prophet, Daniel, was in a very senior position in the government headed by Darius the Mede. It was the intention of the king to promote his spiritually gifted adviser even higher, setting “him over the whole kingdom.” Daniel’s enemies, however, sought to destroy him through a devious plot to trap the faithful worshiper of Yahweh. They claimed that their plan restricting prayer “to any god or man for thirty days” except to Darius himself had enjoyed universal approval among all the leaders in the empire. Knowing that Daniel would continue his practice of praying toward Jerusalem three times every day, these adversaries would then produce evidence of his violation of the edict, and Darius would be forced to throw Daniel “into the den of lions.”
Their evil strategy seemed to have trapped both Daniel and Darius into the outcome they longed for. Daniel violated the law approved by Darius, and Darius understood that such a decree could not be revoked “according to the law of the Medes and the Persians.” The supreme leader of the Medes sought some way to save Daniel’s life, but he could find none. Daniel was turned over to wild animals who would surely kill him. A stone was placed over the mouth of the den, “and the king sealed it with his own signet and with the signet of his lords.”
Darius spent the night fasting and rose early in the morning to see what had become of Daniel. He cried out, “O Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to deliver you from the lions?” Shockingly, Daniel was alive and well, and he gave God glory for his continued safety. “My God sent His angel and shut the lions’ mouths, and they have not harmed me, because I was found blameless before Him; and also before you, O king, I have done no harm.” Daniel had lived through this trial without any ill effects, but those who had sought to destroy him were themselves cast to the hungry beasts. “Before they reached the bottom of the den, the lions overpowered them and broke all their bones in pieces.”
As with the Babylonian heads of state who came before him, Darius was brought to a much higher estimation of the power of the God of the Jews. According to a pronouncement he then issued throughout the empire, this great “God of Daniel” was “the living God, enduring forever; His kingdom shall never be destroyed, and His dominion shall be to the end. He delivers and rescues; He works signs and wonders in heaven and on earth.”
The faithful throughout the centuries had been given yet another great encouragement through the providence of the Almighty in the life of one of His servants. The Lord truly is the sovereign Ruler over all.
A still greater deed of victory over evil would eventually come through the only Savior of the world. Jesus’ lifeless body was placed in a tomb with a large stone and an official seal. His adversaries were successful in their vicious plans, yet Christ rose from the dead, defeating mortality, and the world has never been the same.
Prayer from A Book of Prayers
Father God, in every opportunity for obedience we should expect that opposition may arise. Keep us turning to You in prayer. May we be moved by what You want more than anything else in our lives. You are able to deliver us from every adversary. You know our enemies, seen and unseen. Save us out of dangerous snares of trial and temptation at just the right time. There is no other God like You. Your kingdom shall never be destroyed. Your dominion is from everlasting to everlasting. Grant us success and joy in Your service now and forever.