Today we finish the famous “Daniel in the Lion’s Den” story. Daniel, probably is now an older man who was captured in his youth and taken to Babylon…… He was there trained and has served at least two previous regimes, distinguishing himself by his ability to interpret dreams and revelations, known for his wisdom. As he is about to be promoted to number one in the realm, his fellow workers become jealous and devise a plan for his downfall. They convince the king to pass a law declaring that people praying to beings other than the king be thrown into the lions’ den. Daniel prays to Jehovah and is thrown in with the lions. We do not have lion dens nor would we consider praying to a king today but we are in the midst of a massive cultural debate about what is treason and what are just laws. Jail is our lion’s den. Obeying the law is our challenge too.
- Have you ever willfully broken the law? All right, chosen to speed, driven under the influence, fudged on income tax returns? What was your reasoning? _____________________________________
- I think of leaders like Gandhi or MLK who faced imprisonment for standing up for their beliefs. Is there something you would be willing to go to jail for? _____________________________________
- The king realizes he has been manipulated into a position he does not want to defend but must because of the law. It makes me think of parent having to enforce rules with unexpected consequences or a supervisor having to enforce corporate rules? Perhaps something like dealing with an alcoholic child? Can you identify? _______________________________
- Our story picks up with the next morning and the king going to the lions’ den. Did Daniel survive the lions? Is his god real?
19 Then, at break of day, the king got up and hurried to the den of lions. 20 When he came near the den where Daniel was, he cried out anxiously to Daniel, “O Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God whom you faithfully serve been able to deliver you from the lions?” 21 Daniel then said to the king, “O king, live forever! 22 My God sent his angel and shut the lions’ mouths so that they would not hurt me, because I was found blameless before him; and also before you, O king, I have done no wrong.” 23 Then the king was exceedingly glad and commanded that Daniel be taken up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no kind of harm was found on him, because he had trusted in his God. 24 The king gave a command, and those who had accused Daniel were brought and thrown into the den of lions—they, their children, and their wives. Before they reached the bottom of the den the lions overpowered them and broke all their bones in pieces.
- Interestingly, Daniel feels vindicated in the eyes of the Babylonian legal system but also in the eyes of God. Is it possible to “obey the letter of the law” and still be guilty? ________________________
- Daniel also gives credit for divine intervention as an “angel” closed the mouth of the lions. How has God intervened to justify you or rescue you? _________________________________________
- I am always amazed that the families, the wives and children, are punished as well as the sneaky politicians. That seems somehow unfair but the truth is that we are affected by the mistakes of those we are connected to. What do you think? _________________
25 Then King Darius wrote to all peoples and nations of every language throughout the whole world: “May you have abundant prosperity! 26 I make a decree, that in all my royal dominion people should tremble and fear before the God of Daniel:
For he is the living God, enduring forever.
His kingdom shall never be destroyed, and his dominion has no end.
27 He delivers and rescues, he works signs and wonders in heaven and on earth; for he has saved Daniel from the power of the lions.”
28 So this Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrus the Persian.
- The king closes with a praise for Daniel’s god. Rather than ponder a generic statement of the wonderfulness of God, think of a specific difficult time you went through. What about that incident reflected God’s involvement on your behalf. Be specific. Now take a few minutes and write your reflection on God – a poem, draw picture, something specific.______