Daniel was set up for a fall and the trap was sprung, but it did not work because Daniel was faithful to God. Watch as Robert walks us through the victory of Daniel brought by God.
ROBERT >> Last week in our study together we left Daniel in the lions’ den. What happened? We’ll see when we come back in just a moment.
SINGING>> Speaking the truth, speaking the truth, speaking the truth, speaking the truth in love.
ROBERT >> The story of Daniel in the lions’ den recorded in Daniel chapter 6 is much more than a kid’s story. As we learned last week, it’s a story about government corruption and envy; it’s a story about faith and courage and prayer; it’s a story most of all about God’s deliverance and God’s power. And so I want to pick up where we left off last week after giving you a little review of what’s going on here in Daniel chapter 6. You might remember how that Daniel had distinguished himself above all the other governors of the land. And King Darius was intent upon appointing him over all the others, and in their envy they sought to attack Daniel. They set a trap for him. They somehow convinced the king to sign a decree that one could only petition the king and not the gods, including the God of Daniel. The king signed that decree. Daniel went to his upper room, he opened up the windows; as he always did, he prayed to his God three times that day. And his accusers, when they came and they saw Daniel do that, he did that of course in violation of the decree that the king had signed, knowing that he would be cast into a den of lions if he broke that decree. So when they found out about it, they brought that back to King Darius. King Darius heard what had happened. He was very displeased with himself, the Bible says. Because you see, King Darius realized that he had made a mistake. And so he wanted to correct it. He tried to find some way to get Daniel out of this. But the decrees of the Medo-Persians could not be altered, they could not be changed; and so Daniel was commissioned to the lions’ den. And you might remember that night King Darius paced the floor. He could not sleep. He was worried about what might happen to Daniel. The trap was set, the trap was sprung.
But today I want us to see the trap misfires. Here in Daniel chapter 6, let’s read verse 19. “And then the king arose very early in the morning, and went in haste to the den of lions.” He’d been up all that night, but he still had a thought, perhaps some faith that God had delivered Daniel. And it was with great urgency that he runs down to the den of lions.
In verse 20, When he came to the den, he cried out with a lamenting voice to Daniel. He was grieving about this. He was afraid that this loyal governor of his had died that night. “The king spoke, saying to Daniel, Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God whom you serve continually been able to deliver you from the lions?”
There’s that little mustard seed of faith in the heart of King Darius. Maybe, could he have?
Did your God do this? Who else would have gone down to the den of lions and cried out for Daniel, him having been there all night with those lions and thinking that perhaps me might still be alive?
Reminds me of Genesis 18:14, when God told Sarah that she would give birth to a child. Sarah was ninety years old, and her husband Abraham a hundred years old. And the Bible says she laughed. But the question was asked her, ”Is anything too hard for the Lord?”
And of course we know that God is able to do the impossible. And so as he asked about Daniel’s God, Daniel replies in verse 21. “Then Daniel said to the king, O king, live forever!”
And Daniel spoke that respectfully, not in a flattering way as his accusers had done earlier to gain the approval, the appreciation of the king, but respectfully.
And in verse 22 he says, “My God sent His angel and shut the lions’ mouths, so that they have not hurt me, because I was found innocent before Him; and also, O king, I have done no wrong before you.”
Daniel was happy to tell the king that God had delivered him that night. He shut the mouth of the lion. He used his angel, the Bible says. We don’t see them, but they’re all around us. They’re without number. The Bible tells us they’re innumerable.
In fact, the Bible tells us that the angels are there to help us. Look at Psalm 34:7, where the Psalmist reminds us about God’s angel. And of course he has many angels, but here he speaks about one in particular, Psalm 34:7. The Bible says, “The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him, and delivers them.”
Remember that next time you get in trouble, that the angels are there. Though you may not see them, they’re there. And they’re there to deliver us, the Bible says.
Look at Psalm 91:11. The Bible also speaks of the power of God’s angels and how he uses these angels again to help us. Psalm 91:11, “For He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways.”
Somebody says, Oh, that’s the Old Testament. God doesn’t do that today. Oh, yes, he does.
In Hebrews 1:14 in the New Testament the Bible tells us that “these angels are ministering spirits and that they have been sent to minister to those who will inherit salvation.”
God uses the angels to serve us, his people, those of us who are saved by the blood of Christ. The Old Testament speaks of many men and women of faith, and some of them are listed for us in Hebrews the 11th chapter. But in that great chapter which I sometimes call the Faith Hall of Fame, it mentions some prophets, and in verse 33, how that they through faith shut the mouths of lions. Certainly Daniel was one of those prophets.
That power, the power of God to do things that we cannot do, is still available to us today. I don’t expect God to do some sign or some miracle, because they have served their purposes, as we’ve noticed before here on The Truth In Love. But I do know that God is able even without a miracle to deliver us, even without a sign to do marvelous things in our life,that God is still at work, that God is still our great deliverer.
As we look on in the story here, I want you to notice what it says in verse 23. “Now the king was exceedingly glad for him, and commanded that they should take Daniel up out of the den. And so Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no injury whatever was found on him because he believed in his God.”
You see, deliverance comes through faith. And that’s how Daniel was delivered, because he believed in his God. There was no injury on him whatever.
This is the victory that overcomes the world according to 1 John 5:4. It’s faith, faith in God, faith in his word, faith in his power to deliver that will help us to overcome the temptations and the trials that surround us in this world today. We can be successful, we can be overcomers, we can be conquerors through him. This isn’t the end of the story.
I want you to see what happened. I suppose that there may be some listening today who are saying, Oh, that wasn’t a miracle. There’s no way he could shut the mouth of a lion. They just weren’t that hungry. They were just tired and they were sleeping that night.
Oh, but look at the next verse here in Daniel 6:24. “And the king gave the command, and they brought those men who had accused Daniel, and they cast them into the den of lions; them, their children, and their wives; and the lions overpowered them and broke all their bones in pieces before they ever came to the bottom of the den. Those were some hungry lions. Tore them to pieces before they ever reached the floor of the den.”
They had been waiting all night there with Daniel, hadn’t touched him; but as soon as the accusers were thrown into the den, they ate them up. And by the way, that word accusers there is interesting, because really the word literally is to eat to pieces a man. The ones that sought to eat to pieces Daniel, to destroy his reputation, to destroy his person, to destroy his life, they were the ones that were eaten to pieces by the lions. This is the way it always works out in the end.
I want you to consider Psalm 141:8-10, which is really a good commentary on what we’re reading here in the book of Daniel. Psalm 141, the Bible says, “But my eyes are upon You, O God the Lord; in You I take refuge. Do not leave my soul destitute. Keep me from the snares they have laid for me, and from the traps of the workers of iniquity. Let the wicked fall into their own nets while I escape safely.”
Yes, God is able to rescue us from the traps of Satan, from the traps of sin, from the traps of this world, and he’s also able to turn the tables on those who might accuse us and seek to destroy us. Yes, the trap was set, and yes, the trap was sprung. Daniel went into the lions’ den; but the trap misfired. God shut the mouth of those lions and used those same lions to eat to pieces those who tried to eat to pieces Daniel. The Bible tells us that after this, an amazing thing happened.
If you’ll notice in verse 24, “And the king gave the command, and they brought those men who had accused Daniel, and they cast them into the den of lions. But then after the lions had eaten those men,” look at verse 25. “And then King Darius wrote to all peoples, nations and languages that dwell in all the earth, peace be multiplied to you. I make a decree that in every dominion of my kingdom, men must tremble and fear before the God of Daniel.”
Now to me, that’s amazing, that this pagan ruler who believed in many gods had now come to a great faith in the true God, Daniel’s God. I suppose he still held onto his other gods, but I do here at least see him calling for not just some, but all the world to tremble and to fear before the God of Daniel.
And he describes Daniel’s God this way: “For He is the living God, and steadfast forever. His kingdom is the one which shall not be destroyed, and His dominion shall endure to the end. He delivers and rescues, and He works signs and wonders in heaven and on earth who has delivered Daniel from the power of the lions.”
You see, the many other gods, they were dead gods, they were lifeless less gods. They couldn’t do anything. They were made out of wood and out of stone and these kinds of things. But Daniel’s God, he was the true God. He was the living God. You see, Daniel’s God was a God who was able to establish an everlasting kingdom, a never-ending kingdom, a kingdom that he calls here one that shall not be destroyed, a kingdom that would have dominion over the whole world. That’s the power that Darius saw in Daniel’s God. And if you’re familiar with the book of Daniel, you know that King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon much earlier had a vision of that very kingdom that God would establish in the days of the Roman empire, some many years later after Darius had made this proclamation.
When the Romans ruled the world, God sent his only son, Jesus Christ, to come, to live a perfect life, and to offer it as a sacrifice for our sins. And after he was put in the tomb, he raised him up on the third day, and that one, our Lord and our savior, ascended into heaven to sit at God’s right hand. And Peter proclaimed him Lord and Christ in Acts 2:36. “And when the people there heard this message of salvation through Jesus Christ, his death, his burial, his resurrection, they were cut to the heart. They said, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Peter told them with the other apostles there that day, you repent, you turn away from your sin, and you be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” And he went on to encourage them, and that day three thousand souls were baptized into Jesus Christ. They were added to the number. And in all of this we see the beginning of God’s church, of Christ’s kingdom upon this earth. That everlasting kingdom had been established just as Daniel had prophesied and just as Darius the king had recognized a long time ago.
Jesus, when he was on the earth, in Matthew 16:18 said, “I will build My kingdom, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.”
Even the power of death could not keep Jesus from rising up and establishing his kingdom, his church upon this earth. You and I are privileged to be a part of that kingdom, if we’ll hear that same gospel they heard that day when Peter preached and we’ll respond in the same way Peter told them to respond, repenting and being baptized for the remission of our sins, and God will add us to his church today. We’ll be a part of that same kingdom. Christ is our king in the body of Christ, his church.
But then I want you to notice this in verse 28 of Daniel chapter 6. “So this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian. Interesting, isn’t it, that Daniel had distinguished himself, had risen to great power in the Babylonian kingdom and now in the Medo-Persian kingdom; and after this, though he was put into the den of lions, he ascended back to where he started, to that same glory.”
Again I’m reminded of my Lord and savior Jesus Christ who left the glories of heaven, that most distinguished place, to become one of us, to pay the price for our sins, to die for us, but then to be raised up, to ascend back to glory, the glory he once had.
And now as the Hebrew writer says, “We are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken,” Hebrews 12:28.
That’s what king Jesus has done for us. And when he comes back, according to Colossians 3:4, we’ll share with him in the glory that he will bring. Won’t that be a glorious day? But we must keep faith. We must be courageous like Daniel and trust God to deliver us out of every temptation, out of every sin, to trust in the blood of Christ to provide the forgiveness we need from those sins, to keep following him, to please him, to be honest about our sins, and to know that God will take us home someday.
There’s a great passage in the Bible in Ezekiel 14:14 that mentions Daniel, but it also mentions Noah and Job. And Daniel’s right up there with Noah and Job as that verse says, an example of righteousness. So we look to Daniel for faith and for courage; we look to Daniel to learn how to pray; we look to Daniel to learn how to trust God in our most difficult times in life.
The Bible tells us in Psalm 46:1-2 that God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in time of trouble. And then he says, We will not fear. Whatever’s going on in your life, whatever difficulty you may be dealing with today, you do not have to be afraid if you seek refuge in God, if you flee to God for your safety, for your security, because there is safety, there is the strength that we need to get through whatever it is that we have to deal with in this life. He is indeed a very present help in time of trouble. He’s right there for us. We just need to reach out to him.
Let me encourage you to do that today. If you don’t know God like Daniel knew God, if you don’t have that faith, if you’ve never been obedient to Jesus Christ, the King of kings and Lord of lords, if you have never turned from your sins to be baptized into Christ, to become a Christian, to be a part of his church, won’t you do that today?
And know then that God would be there to deliver you all the way to the very end. Jesus told his disciples before he left this earth not to be afraid. Don’t be troubled in heart, he said. Don’t let your heart trouble you, he said. Believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you, he said. I go and prepare a place for you; and if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, that where I am there you may be also.
You might remember on that occasion Thomas was wondering, Where are you going?
How are we going to get there?
And Jesus responded in verse 6, I am the way, the truth, and the life; and no one comes unto the Father but by Me.
Yes, God in his grace, in his mercy has made a way for every one of us through Jesus Christ to go home to be with him forever.
Do you have that assurance today?
Can we here at The Truth In Love help you towards heaven today?
Do you need to come to Jesus Christ to find help so that when he comes, you’ll be able to go home with him for all of eternity?
SINGING>> As the deer panteth for the water,
so my soul longeth after thee.
You alone are my heart’s desire,
and I long to worship thee. You alone are my strength, my shield. To you alone may my spirit yield. You alone are my heart’s desire, and I long to worship thee.
You’re my friend and you are my brother,
even though you are a king.
I love you more than any other,
so much more than anything.
You alone are my strength, my shield.
To you alone may my spirit yield.
You alone are my heart’s desire, and I long to worship thee.
SINGING>> Beneath the cross of Jesus I feign would take my stand,
the shadow of a mighty rock within a weary land.
A home within the wilderness,
a rest upon the way from the burning of the noontide heat and the burden of the day.
I take, oh cross, thy shadow for my abiding place.
I ask no other sunshine than the sunshine of his face.
Content to let the world go by, to know no gain nor loss;
my sinful self my only shame, my glory all the cross.
ROBERT >> I want to thank you for watching our program today, and we would really like to hear from you. If you have any questions, comments, or requests, if you’d like a home Bible study or special prayers, if you’d like to order today’s lesson or any other lesson on CD, DVD, or in manuscript form, let me encourage you to write The Truth In Love at P.O. Box 865, Hurst, Texas 76053.
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SINGING>> Sing to me of heaven, sing that song of peace.
From the toils that bind me it will bring release.
Burdens will be lifted that are pressing so,
showers of great blessing o’er my heart will flow.
Sing to me of heaven,
let me fondly dream of its golden glory,
of its pearly gleam.
Sing to me when shadows of the evening fall.
Sing to me of heaven, sing the sweetest song of all.
Sing to me of heaven tenderly and low
till the shadows o’er me rise and swiftly go.
When my heart is weary,
when the day is long, sing to me of heaven,
sing that old, sweet song.
Sing to me of heaven, let me fondly dream of its golden glory,
of its pearly gleam.
Sing to me when shadows of the evening fall.
Sing to me of heaven, sing the sweetest song of all.