Daniel in the Lions' Den

You can just about imagine Daniel standing over the pit of the lions, staring down into the darkness below. Often the darkness is scary because we don’t know what it is hiding. Not so here. The darkness was so scary for Daniel because he knew exactly what it was hiding. Those lions weren’t going to look at Daniel and ask him to play Connect Four. They weren’t there to do people’s taxes. Those lions were kept in the cave for one reason: to eat people. And they were very good at their job.

Now Daniel didn’t have to go into the lion’s den, of course. He could have simply said, “I was just kidding about only worshipping the one true God. I’ll obey your order, O king, and pray to you only.” He could have said that—and there would have been no punishment, no lion’s den, no terrifying gaze into the darkness below.

But Daniel knew that wasn’t right. You see, it’s very possible that Daniel was a man of many decades when this story took place. He had been carried off from Jerusalem as a young man to captivity. And now seven decades later, he was one of the most powerful men in one of the most powerful nations on earth. Who had brought him to that point? It wasn’t King Darius. It was the King of Kings! Daniel said, “The Lord has blessed and protected me all these years. Everything I own, he gave me. From every pain of body and soul he has delivered me. He is the One who deserves my prayers. He is the One who deserves my worship.”

We could make this story very easily into a story about Daniel and how brave he was, how committed he was, how devoted he was to worshiping God even though it got him into trouble. But to make this story about Daniel is to miss the point entirely.

Daniel got himself into the lion’s den, but it was God who brought him out safely! No matter how brave he was, Daniel couldn’t have clamped shut the jaws of the lions. Alone in the lion’s den, Daniel would have been torn to pieces—he would never have stood a chance. But Daniel wasn’t alone. And that’s what this story is all about.

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