Daniel 6:13-22 (NIV)
13 Then they said to the king, “Daniel, who is one of the exiles from Judah, pays no attention to you, Your Majesty, or to the decree you put in writing. He still prays three times a day.” 14 When the king heard this, he was greatly distressed; he was determined to rescue Daniel and made every effort until sundown to save him. 15 Then the men went as a group to King Darius and said to him, “Remember, Your Majesty, that according to the law of the Medes and Persians no decree or edict that the king issues can be changed.” 16 So the king gave the order, and they brought Daniel and threw him into the lions’ den. The king said to Daniel, “May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!” 17 A stone was brought and placed over the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the rings of his nobles, so that Daniel’s situation might not be changed. 18 Then the king returned to his palace and spent the night without eating and without any entertainment being brought to him. And he could not sleep. 19 At the first light of dawn, the king got up and hurried to the lions’ den. 20 When he came near the den, he called to Daniel in an anguished voice, “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to rescue you from the lions?” 21 Daniel answered, “May the king live forever! 22 My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight. Nor have I ever done any wrong before you, Your Majesty.”
Daniel in the lion’s den was one of my favorite Bible stories as a child. It had everything I liked in stories, rich kings, scheming scoundrels, lions and a clear confrontation between good and evil. From the onset I found the behavior of King Darius the most interesting. Quite frankly Daniel’s prayer life and faith in this stressful scenario was what I expected of him. After all this is the same Daniel who refused to eat the king’s meat as a boy. This is the same Daniel who had outlasted several competitors as he rose to prominence in a foreign kingdom. My nickname for Daniel was “Steady D”.
King Darius’ behavior, however, shocked me. Persian kings were god-like rulers who were rarely challenged by their subjects. As the scriptures tells us, the king’s word was law. Neither Darius’s life or position were ever in jeopardy. Yet it seems as if he was the one who had the stressful day and night. He spent all day trying to avoid putting Daniel in the lion’s den and spent all night tossing and turning after he put Daniel in the den.
As a small statured child who had his own share of bullies to deal with, Daniel’s story ministered to me as I looked for creative ways to deal with my opposition. Indeed, Daniel’s enemies was determined to finish him. They had a brilliant plan. They were connected and prepared. Victory was almost certain. Yet somehow there was no peace. There was no peace with the king. There was no peace them. It was Daniel, the victim, who remained at peace.
The contrast in Daniel’s night and Darius’ night allowed me to see a new type of weakness in my enemies. Yes they may seem powerful, well connected and mighty but without God they are weak. They are not at peace. They are not sleeping well. They are not eating well. Their plans against us will never end well. Thus my friends do not let these turbulent times diminish our hope, our worship or our courage. Be at peace and live life abundantly. Let the saving grace of God work in us and through us. God is greater. The enemies of God and humanity are never truly at peace and will ultimately fail.