So the king gave the command, and they brought Daniel and cast him into the den of lions. (Dan.6:16a)
One of my favorite parts of the circus is the lion-tamer act. What courage it must take to walk into a cage with those powerful beasts! Yet, those lions are well-fed, extensively trained, and the lion-tamer has some protection. It took far more courage for Daniel to take a stand that would cause him to be cast into a den of ravenous lions! Would we dare to be a Daniel?
Scripture is clear: “All that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution” (2 Tim.3:12). Since the dawn of time, there has been enmity between the seed of the serpent and the children of God. Daniel was in that godly line that began with Abel, who Cain killed, and proceeds to those who take a stand for righteousness today.
Daniel was chosen by King Darius due to his moral character. He was a man of integrity. Daniel was godly and it was a quality the King recognized. Do people see that in us? That very nature of godliness, however, is hated by those who are anti-God. They cannot reach up to heaven and assail Him, so they turn their wrath on His followers. A plot is hatched to attack Daniel in his devotion to God. If you dare to be a Daniel, people may hate you, but they won’t be able to ignore you!
Daniel’s foes secure an edict where only King Darius is to be petitioned for 30 days. Violation of that decree would bring the sentence of being cast into a den of lions. They knew Daniel’s habit of prayer, and that would be his downfall. What would you do? It’s hard to get people to come to a prayer meeting now—I can only imagine how few would show up if it meant a death sentence! Daniel did what he always did. He didn’t cave under pressure. He didn’t pray to be seen of men, but he didn’t mind if he was. I would suggest that Daniel didn’t compromise his principles because he was consistent in his prayers!
Even the pagan king recognized the special qualities Daniel possessed and sought a way to deliver him. Pride had caused him to sign the law, and know the monarch has no choice but to honor it. If deliverance is to be found, it will be the hand of God who secures it. Daniel must rely on the King of kings. We can entrust our lives to a faithful God. He will give us life on earth so long as there is a work for us to do, and when our mission is complete He will call us to a better land! Notice that Daniel wasn’t delivered from the dwelling place of the lions, but from the deadly power of the lions. Should God permit us to be devoured by them—as many Christian martyrs experienced in the Roman Coliseum—only the body of flesh is destroyed. You cannot enter heaven in that form. The real you—the person you are in Christ—cannot be harmed. God doesn’t exempt us from lions, but delivers us from loss! Heaven is all gain!
Daniel’s enemies reap what they sowed. Sooner or later, God exacts justice on the believer’s persecutors. It may be in this life, or in the world to come. The end result is that God is glorified. This is what can happen if we dare to be a Daniel!