Daniel

In Daniel 6 we encounter the story of Daniel and the Lions Den. Because it’s so familiar, we often relegate it to a children’s Sunday School lesson rather than an actual account of a servant and prophet of God with relevant instruction for us today.

Daniel was exiled to Babylon along with others when King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon conquered Jerusalem. Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah were four young men chosen to serve in the king’s royal service.  In chapter 3, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah were thrown into the fiery furnace for their unwillingness to bow and pray to a golden statue erected by the king.  The three were of course rescued by God.  The four were men of conviction.

Daniel would later be promoted to the position of an administrator in King Darius’ kingdom and, because he was described as “faithful, always responsible, and completely trustworthy” (Daniel 6:4 NLT), Darius planned to place him in charge of the entire empire.  Are we regarded in that way?

The other administrators and officers were jealous and used flattery to convince Darius to sign a law where no one could pray to anyone but him or the consequence would be to be thrown into the den of lions.

Daniel displays conviction by simply continuing to do what he had always done; praying to God privately in his upper room.  With the trap set with a signed law that could not be rescinded, Darius is left with no choice but to have Daniel cast into the den of lions.  God sends an angel to shut the lions’ mouths and Daniel lives but those who maliciously accused him were not so fortunate and were thrown to the lions along with their families. 

Jealousy is defined by Merriam/Webster as “hostile toward a rival or one believed to enjoy an advantage.”  Jealousy and envy show up in things we say and how we talk about others. 

James 3:6-18 (NIV) talks about the tongue as a “fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body” and being “full of deadly poison”. 

We “praise our Lord and Father, and with it curse human beings who have been made in God’s likeness….this should not be.”  Proverbs 14:30 (NIV)- “A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.”

We are reminded (Psalm 91:1 , 9-12) that as with Daniel in the den of lions the Lord orders his angels to protect us as we live in the shelter of the Most High and we make Him our refuge.

The Lord is challenging us to be people of character and conviction who set aside jealousy and put a renewed trust in Him.