At the very heart of this story is something that we can all attest to, jealousy and envy. How many times in life has someone beaten you to a job or position that you feel you deserve or are more than qualified. Have you ever been in a position where an outsider has come in and been promoted above those who have been there for years, over those who have worked hard for years. In this story we hear of Daniel the Jew who was favoured by Darius and elevated to his right hand man, his go-to guy.
Now before we move on I want to put this into perspective. Darius was a powerful man, a very very powerful man. Darius the Great was King of the Persian Achaemenid Empire which at the time was the greatest Kingdom in the known world. He commanded a huge empire and a massive fighting force from which his son and successor would eventually lead a million men against three hundred Spartans in the Battle of Thermopylae. From this we can see that being elevated to his right hand man would be analogous to Barack Obama appointing someone to watch over all of the 50 states and additional dependencies, a pretty powerful job don't you think.
Knowing that Daniel was a Jew the other Satraps and administrators decided they would entrap Daniel and back him in to a corner where he must either turn his back on his God or turn his back on his King. Knowing that his blessed position was a gift from God and not Darius, Daniel, as he always did went to his home in order to pray and give thanks to God as is right and proper. The other Satraps found Daniel doing this and must have been rubbing their hands together as they ran off to talk to Darius.
Once they had an audience with the King they reminded him of the new law he had made and that due to the laws and customs of the Medes and the Persians it could not be repealed. When Darius confirmed this and confirmed the punishment as set out by the law the Satraps sprung their trap for Daniel. They pointed out that contrary to the law that had been passed Daniel had continued to worship Yahweh.
Darius was greatly distressed by these developments and spent until sundown with his advisers and legal experts trying to do everything to save Daniel from the punishment of the lion's den. The Satraps reminded him that there was no way to repeal or change a decree from the King and as such there could be no way to save Daniel. And with that Darius agreed to throw Daniel to the lions den. However I love what Darius said to Daniel before the punishment was carried out.
The king caved in and ordered Daniel brought and thrown into the lions' den. But he said to Daniel, "Your God, to whom you are so loyal, is going to get you out of this."
We all know what happened next: Daniel was thrown to the lions and God sent an Angel to seal the mouths of the lions so that they would not harm him. The power of God saved Daniel and the next morning he remained untouched by the lions. The story continues with Darius rushing down to find out Daniel's fate and how he then deals with the Satraps and their families. But I don't really want to focus on that here, the revenge of Darius is a whole other post.
What I really think is the important part of this story is Daniels faith in God. Daniel who had been raised to such an elevated position of good grace in Darius' eyes risked everything up to and including his life for his faith in his God, our God. Would we have the same faith today? Would we be willing to risk all for our belief in our Lord? It is not a trivial question to ask, it is absolutely fundamental to your faith in God. Do you trust Him to be there for you in all things, to always watch over you and do what is right? Do you trust God with everything up to and including you life? If you believe he is all powerful and the creator of everything surely He has the power to always lead you on the right path. We may not always agree with His plans and ideas, we may not like them or may not see the reasoning behind them now but God knows the big picture, He knows all that has happened, is happening and will happen. Trust Him and like Daniel you will not regret the faith you placed in Him.