“These men said, ‘We are not going to find any cause for complaint against this Daniel unless we find something against him in regard to the law of his God.’ So these chiefs and viceroys descended on the king and said to him, ‘King Daryavesh, live forever! All the chiefs of the kingdom along with the prefects, viceroys, advisers and governors, have met together and agreed that the king should issue a decree putting in force the following law: Whoever makes a request of any god or man during the next thirty days, except you, your majesty, is to be thrown into the lion’s pit.’” Daniel 6:5-7
Today’s chapter is one of the best-known Bible stories. What child, whether Christian or Jewish, has not heard the story of Daniel in the lion’s den? Just the thought of it makes me crave goldfish crackers! But within the story of Daniel’s deliverance are other important narratives. I chose today’s passage because I wanted to highlight the method that Daniel’s enemies used to trap him. Daniel was a man of such upright character and sought to please the Lord, to the extent that he was blameless, according to both the Torah of God and the laws of the Medes and Persians. So, the only way that Daniel could be brought down was to make worshipping God a crime. I love Daniel’s response to the King’s decree.
“On learning that the document had been signed, Daniel went home. The windows of his upstairs room were opened in the direction of Jerusalem; and there he kneeled down three times a day and prayed, giving thanks before his God just as he had been doing before. Then these men descended on Daniel and found him making requests and pleading before his God.” Daniel 6:10-11
I would like to believe Daniel remembered Solomon’s prayer at the dedication of the Lord’s Temple and that he was faithfully praying following Solomon’s words.
“May your eyes be open toward this temple night and day, this place of which you said, ‘My Name shall be there,’ so that you will hear the prayer your servant prays toward this place.” 1 Kings 8:29
Years ago, I wrote a song titled “If Loving God Was a Crime.” The song was based on today’s chapter and posed the question: If loving God were against the law, would there be enough evidence to convict you? At the time, it seemed a bit far-fetched and futuristic, but these days I wonder how much longer it will be before the song’s message becomes less a personal challenge and more of a rebel anthem! It is becoming increasingly difficult to follow God and remain an upright “politically correct” American citizen. If you don’t believe me, try articulating the Bible’s teaching in the classroom or workplace on issues like abortion, homosexuality, or creation. And do I even have to mention what believers in places like China or the Muslim nations must endure? (Heb 11:32-38)
Daniel’s example is a challenge for us all. We must choose rightly between the worldly, culturally approved “wide path” or the righteous “narrow path” of the Lord. It’s not always easy, but we should live to honor the God who never leaves or forsakes us.
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