Have you ever found yourself in the wrong place at the wrong time? As we continue our series on the book of Daniel and come to one of the most famous passages, it would seem at first glance that Daniel is in the wrong place at the wrong time. However, as we’ve learnt, God was completely in control and in fact Daniel was right where God wanted him at the start of chapter 6 – the right man, in the right place, at the right time.
Read Daniel 6.
This chapter takes place during the days of the Medo-Persian Empire which had just conquered the great Babylonian Empire. This was another empire to rise and eventually fall, just like all the others. Yet Daniel’s life and witness in every empire he found himself in was exemplary as he displayed the exceptional qualities listed. How much trust, integrity and honesty do we show in the situations we find ourselves in?
It’s interesting that, instead of compromising, he was able to confront difficult situations with truth and actually bring about change. We have an excellent example in Daniel of how to honour God in a culture contrary to our beliefs and maintain integrity in the long term – Daniel was at least 82 years old by the way!
It’s so often the case that, when qualities like those of Daniel are shown, they can breed jealousy and discontentment amongst others. This jealously is what led the satraps (what the Persians called their local governors) to come up with their cunning plan to get rid of Daniel.
Daniel’s response to the decree of the King is quite striking – John Piper puts it like this: “Daniel would rather pray than save his life. Not praying was a worse prospect to Daniel than being eaten by lions. That is a radical commitment to prayer.” Doesn’t that stop you right in your tracks and challenge you as to your own attitude towards prayer? More on that on another day…
So Daniel finds himself thrown into the den – completely helpless and at the mercy of some seriously hungry lions (lions back then were intentionally starved for the very purpose of executing people). Daniel didn’t want to be in there, nor did the King want Daniel to be thrown in, and the narrative is at pains to show us just how hopeless his situation was. Maybe you feel like you’re in a similar, inescapable position?
Rest assured, God has a master plan and is sovereign over all. On this occasion (although not every occasion) it was part of God’s plan that Daniel would be delivered from the mouths of lions; God did what Darius and Daniel could not do.
You see, when it comes to God, His hands are never tied and His power can never be overcome! We’re reminded early on in chapter 4 that “No one can hold back his hand…” The same God who raised his Son from the dead (the seemingly most hopeless situation!) is at work in us today – so take heart and be encouraged that God is in control and ask for greater faith!