There he was, staring back at the eyes of ferocious lions. Probably not the way Daniel thought his day would go, being placed inside a lions’ den because of his refusal to bow down to anyone but God.
However, the story of Daniel in the lions’ den is one that recognizes the power and authority of God, as well as the faithfulness of one man of God. What should have been the sudden end to a man unworthy of his punishment became an example of how even in the most impossible situations, God will use the situation for good for all those involved.
Listed below are five lessons we learn from the story of Daniel in the lions’ den that can influence our own relationships with God and realization of His love and provision for us.
If He can shut the mouths of lions to keep them from injuring His servant Daniel, there is nothing God can’t do for whatever situations we are facing.
Daniel’s Time in the Kingdom
Before we start with the lessons, let’s first become acquainted again with the story of Daniel and how he found himself sealed in the lions’ den.
Daniel’s life first changed when he and his friends were taken to serve King Nebuchadnezzar in his court in Babylon, becoming advisors to the king for either the king’s reign or however long the king sought fit. This was a common practice at the time for youth of royalty or prominence in the area, as the youth was trained to teach the king about the cultures of those within the Babylonian empire.
Yet Daniel’s time in the court was anything but ordinary, as word got around quickly of his devotion to God and his unwillingness to defile himself in any way, from what he ate to whom he swore allegiance to.
He was also conscripted to tell what certain dreams of King Nebuchadnezzar meant, and became a well-respected prophet to the king, even leading to the king praising God instead of his pagan idols.
After Nebuchadnezzar’s reign, his son Belshazzar became king but was later killed. King Darius then took the throne, which was where this aspect of Daniel’s life began.
As shared in Daniel 6:1-25, Daniel was still a favored member of the king’s court, recognized for the “excellent spirit” within him, and he was even considered by the king for leadership over the entire advising court.
Of course, this didn’t sit well with those in the court, who hatched a plot to find fault in the blameless Daniel, primarily through his unwavering faith to God. A deceitful decree was brought forth to the king that no one else was to be worshipped other than the king. When Daniel was discovered worshipping God in the confines of his home, it was deemed that he be put to death for violating the decree.
But as many of us know who have read this story in Daniel, though the punishment was death in the lions’ den, Daniel not only survived but was found to be without injury. He stated an angel of God came and shut the mouths of the lions.
5 Lessons from the Story of Daniel in the Lion’s Den
After reading this story, it is easy to see that there are countless lessons to learn from the story of Daniel in the lions’ den, but these five lessons seem to stand out most for not only how Daniel was impacted during this time, but also how the lives of those around him were changed.
These lessons give us guidance in how to live like Christ in all situations and with all people, as God will use our faith and efforts to glorify Himself and bring others back into a relationship with Him.
1. If You Follow God, Accusations against You Will Be Proven False
At the start of Daniel 6, we see that Daniel was a man of God whom several, including King Darius, respected and appreciated. His actions were to reflect God and not to bring attention to himself or to glorify anyone around him.
When rumors started that Daniel might be promoted in the court, those in the court who weren’t fans of Daniel started to plot revenge against him. However, in his time in the kingdom, Daniel had already proven his faith, which showed that those who opposed him would have to be dishonest to convict him.
When you are living your faith in God the right way, seeking to serve Him instead of yourself, you will find that those who don’t understand might try to trip you up in some way. They will try to find fault with you, even if it means forcing you to choose between God and duty, as Daniel was.
But if you continue to follow God as Daniel did, whatever accusations are made against you will be proven false. Whatever you lost, God will redeem.
2. No Matter What Happens, Never Give Up on God
When the decree went out that only the king could be worshipped in the courts, Daniel had quite the decision on his hands: Stay true to worshipping God or worship the king to save his life.
But David decided that he would continue to place his life in God’s hands and worshipped Him freely at home three times a day, praying and giving thanks to God while on his knees.
Daniel was eventually discovered worshipping at his home, probably by those plotting his demise. They went to the king to tell him of Daniel’s violation.
Yet even though all seemed lost, Daniel continued to trust God in faith. His life was spared, and he continued to be used by God to save others.
3. If You Set an Example of Faithfulness, You Never Know Who Will Be Impacted
When news of Daniel’s violation of the decree was brought to the king, Scripture says the king was displeased with himself and did everything he could to prevent Daniel’s death from happening. King Darius even fasted and slept little the night Daniel was put in the lions’ den, hoping that his life would be spared when the king arrived at the den the next day.
It was clear that Daniel living out his faith in God impacted those around him positively, especially the king himself. When Daniel was put in the den, before leaving, King Darius said, “Your God, whom you serve continually, He will deliver you” (Daniel 6:16).
So King Darius was touched by not only Daniel’s devotion of faith to God but also his devotion to the king in accepting his punishment, unfair as it was. Taking that step in faith, to the point where the king tells you God will deliver you, demonstrates that you never know who is watching your reaction to a situation. Their faith will be impacted in watching yours on display.
4. Your Prayers for Others in Hardship Are Heard by God
Even though Daniel is surely the focus of the story, what can sometimes be missed is King Darius’ reaction to Daniel’s death sentence. As stated in the lesson above, King Darius was both saddened to hear of Daniel worshipping God and upset with himself for making the offending decree into law.
He petitioned to deliver Daniel from his punishment until he entered the lions’ den, at which point he reassured Daniel that the God he had worshipped would deliver him. Once he returned to his palace, the king fasted and awaited the morning to see if God would deliver Daniel from the lions.
When King Darius learned that Daniel was saved by an angel of God, along with Daniel’s declaration to the king that “I have done no wrong before you” (Daniel 6:22), King Darius commanded Daniel be taken out of the lions’ den and his accusers and their families be placed in the den instead. The king then went on to write a decree that the God of Daniel was the only God to worship and His kingdom was one not to be destroyed.
It isn’t stated whether the king prayed to God for Daniel or not, but several indicators in text revealed that he held Daniel close to his heart that night, and the answer to unspoken prayer led the king to become a believer of God as well.
5. Only the Impossible Can Happen with God
As we witness in the latter part of Daniel 6, King Darius arrived at the lions’ den the next morning to find that Daniel was alive and unharmed after a night with the lions.
The king was astonished to see that Daniel was okay and was even more amazed when Daniel told him an angel of the Lord came and prevented the lions from harming him by shutting their mouths. Daniel also thanked the king for his prayerful encouragement the night before, when he told Daniel God would deliver him.
When the impossible happens in our lives, we can only attribute it to the grace and power of God. Miracles – from preventing wild animals from harming a person to a restored relationship or a debt mysteriously paid off – are blessings we can only recognize God for doing.
When God gives us unbelievable blessings, we can only glorify Him and share with others the powerful testimony of His blessing to us. We see this occur with Daniel and, later, King Darius and his decree to honor God.
The Impossible Made Possible
The stories from the book of Daniel are testaments of faith that many consider worthy of believing and following, but the story in Daniel 6 is one that embodies the impossible feats God makes possible for those who believe Him.
As Daniel accepted his fate, even though wrongfully accused, he inspired others with his belief that God would be with him even into the lions’ den. His willingness to step out in faith for God even inspired the renewed faith of the king, who was amazed when he saw Daniel alive and well the next morning.
Though we may not find ourselves in a lions’ den anytime soon, situations in life can feel like a lions’ den and an escape doesn’t seem possible. But that is when we must put our faith in the God who isn’t shaken by circumstances and is glorified as He brings us to our breakthroughs.
The lion called life is always ready to devour us. But have faith in God like Daniel, and we will see miracles happen that only God can do.
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