INTO THE LION'S DEN
Book of Daniel, part 8
Daniel 6: Four Moves
- The Trap Set (1-9)
- The Trap Sprung (10-15)
- Into the Lions Den (16-24)
- Darius Praises God (25-28)
The New Administration
- Oct. 29, 539 B.C. Cyrus the Great assumes rule of Babylon - Babylon is no longer in control. The line of Nebuchadnezzar is over.
- Captivity of Judah ends
- Darius the Mede is either ...
- Cyrus II (559 529 BC) - It could be Cyrus the Persian (the Great) who conquered the Median empire during his rule. He might have taken the name Darius as his Median title.
- Darius I (522 485 BC) - It could be Darius I who did organize the kingdom into provinces (satraps) ruled by officials. He was also a worshipper of Ahura Mazda, a Zoroastrian.
- The Persian rulers recognize Daniels wisdom
- He rises to high position
- This is good for all except Daniels rivals
- They conspire to do away with Daniel
Law of the Medes and Persians
- The trick of the irrevocable law
- Darius is duped
- Daniels civil disobedience
- The Law of the Medes and Persians is now in a contest with Gods Law.
Hope and Prayer
- Why does Daniel have to pray?
- He is praying toward Jerusalem Now that the Jews are free to return home he is praying for the restoration of Jerusalem and the homeland. Allowing the Jews to return is simple. Actually working to make it happen will be a massive undertaking.
- Jerusalem represents hope and the future When the scheming counselors take away Daniels time of prayer, they are robbing him of his hope and future. Daniel will not allow them to take it away.
Into the Lions Den
- Darius prays for God to save Daniel
- The den is sealed with a stone
- We are not allowed in the den
- The story follows the anxious king from night to morning King Darius is the dramatic figure in this story, not Daniel. Daniel is fine. He is content. Darius is conflicted and anxious.
We have no indication of what happened in the lions den except for Daniels comment afterward. Nevertheless, artists have tried to depict the interior of the den with varying views ...
I'm not sure from where this picture came. It looks like a petting zoo. The lions seem friendly.
This is straight from Sunday School of yesteryear. Notice the lovely, feminine angel. Daniel is so young.
This is a well known portrait by Rubens from the early 17th century. This is as much a study in anatomy as it is anything else. Notice the musculature painted on the lions and Daniel.
This portrait has very Christological themes. See the skull at the bottom border and the blood red cloth.
Daniel looks scared and begging.
The artist for these next two paintings is Briton Rivière (1840-1920). What I like about Rivières painting: Daniel is old. The lions are kept at bay by an invisible force.
Daniel turns his back on the lions. He is at peace. Either God will spare him, or he will die. Daniel looks up into the light. It demonstrates hope.
Darius Pays Attention
- He gets Daniel out - By drawing Daniel out he is changing the law of the Medes and Persians. He is acknowledging a higher law
- He punishes the conspirators (and their families)
- He issues a decree calling his kingdom to reverence God
- He praises God!
- God can change and challenge what we consider unchanging - We often dont give God enough credit. We have to be bold enough to accept that God can do what he wills. We tend to think that the Law of the Medes and Persians is the way it always must be. We let people suffer because we are too afraid to follow God rather than the way it has always been done.
- Civil disobedience Civil disobedience doesnt make much sense if you are the group in power. But when you are persecuted it is all you have. Daniel is the best public servant. He has done no wrong by honoring God. He is persecuted for it. The law is organized against him. He proceeds faithfully and without anxiety. How useful is that to us in a day and age when we grow anxious because Christian faith seems to be losing privilege. Let them change the laws. It shouldnt sweat us. We dont have to fight. (Daniel did nothing wrong or disruptive) We can protest and exercise our rights within the law but above all else LETS KEEP OUR FAITH. For instance, they can take the 10 commandments out of the courthouse and school, but they cannot take it out of our hearts!
- The power to kill vs. the power to save/give life. Darius and the irrevocable law of the Medes and Persians has the illusion of final authority because it has the power to kill and destroy. That seems so final. But God alone has the power to preserve and make life. No king on earth has that power. No power or authority on earth can claim that.
West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Evening Sermon, 15 July 2007
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