Scripture: I make a decree, that in all my royal dominion people are to tremble and fear before the God of Daniel, for he is the living God, enduring forever; his kingdom shall never be destroyed, and his dominion shall be to the end. He delivers and rescues; he works signs and wonders in heaven and on earth, he who has saved Daniel from the power of the lions.” Daniel 6:26-27 ESV
Observation: The book of Daniel is actioned-packed with stories of faith. Here, in chapter 6, we see a similar theme to chapter 3 when advisors to the Babylonian king, Nebuchadnezzar, motivated by jealousy, rat on Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego when they disobey the civil law in favor of God’s law. In this story, like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, God delivers Daniel from certain death. But this time, rather than a fiery furnace, the means of execution is a den of lions. And like Nebuchadnezzar, when Darius witnesses the miraculous rescue, he praises the “Most High God” (above verses), declaring that all subjects of his kingdom are to show fear and reverence to this God of Daniel.
Still, there is one marked difference between the two stories. Unlike Nebuchadnezzar, Darius harbored no anger against Daniel. Instead, when he discovered that his edict had compromised his beloved advisor, he was distraught and did not sleep or eat until he sought Daniel’s wellbeing at daybreak. Upon hearing Daniel’s voice and seeing that his God had protected him, Darius instead sent Daniel’s adversaries to the lion’s den, where the hungry lions crushed all their bones. Meanwhile, Daniel continued to prosper throughout Darius’ reign.
Takeaway: Indeed, Daniel’s twist of fate that led to prosperity mirrors numerous accounts in our Bible, whether that of Joseph, Moses, David, or Mordecai. But more importantly, our story points us to its culmination in Christ. The religious leaders who were jealous of Jesus sought to entrap him in a compromise between obeying Caesar’s laws or that of the “Most High God.” Eventually, they would find a way to rid themselves of their enemy, or so it would seem. As with Daniel, a stone was rolled in front of Christ’s cave and sealed with the emperor’s insignia. But our “God Most High” would deliver his faithful Son from the den of death at daybreak, commanding his angels to roll back the stone just as Darius directed his soldiers. And like Daniel, the Son of God would prosper. Two thousand years later, his eternal kingdom continues to grow through his Holy Spirit utilizing the likes of you and me.
For sure, our Gospel story is a glorious twist of fate that inspires us to join with Darius in declaring that Christ’s “kingdom shall never be destroyed, and his dominion shall be to the end. He delivers and rescues; he works signs and wonders in heaven and on earth.”
Prayer: Father God, we thank you for your Son who never compromised your law and who always sought to glorify you. Would you please grant us grace to follow your Son’s commands and proclaim the good news of this glorious twist in fate: that our King has forgiven our sins and defeated death that we might prosper. Hallelujah!
Rev. Gordon Green, M.Div., M.A. Counseling