Salvation Stories From The Bible: Daniel and the Lion’s Den

Salvation Stories From The Bible: Daniel and the Lion’s Den

Illustration: He Can Still Save You
A little boy just got saved and sat on a bench next to old man who looked upset. The little boy said to the man, "Sir, do you need to get saved?"

The man startled said abruptly, "I’ll tell you I’ve been a Deacon in this church for over 30 years and Chairman of Deacons for 15 years."

The little boy responded, "Sir , it don’t matter what you done, Jesus loves you and He’ll still save you!"

Point:
Here’s the deal folks, all of us have one primary need in life.  We all need to be saved. We all need to be delivered.  Whether we know this truth or not, God has installed in our hearts the need to be saved.  

Point:
Have you ever heard the statement, “there are not atheists in foxholes”? There is a lot of truth in thats statement.  What it means is that when the chips are on the table, when you are in the hole and the bullets are flying, no matter what we believe about God, we will call out to Him.  

Point:
What is your salvation story? We all have them right? You know that time when you thought that it was over, you were at the end, there was no hope and you cried out to God and suddenly, He shows up.  I have a story like that that I will share in a few weeks.  A story where God showed up in my life, saved me, and even saved the people that I was with.  Think about that this morning.  What is your salvation story?

Transitional Statement:
You know there are lots of salvation stories in the Bible.  This morning we are looking at what might be the most classic story in the Old Testament.  It is the story of Daniel in the Lion’s Den.  It is an amazing story of Daniel experiencing betrayal, wrongful persecution, and death.  Except, death never came.  God stepped in and did something rather remarkable.  Daniel’s Den of Death Led To God’s Deliverance.  

Daniel’s Den of Death Led To God’s Deliverance!

Let’s read the story together this morning…

Daniel 6:1-24 ESV
It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom 120 satraps, to be throughout the whole kingdom; 2 and over them three high officials, of whom Daniel was one, to whom these satraps should give account, so that the king might suffer no loss. 3 Then this Daniel became distinguished above all the other high officials and satraps, because an excellent spirit was in him. And the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom. 4 Then the high officials and the satraps sought to find a ground for complaint against Daniel with regard to the kingdom, but they could find no ground for complaint or any fault, because he was faithful, and no error or fault was found in him. 5 Then these men said, “We shall not find any ground for complaint against this Daniel unless we find it in connection with the law of his God.”
6 Then these high officials and satraps came by agreement to the king and said to him, “O King Darius, live forever! 7 All the high officials of the kingdom, the prefects and the satraps, the counselors and the governors are agreed that the king should establish an ordinance and enforce an injunction, that whoever makes petition to any god or man for thirty days, except to you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions. 8 Now, O king, establish the injunction and sign the document, so that it cannot be changed, according to the law of the Medes and the Persians, which cannot be revoked.” 9 Therefore King Darius signed the document and injunction.

10 When Daniel knew that the document had been signed, he went to his house where he had windows in his upper chamber open toward Jerusalem. He got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously. 11 Then these men came by agreement and found Daniel making petition and plea before his God. 12 Then they came near and said before the king, concerning the injunction, “O king! Did you not sign an injunction, that anyone who makes petition to any god or man within thirty days except to you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions?” The king answered and said, “The thing stands fast, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be revoked.” 13 Then they answered and said before the king, “Daniel, who is one of the exiles from Judah, pays no attention to you, O king, or the injunction you have signed, but makes his petition three times a day.”

14 Then the king, when he heard these words, was much distressed and set his mind to deliver Daniel. And he labored till the sun went down to rescue him. 15 Then these men came by agreement to the king and said to the king, “Know, O king, that it is a law of the Medes and Persians that no injunction or ordinance that the king establishes can be changed.”

16 Then the king commanded, and Daniel was brought and cast into the den of lions. The king declared to Daniel, “May your God, whom you serve continually, deliver you!” 17 And a stone was brought and laid on the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet and with the signet of his lords, that nothing might be changed concerning Daniel. 18 Then the king went to his palace and spent the night fasting; no diversions were brought to him, and sleep fled from him.
19 Then, at break of day, the king arose and went in haste to the den of lions. 20 As he came near to the den where Daniel was, he cried out in a tone of anguish. The king declared to Daniel, “O Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to deliver you from the lions?” 21 Then Daniel said to the king, “O king, live forever! 22 My God sent his angel and shut the lions' mouths, and they have not harmed me, because I was found blameless before him; and also before you, O king, I have done no harm.” 23 Then the king was exceedingly glad, and commanded that Daniel be taken up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no kind of harm was found on him, because he had trusted in his God. 24 And the king commanded, and those men who had maliciously accused Daniel were brought and cast into the den of lions—they, their children, and their wives. And before they reached the bottom of the den, the lions overpowered them and broke all their bones in pieces.

Daniel’s Salvation Story

I. Daniel’s Character  vs. 3
Daniel 6:3 ESV
Then this Daniel became distinguished above all the other high officials and satraps, because an excellent spirit was in him. And the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom.

Point:
The Bible says that Daniel gained favor with the King because he was distinguished.  He had set himself apart from all the other officials because of his character and his attitude. So helpful was Daniel to the King, the King had it in mind to set Daniel in charge of the entire Kingdom.  

Point:
The Scripture tells us that what really set Daniel apart was that “an excellent spirit” was in him.  What exactly does it mean to possess an “excellent spirit”? Well we know people and we have met people that have excellent spirits.  The Hebrew that is being used means that Daniel was fine, noble, and admirable. Daniel was a man who excelled in his tasks and his job. He was a man who went beyond expectations. Quite literally, Daniel’s spirit shined out of him.  He radiated.  Daniel was a man who did not wait to be told what to do.  He was proactive.  He was someone who pursued working with a purpose. He was someone who perceived what needed to be done and did it with a good attitude. 

Because of his character, the King took notice. Daniel became the living embodiment of Paul’s words captured in I Corinthians 10:31.

I Corinthians 10:31 ESV
So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

I. Daniel’s Character  vs. 3
II. Daniel’s Career vs. 4-5
Daniel 3:4-5 ESV
Then the high officials and the satraps sought to find a ground for complaint against Daniel with regard to the kingdom, but they could find no ground for complaint or any fault, because he was faithful, and no error or fault was found in him. 5 Then these men said, “We shall not find any ground for complaint against this Daniel unless we find it in connection with the law of his God.

Point:
So just what was Daniel’s job?  What did he do?  Obviously King Darius like Daniel.  He saw something in Daniel that he had not seen before in any other person.  We discover Daniel’s job description in Daniel 2.

Daniel 2:48 ESV
Then the king gave Daniel high honors and many great gifts, and made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon and chief prefect over all the wise men of Babylon.

King Darius admired Daniel to the point that he made him a governor.  He also gave him authority over the wise men in the country.  You can imagine that as an outsider, Daniel was vilified for having such success.  With all his authority, there were those who were very jealous of his relationship with the King. 

Point:
So, we discover in Daniel 6, a plot to see Daniel removed from power.  Even worse, these men were going to devise a plan to have Daniel killed.  As an interesting side note, these officials knew that there was no way to smear Daniel out of office.  Daniel was so reputable, so respected, so squeaky clean, that any attempt to mar his character would be foolish.  

Point:
The Scripture tells us that they looked.  They looked hard at Daniel’s life to find any fault, any flaw, any defect that they could use to disqualify him from the office that he held. When they examined Daniel’s life, all they found was faith.  

Illustration:
We are  just a few month’s removed from a Presidential election.  We all remember that time well and most, if not all of us, are thankful to have the race behind us. It doesn’t really matter what side you were on, it was a constant stream of mudslinging, allegations, innuendos, and negative commentary about the opposing party.  It seemed to never stop.  

The media made it worse.  The media dug and tried to find dirt on the candidates, their spouse, their children, and their offices.  It seemed that nothing was off limits.  When they would find dirt on one candidate and you thought they were officially out of the race, there was more dirt about the other candidate that made you ponder their ability to lead.  

It lasted seemingly forever.  Night and day, that 24 hour news cycle spun out of control.  

Point:
Well, the same thing happened to Daniel.  These corrupt officials looked and looked.  They turned over every rock.  They looked into Daniel’s closet and guess what, no skeletons.  Nothing.  Everywhere they looked they encountered a man who never took bribes, never had a scandal with an intern, never had any questionable business deals, never accepted gifts from lobbyists, and no accusations from staffers.  

Point:
Now the Scripture tells us that Daniel accusers could find “no error or fault in him”. Now this does not mean that Daniel was perfect.  Basically, Scripture is telling us that he was simply a man of great integrity and that throughout the scope of his career, he handled his business in an upright manner.  

Point:
Can you imagine that happening in our political races today? Can you imagine viewing a political candidate only to discover that he was pure, innocent and possessed integrity?  That would be a great change.  Well, that’s what happened to Daniel.  

Daniel’s situation reminds me of Psalm 109:2-4.

Psalm 109:2-4 ESV
For wicked and deceitful mouths are opened against me, speaking against me with lying tongues. They encircle me with words of hate, and attack me without cause. In return for my love they accuse me…

I. Daniel’s Character  vs. 3
II. Daniel’s Career vs. 4-5
III. Daniel’s Craving vs. 7
Daniel 6:7 
All the high officials of the kingdom, the prefects and the satraps, the counselors and the governors are agreed that the king should establish an ordinance and enforce an injunction, that whoever makes petition to any god or man for thirty days, except to you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions.

Point:
So the officials devise a plan to entrap Daniel.  In their request to the King, we learn a few things that they new about Daniel.

1. Daniel was a man of prayer.  These officials knew that Daniel prayed.  He prayed every day.  He prayed at all times.  He was a man who did not hide his passion for prayer as Daniel was known to pray publicly and privately.  Even when Daniel found out the plan of the officials, he made no attempt to change his habit of prayer.  Even though Daniel discovered the hatred of those who persecuted him was attached to his commitment to prayer, Daniel did not stop praying.  When it came to prayer, we know that Daniel had a place that he reserved for prayer. We know that he had a designed time to pray.  Daniel was an unashamed man of prayer.  

2. Daniel prayed to Jehovah.  He did not pray to a person.  He did not pray to a pagan god or false idol.  He prayed to the one true living God.  The Lord of host.  Why?  Daniel prayed to God because he was real.  He prayed to Jehovah because Jehovah has power.  He prayed to God because he knew that ultimate power, ultimate authority, existed in the hands of God, not Darius.  

Daniel lived out I Thessalonians 5:16-18 ESV…

I Thessalonians 16-18 ESV
16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

I. Daniel’s Character  vs. 3
II. Daniel’s Career vs. 4-5
III. Daniel’s Craving vs. 7
IV. Daniel’s Catastrophe vs. 16-18
Daniel 6:16-18 ESV
16 Then the king commanded, and Daniel was brought and cast into the den of lions. The king declared to Daniel, “May your God, whom you serve continually, deliver you!” 17 And a stone was brought and laid on the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet and with the signet of his lords, that nothing might be changed concerning Daniel. 18 Then the king went to his palace and spent the night fasting; no diversions were brought to him, and sleep fled from him.

Point:
So we know the story.  Darius, under the influence of his evil advisors, creates a law that would effectively kill anyone who prays to a god or to a person other than Darius.  Darius allowed his ego to make a terrible law and it really got away from him.  

Daniel is caught praying, and Darius follows the law, and has Daniel thrown in the Lion’s Den.  

Point:
How unfair!  Daniel, a honorable man with and impeccable career is tossed into the Lion’s Den, a death sentence, all because of his faith.  He was assassinated all because of his faith.  

Point:
Friends, what about us?  If the rules were still in place as they were in the ancient world, would our faith convict us?  Would our faith be so rich, so deep, so profound that it would lead us to being thrown into the lions den.  Unfortunately, we are not playing at such high stakes these days.  Or are we?

Illustration:
It was not long ago that I read an article about a Christian man who was beaten and tortured for 5  hours by ISIS.  The terror group told the man that if he recanted his beliefs that they would spare him and the lives of his family.  The man refused.  The ISIS fighters took the man and crucified him.  As the man was on the cross, they told him that they would kill him quickly if he recanted his belief in Jesus Christ and still the man refused.  He died hours later on the cross.  

Point:
Friends, that is a terrible example.  However, what an inspiration. The man never wavered on his beliefs.  Like Daniel, he was willing to go through the Lion’s Den, or death, to meet his Savior.  

Point:
The persecution that we face here in America is much less.  When we live out our faith, we do not face the end of a gun or a literal cross.  Generally we are made fun of and assassinated on social media.  

Point:
When is the last time you found yourself in the Lion’s Den, facing destruction, for living out your faith? Most of really have never been there.  However, some of us feel that we are facing a bleak future.  Some of us are facing a failed marriage.  We are staring at disease in the eye.  We are in bondage by our past and our sin.  We feel that we have been thrown to the hungry lions.  

Perhaps your angry at the situation you have found yourself in.  I am sure that as they rolled the rock and sealed Daniel’s fate, that Daniel probably scratched his head and wondered how in the world he found himself in that situation.  

Daniel’s future was in doubt.
Daniel’s faith was in trouble.
Daniel’s failure to his peers was all but secured.  

Daniel was finished! Plain and simple! Finished!

Point:
I was doing some reading the other day.  I like to read from several different translations each week.  I ran across Matthew 5:3 from The Message.  There is good news.  When you come to the end of yourself, when things are really bad, thats when God shows up and begins to turn things around. 

Matthew 5:3 The Message
"You're blessed when you're at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule. 

I. Daniel’s Character  vs. 3
II. Daniel’s Career vs. 4-5
III. Daniel’s Craving vs. 7
IV. Daniel’s Catastrophe vs. 16-18
V. Daniel’s Comfort vs. 22
Daniel 6:22 ESV
My God sent his angel and shut the lions' mouths, and they have not harmed me, because I was found blameless before him; and also before you, O king, I have done no harm.

Point: 
Like all good salvation stories, God steps in.  Daniel is thrown into the den of lions.  Friends sometimes God does His best work when things are at their darkest.  God seems to shine the most light in the dimmest of situations. Never once did Daniel question God.  Not once did he question His plan, His goodness and His ability to save.  God had a plan to reach the King through saving Daniel.  Reach the King is exactly what God did.  In closing the mouths of the lions, the man who fancied himself to be God ends up proclaiming Jehovah as the one true God.  

Daniel 6:26-27 ESV
Then King Darius wrote to all the peoples, nations, and languages that dwell in all the earth: “Peace be multiplied to you. 26 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.
27 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.”

Illustration:
Remember the man who was tortured, beaten and crucified?  How terrible and tragic that he died at the hands of terrorist.  However, the ones who crucified him were so struck by his commitment to Christ, they became curious themselves.  They witnessed his family praying and singing and their example spoke to them.  It was a few months later, but the same ISIS thugs revisited the village.  This time, they brought no guns.   No weapons.  The came to the camp wanting to speak to the man’s family.  They opened their doors to the killers and shared Christ with them.  Right there, in the house of the man who they had killed weeks earlier, they prayed to receive Christ.  Today, these three former ISIS fighters are now active in leading other ISIS fighters to Christ.  

Point:
Sometimes, God keeps the mouths of the lions shut.  Other times He allows us to experience the pain.  Why?  Because God is in the business of saving people.  He can save you.  He saved me.  He saved Daniel.  

Ephesians 2:5 ESV
Even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—


God Is In The Saving Business!

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