Book of Daniel, part 8

Daniel 6: Four Moves

  1. The Trap Set (1-9)
  2. The Trap Sprung (10-15)
  3. Into the Lion’s Den (16-24)
  4. Darius Praises God (25-28)

The New Administration

President Daniel

Law of the Medes and Persians

Hope and Prayer

Into the Lion’s Den

  1. Darius prays for God to save Daniel
  2. The den is sealed with a stone
  3. We are not allowed “in the den”
  4. 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 lion’s den except for Daniel’s 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 Rivière’s painting: Daniel is old. The lion’s 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

  1. He gets Daniel out - By drawing Daniel out he is changing the law of the Medes and Persians. He is acknowledging a higher law
  2. He punishes the conspirators (and their families)
  3. He issues a decree calling his kingdom to reverence God
  4. He praises God!

So What?

  1. God can change and challenge what we consider unchanging - We often don’t 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.”
  2. Civil disobedience – Civil disobedience doesn’t 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 shouldn’t sweat us. We don’t have to fight. (Daniel did nothing wrong or disruptive) We can protest and exercise our rights within the law – but above all else LET’S 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!
  3. 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.

Chris Benjamin

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Evening Sermon, 15 July 2007

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