Daniel served prominently in the Babylonian court for decades, gaining the favor of one king after the other. Eventually, his counterparts got fed up – Daniel’s exceptional qualities were making the rest of them look bad. Seeing no other way to trip him up, a bold plan was hatched to attack him on the subject of his faith. It didn’t take much to feed Darius’ ego and get the decree issued. By the time the king realized the malicious set up, it was too late. Daniel was hurled into the lions’ den, and a stone placed over what should have been his tomb. His enemies gloated. Daniel’s fate was sealed and evil had triumphed.
But the story wasn’t over. Daniel emerged from the den very much alive and God was undeniably the victor. This awesome display of God’s sovereignty drove Darius to issue a different decree – one in which all nations and peoples were commanded to fear and reverence Daniel’s God (Daniel 6:25-27). As for Daniel, he continued to prosper in the reign of Darius and into that of Cyrus the Persian.
This is the same Cyrus who proclaimed that the Lord, the God of heaven had appointed him to build a temple at Jerusalem in Judah, and that God’ people should return to their homeland in order to execute this order (Ezra 1:1-4). The captivity was over – thanks in no small part to the influence of a man who dedicated his life to honoring God.
And it all started with a decision made right at the start of captivity. When the situation seemed darkest, God was already paving the way for deliverance through the life of a remarkable young man.
Today, we celebrate our deliverance from captivity to sin through Jesus’ death and resurrection. Rejoice! God always has a plan.
Image attribution: http://fineartamerica.com/art/paintings/daniel+in+the+lions+den/all