Dan In The Den
by Peter Kek
Pastor Of Grace Reformed Church
Alright, again a good morning to all of you. You might remember that the Israelites, when they were in exile, and then they were returning back to Jerusalem, they returned in batches. The first group came back, and then the second group, the third group. It looks like we are doing the same alright, we are coming back in batches. And today we have the last group coming back to join us alright the kids alright, and led by the priest, Ezra alright. And so, we are glad to have them. Just love those noises alright of these little kids. Now I love James White when he preaches in churches, and sometimes I watch those YouTube where he was preaching, and I hear kids at the background, I say well, that was kind of lovely. It is always good alright to have young people and kids in our midst.
And so, we are going to look at another amazing story in the Bible. And when we were reading the chapter, I do not know what went through your mind. Some of you grew up in a Sunday school. You say I’ve heard that story a number of times already. And I was thinking that some of you, young people, you read Harry Potter, and I understand that some of you read it once, twice, three times, and you never get bored alright because it was just an amazing story. I’m sure you won’t get bored with this amazing story. And we’re looking at my title: “Dan in the Den”. Of course, that refers to the story of Daniel in the lion’s den alright- Daniel in the lion’s den. And you see, this story took place at the time when Daniel was an old man. And when we looked at him alright in this book in chapter 1, he was actually a young man alright. The story started as a young person, maybe aged about 14. And now we are able to see him as an old man.
And the amazing thing about him is that he was pretty much the same alright. Not in physical appearance, I think in physical appearance he would look very different like many of us alright. But in his spiritual life alright, in his faithfulness to God, we see that now he is still the same so-called old Daniel or the same young Daniel alright, faithful and true to God. So, we’re going to look at him now in his old age in this chapter, and this chapter is actually quite easy to follow alright. After a brief introduction alright in the first three verses, and then we see the rest of the chapter may be divided into three. First, we look at the trap, and then we look at the trial, and then finally the triumph alright. So that is how we want to look at this chapter. But first, look at the setting alright before we look at the three parts. The setting or the introduction in the first three verses of this chapter.
And you see, this chapter opens with a change of dynasty. Now we remember that before this, it was the Babylonian kingdom. Now if you go back a little bit in chapter 5, the last two verses, we are told in verse 30: “That night Belshazzar, king of the Chaldeans”. The Chaldeans of course refer to the Babylonians, “was slain”. So, the last king of the Babylonian empire was killed. And then verse 31, the new king, and that’s “Darius the Mede received the kingdom, being about sixty-two years old.” So, this 62-year-old man became the new king. And of course, this is the new empire, the Middle-Persian empire. And the first thing that this new king did was to reorganize his administrations, I said seems to be pretty much routine. And so, we find him doing that in the first two verses of chapter 6. Verse 1: “It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom one hundred and twenty satraps, to be over the whole kingdom”.
So, 120 kinds of officers over this kingdom. And then verse 2: “over these were three governors”. Call them governors, administrators, or what you call ministers or what alright. “Three governors, of whom Daniel was one, that the satraps might give account to them”. So, a satrap will be answerable to these three governors and “so that the king would suffer no loss”. Now looks like this king was quite a good administrator. He knows how to organize his kingdom. So, he kind of organized it this way. And then the governors, of course, will be reporting to him alright. Now then we are told in verse 3 alright- verse 3 that “this Daniel distinguished himself above the governors and satraps, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king gave thought to setting him over the whole realm.”.
And here “an excellent spirit was in him” does not refer to this spirit inside him, but it refers to him being a man of integrity alright. He was a good man in other words alright, he’s an excellent person in character. And because he was such an outstanding governor, that the king wanted to make him maybe, you know, the prime minister. And maybe the other ministers, now he’s the prime or the chief minister kind of things. Anyway, he will be the top man after the king over the whole empire. And that provides the setting for this chapter. And now we’re going to follow the story alright under the three headings that I mentioned alright: the trap, and then the trial, and finally the triumph. Let’s first look at the trap. It says while the king was very happy with Daniel, his colleagues were not so alright. They were not happy with him at all. And why? The reason is because we are told already in verse 3 that Daniel excelled himself.
And that is what we all ought to be you know in our workplaces, wherever we might be as Christians, we ought to be good examples or to excel ourselves, do our best. Whatever we do, the Bible says in Colossians, do it with all your mind “as unto the Lord and not unto men”. And so, Daniel alright did that. But never think that just because you excel, you will distinguish yourself and you would therefore be popular. But that’s not the case with Daniel, and that is often not the case with Christians. You do well, and then people don’t like you because you are doing so well alright. And so, the people here didn’t like Daniel. Maybe particularly the governors and the satraps found Daniel nuisance in their midst alright because he’s such a no-nonsense man alright, and he cannot be bribed and he’s not corrupted.
Now remember that the Middle-Persian empire actually inherited that empire from the Babylonian, and that was a very corrupt empire because if you read chapter 5, you read the corrupt officials. They were just partying away. They were enriching themselves. They were not doing their job alright. They were there in position for themselves. And so that was the kind of thing that this new king has inherited. And so, we find that you know it’s difficult to change corrupt officers alright from the different administrations that come, they’re still as corrupt as ever, but the king wanted a no-nonsense man. And he found that in Daniel. And because these people were not happy with Daniel because of his excellent spirit or his character, and so they had to get rid of him. And so, they tried to find fault with him alright.
And so, they said, we are told in verse 4: “So the governors and satraps sought to find some charge against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find alright any charge or fault”. Why? “Because he was faithful”. Now the meaning there is because is this: that they could not find any charge, any fault with Daniel because he was faithful here, it means he was faithful to his God. In other words, he was such a pious, spiritual person. And therefore, they could not find anything wrong with him. And therefore, they said in verse 5 alright: “Then these men said, “We shall not find any charge against this Daniel unless we find it against him concerning the law of his God.””. So, there’s no way we can find fault with this guy. The only way to attack him is to attack him in the area of his strength alright. That is how they thought alright. And so, this is an area of his strength. In other words, his strength alright is his faithfulness to God. His Christian life is his strength.
You see that? And so, we are going to attack him concerning his Christian life or concerning his walk with God or concerning his obedience to God. That is the area we are going to go after him. And so, they were determined to make his strength alright his downfall. In other words, they’re going to put him in a situation where he must either save his life and lose his godliness or lose his godliness and save his life alright. So this is the option they’re going to put to him. So, save your life and lose your Christian life right, or save your Christian life and save your life (Mistakenly mentioned “save your life”, supposedly “lose your life”). And so, we see in the following verses in verse 6: “So these governors and satraps thronged before the king, and said thus to the king alright: “King Darius, live forever! And all the governors”, they said in verse 7, “all the governors of the kingdom, the administrators and satraps, the counsellors and advisors, have consulted together nonsense”.
Daniel was not there alright, but you see, they were lying to the king. In other words, alright, they were trying to lie to the king and come up with a plan. And so, they say oh, everybody has agreed, “consulted together to establish a royal statute to make a firm decree, that whoever petitions any god or man for thirty days, except you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions. Now, O king”, verse 8, ““establish the decree and sign the writing, so that it cannot be changed, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which does not alter.” So therefore King Darius signed the written decree.”. And so that was the trap alright. They kind of con the king alright into signing this decree that no one should pray to any God for 30 days or else be punished by being thrown into the lion’s den. Now notice what they told the king alright. Now notice that they told the king alright, they finally got the king the outlaw of praying to any god.
Now notice that the law covers all religions. So, say we don’t tell our king said we are focusing on Daniel’s God alright. So, he said, no, no, it’s just any gods alright. No praying to any gods. Now you see the devil’s you know cunningness alright. Now sometimes very often, the attack is not direct. Remember when he attacked Adam, he didn’t attack Adam directly. It’s always an indirect way of going about things. So, we have to be careful about this devil’s tactic. So, he said, oh don’t pray to any gods. Now notice that this law also says only for 30 days. We are not saying to Daniel alright or to anyone, don’t pray, don’t ever go to church forever, but says only for 30 days. And so, it sounds reasonable alright- it sounds reasonable. And therefore, it’s like people saying, oh Daniel come on. What’s the big deal here you know, just don’t pray for a month. Is that too much to ask? See, many Christians cannot understand alright, cannot understand why skipping prayer for 30 days is such a problem.
In fact for many Christians, not praying doesn’t seem to be a problem at all, and that’s what we ought to see here in this story. I’m saying that the amazing thing about this story is not just simply the lion’s den, where Daniel was not consumed. We need to look at the story. Every time we look at an amazing story, we’re going to see what God is saying to us. And that’s amazing about Daniel, something we should learn from him. For Daniel, not praying is a big matter. Can we not see that it’s a big issue to us? Now so what does Daniel think alright? Big deal or no big deal, how would you counsel Daniel? Will you tell Daniel, O Daniel, be sensible. We are not telling you don’t pray at all. It’s just for 30 days only. Or might we telling Daniel: O Daniel, don’t be so fanatical you know. Don’t be so rigid about your Christian life. Then verse 10 tells us what Daniel thinks of this.
So when we come to verse 10. Verse 10: “Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home. In his upper room, and with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, so as was his custom since early days.” Now you will tell Daniel: Daniel, don’t be so fanatical. O Daniel, can’t you be more sensible, reasonable? Just 30 days.
Now Daniel would turn around and tell you: Now let me tell you what I think about prayer. You see in verse 10, he turned, he walked through his room, he opened the window towards Jerusalem, and he prayed. You see, Daniel is not used to giving excuses. Here in verse 10, Daniel is making a statement of what he thinks of prayer. If you are busy and you still pray, you are making a statement about how important prayer is to your life. You are being you know, you see, Daniel could have given excuses like so many people. But no, that is not Daniel alright- that is not Daniel. There is no two ways about it when it comes to his Christian life.
So that leads to the second thing about this story here is that is the trial. So, what happened? So what happened when Daniel remains unmovable alright, remain steadfast? So we are told in the following verses alright what happened to Daniel. Verse 11: “Then these men assembled and found Daniel praying, making supplication before his God. And they went before the king, and spoke concerning the king’s decree, and said: “Have you not signed a decree that every man who petitions any god or man within thirty days, except you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions?””. It’s almost like you know these governors and the satraps, and all these other administrators, they say it’s like got it alright. You know when you set the trap you know for the rats to go in, and one day you open it’s got it you know the rat is eating the cheese alright inside the trap alright.
And so they come and say, they were really, I mean, you can even hear the joy. And so they tell the king: So what are you going to do? Verse 13: “So they answered and said before the king, “That Daniel, who is one of the captives from Judah, does not show due regard for you, O king, or for the decree that you have signed, but makes his petition three times a day.””. So he, that Daniel, you see he’s still the same old Daniel, still there and still praying. Not just once, but three times a day. And so it’s like what you’re going to do with this Daniel? Now we might pause and ask at this point: How is it that this old man, now in his 80s, could stand so firm? Now I think sometimes we have to ask the question when we see people like this alright, people who are so steadfast in their Christian life, we should ask: What makes these people like this? They are like the, you know, the rare breed, is it not? Like people like Daniel, they’re a rare breed.
Now we should see that such qualities do not come suddenly. Suddenly another person becomes very pious alright, becomes very faithful to God. I mean, it doesn’t come suddenly. In fact, we see that all the time in the Bible alright. For Daniel, it is something that he has cultivated that’s with him all his life since young. We see the same quality in him in chapter 1, where we read in verse 8 concerning Daniel. For it says here: “But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself”. Now that was speaking of him as a 14-year-old young man. That is pretty amazing. Now how many young people? Sometimes we think that young people don’t like church. They cannot, you know, we cannot really teach them. Their interest is elsewhere. But no, we don’t see that in the Bible. We see many, many young people in the Bible, and Daniel is one such person that tells us if you are 14 years old, and most of us are above 14, you can be a Christian and a faithful one at that.
And so we read of Daniel, young person, already he has that purpose in his heart to honour God, come what may. You see, it is something in other words cultivated and developed as a habit. And that’s the reason why when you read chapter 6 and verse 10, we read these words that “when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home. And then he went to his upper room, with his windows open to Jerusalem, and he knelt down on his knees three times that day, prayed and gave thanks before his God”. Then it says what? “As was his custom since early days”.
Now it’s so important for us, again you see I often like to speak to parents because if you are dealing with young people, now we have such an influence upon their lives that we must never forget that there’s often this Scripture injunction here for parents to bring our child in the training and instruction of the Lord and that Paul could write to Timothy and reminded him that from young he “have known the Holy Scriptures, which is able to make you wise unto salvation.”. And this is Daniel alright. So that was his custom, his habit since early days since a child. They can be trained. Now young people can be trained, and it will stay with them for life. And so Daniel was taught from young alright to love God. Daniel was trained from young to read his Bible. Daniel was trained from young to pray. Daniel was trained from young to go to church. Daniel alright.
So this did not come suddenly. And so it’s amazing as he went through this trial alright, he could stand or remain so steadfast because of the investment alright people gave when he was young. But notice also in this trial alright that it wasn’t easy. Do not think that it was, you know you read through it and then Daniel just went through that, you know, smoothly alright, easily. No, it wasn’t easy. Think about the struggles Daniel must have gone through at this time because when you read verse 10, it’s almost like Daniel couldn’t, you know, care less. Oh, you know, lion’s den. Oh, nothing. I’ll just go and pray, and then I’ll go to the lion’s den. But no. Now think first of all there is the trap of the lion’s den alright. And don’t think that Daniel you know, he knew that he wouldn’t be eaten up. Just as his three friends earlier on alright, when they weren’t being thrown in the furnace, the fiery furnace, and don’t think that they think they will come out alive.
They might. They knew that God, if want, could save them, but not necessarily so. And so there was the trap of the lion’s den. Then remember, like any human, we are all naturally fearful of pain and of death. Even as Christians, we are fearful of suffering. But also consider the fact that he was about to be promoted. He was not the prime minister yet alright, but the king had thought, was thinking about promoting him, and already his friends were jealous of him. So there was this chance to be promoted alright. So why waste the chance? Alright, that is human for us to think like that alright. Oh, just skip church for one month alright, and then everything will be okay. I’ll be the prime minister, I don’t have to get, you know, be eaten up by the lions. It’s just for a while, just hang on.
And then perhaps he might be thinking: I could still pray, but don’t open your window, you know pray in secret. But we are told that he opened his window. Then perhaps he might also be thinking: I can pray in secret and I don’t have to pray so often, not three times alright. I know every day I pray three times, but now in this difficult time, maybe I pray only once. Now there are people who think like this. Why should or why must Christianity be so demanding? Why must the cost of discipleship be so high? Can not I compromise a little bit? For Daniel, there was no compromise alright- there was no compromise. And so that was a trial he went through alright- that was a trial he went through. And then what happened? Well, we read in verse 15: “Then these men approached the king, and said to the king, “Know, O king, that it is the law of the Medes and Persians that no decree or statute which the king establishes may be changed.””. So it is fixed.
Verse 16: “So the king gave the command, and they brought Daniel and cast him into the den of lions. But the king spoke to Daniel, “Your God, whom you serve continually, He will deliver you.” And then a stone was brought and laid on the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the signets of his lords, that the purpose concerning Daniel might not be changed.”. And so that was the trial alright of Daniel. So, he was trapped and he went through this and he was cast into the lion’s den.
And then we come to the third alright, the final part of this story, and that is the triumph. The triumph. So the question at this point is: So what is Daniel going to do? Is he going to die? What is going to happen to him? Is he going to die? Are we seeing the last of Daniel? Of course, as we read this story, you know you haven’t read it before, maybe those were the questions that might go through your mind. Let’s find out alright. Let us find out from verse 18 onwards. So verse 18: “Now the king went to his palace and spent the night fasting; and no musicians were brought before him. Also his sleep went from him.”. In other words, the king was sleepless. He couldn’t sleep that night. But Daniel, I suppose, was sleeping alright soundly.
And then verse 19: “Then the king arose very early” alright in the next morning or “in the morning and went in haste to the den of lions”. So he woke up. Maybe he didn’t wake up alright- he didn’t wake up. He probably didn’t sleep alright, but he just rose early in the morning and rushed to the den of lions. And then what? Verse 20: “And when he came to the den, he cried out with a lamenting voice to Daniel. The king spoke, saying to Daniel.”. Daniel! Now the king called out to Daniel. I wonder what kind of response the king was expecting. What do you think? Maybe “grrrr”, or maybe “yum yum” alright. Well, he was in the lion’s den, what do you expect? But read on alright. Verse 21: “Then Daniel said to the king, “O king, live forever! My God sent His angel and shut the lions’ mouths, so that they have not hurt me, because I was found innocent before Him; and also, O king, I have done no wrong before you.”.
Now the king was exceedingly glad for him, and commanded that they should take Daniel up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no injury whatever was found on him, because he believed in his God.”. Now that is a triumph alright. And the king came, he called out, and Daniel actually answered. And Daniel told him that no harm came upon him. The lion didn’t even touch him alright- didn’t even touch him, and he came out alive. Now that is really amazing alright- that is really amazing about this story about Daniel. He came out alive and unharmed.
Now let me now draw some lessons alright- draw some lessons from this story here. And the first is this: now Daniel points to the Lord Jesus Christ, just as many characters in the Old Testament points to the Lord Jesus Christ like Joseph and Moses and David. And so also we see Daniel in that just as they could find no fault with Daniel, they found no fault with the Lord Jesus Christ. Now just as Daniel was perfectly, in a sense alright, as far as we can tell here, he was obedient to God, Jesus was even more alright. Just as Daniel was obedient to God, Jesus was even more alright. Jesus obeys God alright perfectly. Just as they scheme to put Daniel to death, and so we find that they too scheme to put our Lord to death. And just as they cast Daniel into the den and let him for days, so also they cast our Lord into the cave alright, into the tomb and left him for days. And just as Daniel emerged alive, and so also our Lord Jesus Christ emerged from the tomb alive. Daniel points us to the Lord Jesus Christ.
But Daniel, secondly, encourages the Jews in exile. Remember he was living in exile. He encouraged the Jews in exile, those who were taken captives by their enemies. And Daniel here, his deliverance, his story assures the exiles that God too will deliver them and bring them into the Promised Land. God will deliver His people from their enemies and bring them back to the Promised Land. In other words, Daniel here teaches the doctrine of the preservation of the saints. God will preserve us to the end.
And then thirdly, Jesus’ fulfilment of Daniel, therefore, encourages the Christians. Just as Daniel encourages the exile, now Jesus encourages the Christians. We are in exile today. In what way Jesus encourages us? We look at First Corinthians chapter 15. First Corinthians chapter 15, and reading from verse 20. Now Paul wrote these words to encourage the Corinthians. He said: “But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. But each one to his own order: Christ the firstfruits, now afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming.”. So here Jesus, because He is risen, now He encourages us that one day we shall all be resurrected and be with Him forever.
Now fourthly, what about the ungodly? What about the wicked? What about those who do not believe in the Lord Jesus Christ? What would happen to them? Now Daniel’s story also teaches us in Daniel 6:24- “Then the king gave the command, and they brought those men who had accused Daniel, and they cast them into the den of lions—them, their children, and their wives; and the lions overpowered them, and broke all their bones in pieces before they ever came to the bottom of the den.”. Now, this is a horrific scene because after Daniel was taken out from the den of lions, the wicked, those who plot his death, they were thrown into the lion’s den, and they were devoured by the lions- them, their wives, their children, every one of them. We underscore the terror of the greater den. God will throw the wicked into the horrible place, where they shall be destroyed.
Now I want to encourage you who are Christians that we shall be preserved. Like Daniel, we will go through trials in this life, but we shall be preserved to the end. But I want to urge you who are yet unbelieving alright, you have not come to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. What a wonderful thing it is to be His people, to be preserved by God; but what a terrible thing it is to be His enemies, those who skim and plot His death one day shall suffer the same fate as the people here we read in verse 24. And God in His wrath shall consume everyone who does not come to Him in repentance and faith. And let us pray.
“Now Father in heaven, we thank You again for Your Word. We thank You for faithful men and women that we read about in the Holy Scriptures. We know that they are for our instructions. And Lord we, therefore, pray this morning that You’ll help us to see in Daniel such a great example for us, a man who does not compromise concerning his walk with You, but one who trusts in You as he lives out his life as a believer, as he remains faithful to You, mindful that indeed it is You who will preserve us to the end. And we pray, therefore You’ll help us to walk in confidence and be encouraged by this truth. We pray also for those who are yet outside Your kingdom, Lord, that they may also see this truth, that they are to come to You and submit to You lest they be consumed by Your anger, for this, we pray in Jesus’ name, Amen.”
This transcript has been lightly edited for readability.