DANIEL IN THE LIONS DEN
Before telling you of Daniel in the Lions den let me just repeat my family tree.
Darius the Mede is my new throne name. My previous throne name was Cyaxares II the Mede, by which I was called in Ecbatana, the Capital of the Median Empire.
I was the last Median king who ruled from Ecbatana our capital.
When my father Astyages was still alive he gave my sister Mandane to marry the Persian king of Anshan. They had a son which they called Cyrus. By the way my father was also known as Ahasuserus.
At times Cyrus and his mother Mandane used to visit us at Ecbatana. This is how I got acqauinted with this very exceptional nephew of mine.
When he matured I used him at times as a general in my Median army. He was such an unselfish person. When there was spoil to be divided he made sure that the troop under his care were not neglected. He was more than just an ordinary person. He was extraordinary in kindness and in unselfishness.
PROPHECY OF CYRUS AS A TYPE OF THE COMING MESSIAH
Daniel told me that one of their prophets calle Isaiah prophecied that Cyrus would be a shepherd, an anointed and a deliverer. He also showed me from his holy book that Cyrus would set the Jewish captive free and allow them to return to their country. Cyrus my nepheh would pay for their long journey to Israel and support the building of them temple.
Daniel also explained to me that the deliverance of the Jews is a type of a greater deliverance by the future Messiah of Jews who would deliver us from the exile of pain and guilt and death when He should come some day after 2300 years in the future.
Why do you think the 127 vassal kings and the two other ministers delike Daniel. They could not fault him. There was not one shady transaction that he did not pick up.
So one day a selected group of my top asministrators came to me with a suggestion.
“O king Darius. Long live our king. We are speaking on behalf of all your 127 Satraps, vassal kings of your kingdom. We request that you pass a law that forbids everybody in our Empire to pray to any person of god for the next 30 days.”
Their is a saying that says flattery will bring you nowhere. But in this case flattery did bring us all somewhere.
My sinful self was so flattered and their compliments so sweet as honey that I signed the law. Worshipping a ruler in our days was not a strange phenomenon and now I also got the honour of an entire nation to pray to me for 30 days.
My trusted aministrator Daniel knew exactly what was going on. They could not fault him on his work and now they tried to fault him on his religious beliefs.
So Daniel did not pray to his God in secret, he prayed as he used to do. He wanted to show his enemies that worshipping God was more important than life itself.
You know I appreciate the principles of my top adviser and administrator. He is not a hypocrite he is transparent.
Not long after this decree was published the vassal kings came to me and reported Daniel’s disobedience to me.
“Your majesty, the god we worship during this period of 30 days, we have shocking news: Daniel, who is one of the exiles from Judah, pays no attention to you, Your Majesty, or to the decree you put in writing. He still prays three times a day.”
I cannot tell you how shocked and discusted I was. I realised that this decree was not to honour me but the get rid of my top executive Daniel.
CHANGE THE LAW
I tried the change the law but they held me to the letter of the law that says once a law was made it cannot be altered.
It was the saddest day of my life when I attended Daniel to the lions, den. But Daniel was such an amazing man he told me not to be disturbed. He told me how his three companions were cast in a fire furnace and the God of Israel saved them from sudden death.
I really had no words to comfort Daniel. All I said to him before his execution was:
“Your God, whom you serve continually, He will deliver you.”
COULD NOT SLEEP
That night was the longest night in my life. Not for one moment could I fall asleep. The immuculate life of the man of God was coninuously before me.
And then for the first time I prayed. Not to Ahura Mazda but to the God of Daniel. I asked Him to protect my dear friend Daniel.
While everybody in the palace were still sleeping I got up and went to the Lions’ den. My heart was pounding. Did Daniel’s God hear my prayer.
“Daniel my dear friend, servant of the living God” I shouted with tears flowing down my face. And then I choked. After I while I regained my compuser. “Has your God whom you serve continually, been able to deliver you from the lions? Daniel, Daniel. Do you hear me?”
And then I heard the familiar voice of this man of God:
“King Darius. Live for ever. 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.”
Seconds later I embraced him. I examined him. Not a scratch on that old body.
Guess what happened to those who sought to kill him.
As we walked back to the palace we could hear the roar of the lions and screams of Daniel’s enemies.
And then my dear friend Daniel told me something that I feel compelled to tell you. And remember was a prophet who predicted what would happen at the end of our wicked world.
“King Darius,” he said,”what happened to me, would be repeated at the end of time. The enemies of God’s people who would endeavour to kill them, would fail. And instead of God’s faithfull servants die, they will die.”
I made an appeal to all the people in my kingdom. And the same appeal I want to make to you.
I began with the words “Peace by multiplied to you.”
And then I appealed to them to worship the God of Daniel because He is the living God who saves people who cry unto Him.
Today I invite you to accept the God of Daniel as your Saviour because only He has the power to save you.