As verse 14 reveals Darius was greatly displeased with himself for being so gullible. Darius, greatly respected Daniel and knew that these men had done him a great injustice. Instead of honoring Darius, these scheming petty officials had played him for a fool. Daniel as a great administrator and the king did not want to lose him. For the rest of the day, Darius labored to try and save Daniel, but to no avail. Darius, too was troubled by this cunning plot that had sealed Daniel’s fate. The evil men who had contrived the plot boldly reminded the king that he could not change or withdraw this law once it had been signed. The king as well has his subjects were bound by the law, so having no choice. So Darius ordered Daniel brought to him and cast into a pit filled with vicious hungry lions.
The lion’s den was a cave in the ground which had a small opening with high walls so the lions could not escape. These lions were kept as instruments of capitol punishment. Murders, thieves, law breakers who were sentenced to death were cast in to this cave to be devoured by lions. The lion were probably not well feed and when someone was cast down among them they would all rush upon the condemned person and each lion trying to fulfill his hunger would tear the victim to pieces. Darius then has a stone placed over the entrance and he sealed it with his seal, as did the other satraps that were all there. This seal was made of wax and was king’s official seal carved on a ring. Once the entrance was sealed anyone breaking the seal would be killed.
It is interesting that as Daniel is regretfully cast among the lion, the king says, “Thy God whom thou servest continually, he will deliver thee.” That is quite a statement for a pagan king to make. Note the king states Daniel served the Lord “continually.” Daniel’s testimony was well established which was the reason the plot against him was foolproof. Daniel lived his life for the Lord and everyone knew it. Darius too, recognized where Daniel’s character came from. His statement shows a tremendous faith in Daniel’s God. He knew of the greatness of God, because of Daniel’s devotion and service to Him. He also knew that Daniel had gone to prayer, determined that even in the face of a horrible death, he would honor God.
Daniel was a man the same as you and I. He was no different and had not been given any spiritual ability to serve the Lord greater than any of us has. What made the difference was his love of God and personally commitment to Him. There is not one of us who could not live as Daniel did and could not trust God as Daniel did. He put aside all personal ambition and made the Lord first in his life, and in doing so gained reward beyond our ability even to understand. He was respected by honorable men, promoted to positions of service and leadership to others. Most of all Daniel was a credit to God and by his life he glorified God and upheld God’s truth.
Darius appears to be deeply grieved by the treachery of his satraps and the danger Daniel was in. The king could not sleep all that night, nor did he eat or allowed the musicians to play their instruments. All this reveals something about Darius. He was too was a man of character. It greatly upset him that this great injustice that had been done against Daniel who was an innocent and godly man. I also probably angered him that these plotters had cunningly undermined his authority and choice in appointing Daniel as his administrator.
Early in the morning the king arose from his bed and sleepless night and hurried to the lion’s den. When people were thrown to hungry these lions they did not live. We can confidently say. . . no one had escaped the lion’s den, yet still Darius expressed hope. It is well for us to realize however that with Daniel there was a glimmer of hope….that hope was the great and Almighty God Daniel served would save him. On reaching the den Darius with a “lamentable” voice called to Daniel. The kings voice showed the great concern he had for Daniel and with great emotion, his voice trembling, hoping against any reason for hope he calls out to Daniel. “O Daniel, servant of the living God, is thy God, whom thou servest continually, able to deliver thee from the lions?”
Can you imagine the joy and relief that flooded over Darius as he heard Daniel reply “O king, live for ever. My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions’ mouths, that they have not hurt me: forasmuch as before him innocency was found in me; and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt” (Daniel 6:21-22).
How many times, has a persecuted and betrayed child of God, been saved when God sent his angel to protect him from the lion’s of the world? Satan and his evil forces seek constantly to destroy those who live for the Lord, but we have God’s promise, as Hebrews 13:5 says, “. . .I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” If we trust the Lord we will live by that principle and we will be found faithful.
Can you think for a moment about what many have lost at not being faithful. To some family, children, a job, hobbies, a home, and a thousand other things are more important to them than being faithful to the Lord. The test comes not as dynamic as was Daniel’s, but just as critical and important. Many people in the crisis show their lack of faith. At a restaurant in a public place some are ashamed to pray. Spouses with unsaved wives and husbands so not pray at meals at home. On the job, people hide their being a Christian afraid of offending or subjecting themselves to ridicule. Many refuse to witness to others because they feel it is too embarrassing.
Some time again your author got a letter from a pastor who told me of a man who was a deacon in his church. He said they had a revival meeting and the evangelist preached a message on having an unashamed commitment to the Lord. This man who have been saved over twenty years and a long time deacon in his church got up and confessed later to the congregation that no one in the factory where he worked all these years knew he was a Christian. But he said that had all changed and he was now telling people when the opportunity came that he was a Christian and was telling people about the Lord Jesus. He said what a wonderful change had come over his life since he stood up and ceased to be ashamed of the Lord Jesus and that he was a child of God.
We will not be cast into a lion’s den, but the world around us is full of intimidating vicious lions who will rail on us with their mouths and abuse us personally when we take a stand for the Lord Jesus. One reason the local church should be so important to us is because among other believers there is security and can be great comfort.