The Bible passage for meditation, prayer, and reflection, for the week of August 6-12, 2017, is Daniel 6:6-18. This week’s reading is, no doubt, a familiar story. Daniel and the Lion’s Den! Perhaps it was one of your favorites in Sunday school, or perhaps your children enjoyed it as you read it to them. Even as an adult, valuable lessons can still be gleaned from this childhood story.
Then these high officials and satraps came by agreement to the king and said to him, “O King Darius, live forever! All the high officials of the kingdom, the prefects and the satraps, the counselors and the governors are agreed that the king should establish an ordinance and enforce an injunction, that whoever makes petition to any god or man for thirty days, except to you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions. Now, O king, establish the injunction and sign the document, so that it cannot be changed, according to the law of the Medes and the Persians, which cannot be revoked.” Therefore King Darius signed the document and injunction.
When Daniel knew that the document had been signed, he went to his house where he had windows in his upper chamber open toward Jerusalem. He got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously. Then these men came by agreement and found Daniel making petition and plea before his God. Then they came near and said before the king, concerning the injunction, “O king! Did you not sign an injunction, that anyone who makes petition to any god or man within thirty days except to you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions?” The king answered and said, “The thing stands fast, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be revoked.” Then they answered and said before the king, “Daniel, who is one of the exiles from Judah, pays no attention to you, O king, or the injunction you have signed, but makes his petition three times a day.”
Then the king, when he heard these words, was much distressed and set his mind to deliver Daniel. And he labored till the sun went down to rescue him. Then these men came by agreement to the king and said to the king, “Know, O king, that it is a law of the Medes and Persians that no injunction or ordinance that the king establishes can be changed.”
Then the king commanded, and Daniel was brought and cast into the den of lions. The king declared to Daniel, “May your God, whom you serve continually, deliver you!” And a stone was brought and laid on the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet and with the signet of his lords, that nothing might be changed concerning Daniel. Then the king went to his palace and spent the night fasting; no diversions were brought to him, and sleep fled from him. (Daniel 6:6-18, ESV)
Often the emphasis of this story is placed on Daniel - his unwavering faith in the Lord, his refusal to cease his public worshipping of the Lord, his reward for faithful worship - but this week, look at Darius, the king. Every Christian wants to have a faith like Daniel, but all too often we behave like Darius. Darius allowed himself to be manipulated, though flattery, ego boosting, and pride, into attempting to kill a man he respected and considered a friend because others were jealous. Have you ever been manipulated into doing something you know is wrong? Mediate on, pray over, and reflect carefully upon this week’s verse and how it applies to your life.