The Dens of Daniel

Daniel survived the den of lions because he first built up his confidence in God's word in another den: Daniel's daily place of prayer

Sermon Notes:

1.Chapter 5 ends with the regime change to Darius the Mede; there is evidence that this is actually another name for Cyrus the Persian.

2.The historical record speaks of Cyrus the Persian taking the throne from his grandfather in a coup among the Medeo-Persian empire in 550 BC.

3.Daniel would have been keenly interested in the events of the Medeo-Persian conflict, because he would be familiar with the prophecies of Isaiah that refer to Cyrus by name (cf. Isa. 44-45).

4.Daniel has great expectations of Cyrus, that he will release the Jews to rebuild Jerusalem.

5.In Isaiah, God calls Cyrus His shepherd, and His anointed, who will fulfill God’s purposes.

6.Remember, God sent the Israelites into exile in order to internationalize true worship of the true God.

7.The deceiving of Darius: the king likely already knew of Daniel on account of diplomatic relations between Babylon and Medea-Persia. He recognizes Daniel’s excellent spirit, and does not execute him along with the other Babylonian high officials.

8.Daniel is again on track for promotion, and is singled out by envious subordinates.

9.Darius is deceived into signing an edict that he thinks will help consolidate worship in his new empire.

10.This edict highlights the pagan understanding of law and religion. It cannot be broken because it is said to come from the priest-king, who is law incarnate.

11.Every social order has a “voice of law,” the source of sovereignty and ultimate allegiance.

12.The edict was also an attack on Darius as God’s chosen instrument to free His people.

13.Daniel’s upper den: Daniel believes what we all should as Christians, that there is a higher law and sovereign than the state.

14.Daniel is in the habit of prayer, going back and forth between his house and his workplace no matter how busy he is in his affairs of state.

15.His windows were open, and facing toward Jerusalem (v. 10). By this we shouldn’t infer that he thought that God was resident in Jerusalem, but that he was praying for Jerusalem and for God’s people.

16.Daniel’s enemies knew that his faith would be his vulnerable point with regard to the edict.

  1. Daniel was a teenager when he was brought to Babylon, and at the time of this story he is around 80 years old. He was able to stand firm at 80 because he made the choice to walk faithfully since he was 18.

18.Daniel’s difficulty and decision: Daniel didn’t give the edict a second thought, but went on in faithfulness. Any law that goes against God must, ipso facto, be null and void, and it is our duty to disobey it.

19.Daniel’s den of deliverance: Daniel did not escape the sentence of the edict even though Darius, realizing he had been tricked, spends all day trying to find a way out for Daniel (v.14).

20.Contrary to Nebuchadnezzar and the fiery furnace, Darius prays that God would deliver Daniel. Darius knew whose God was supreme, but needed to learn whose law was supreme.

21.In a sense, Darius is participating in Daniel’s tribulation. With Daniel gone, his calling to free the exiles is under threat.

22.The stone rolled in front of the den is a foreshadowing of Christ’s crucifixion and burial (v. 17).

23.Royal zoos with dangerous and exotic animals were common among monarchs, an Adamic symbol of dominion over the animals.

24.As in the fiery furnace, the angel of the Lord, the pre-incarnate Son of God, also called the last Adam, is with Daniel, exercising true dominion over the lions (v. 22).

Application Questions:

  1. Are we in such a habit of prayer that we would be known for it?
  2. Have you been tempted to compromise your Christian testimony at work, among your family, or anywhere else, in the name of survival, expediency, or your own usefulness?
  3. Faithfulness and faithlessness are habit-forming. How do you need to live faithfully today, in order to stand firm when push comes to shove?