16 So at last the king gave orders for Daniel to be arrested and thrown into the den of lions. The king said to him, “May your God, whom you serve so faithfully, rescue you.” 17 A stone was brought and placed over the mouth of the den. The king sealed the stone with his own royal seal and the seals of his nobles, so that no one could rescue Daniel. 18 Then the king returned to his palace and spent the night fasting. He refused his usual entertainment and couldn’t sleep at all that night. 19 Very early the next morning, the king got up and hurried out to the lions’ den. 20 When he got there, he called out in anguish, “Daniel, servant of the living God! Was your God, whom you serve so faithfully, able to rescue you from the lions?” 21 Daniel answered, “Long live the king! 22 My God sent his angel to shut the lions’ mouths so that they would not hurt me, for I have been found innocent in his sight. And I have not wronged you, Your Majesty.” 23 The king was overjoyed and ordered that Daniel be lifted from the den. Not a scratch was found on him, for he had trusted in his God.
We want to grow in our relationship with God but are we willing to become uncomfortable to do that? Sooner or later we are confronted with the reality of own limitations, humanly speaking, Daniel’s situation was without hope. Verse 16 tells us that he had just been thrown into the lions’ den and there were three limiting factors that made for a humanly impossible situation.
- The first limiting factor was the law of that day (referred to in verse 15 as the law of the Medes and Persians.) This law dictated that a king’s decree could never be revoked—not even by the king himself.
- The second limiting factor was the stone referred to in verse 17. This large stone was placed over the mouth of the den to ensure that there was no physical way for Daniel to escape
- The third limiting factor facing Daniel was the placement of the royal seals on the secured den. Verse 17 tells us that “the king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the rings of his nobles, so that no one could rescue Daniel” The king and his nobles took moist clay and sealed it over the stone, pressing their signet rings into the clay so that if someone did try to save Daniel, they would first have to break the seals, which would have brought upon them the decree of their own execution
Every precaution was taken to make sure that the deliverance of Daniel was humanly impossible; no one could rescue him not even the king! Daniel’s close relationship with the king didn’t make any difference now. In verse 16b we read that the king said to Daniel, “May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!” That is quite a statement. Because of how Daniel lived his life the King knew about this God Daniel constantly served, your time alone with God will show.
Some of you feel like you are facing personal impossibilities and you are on the verge of giving up. For some of you it’s an employment issue, for some it’s an ongoing financial problem, for others it’s relational, you’ve almost given up on your marriage. In spite of all you have done, things just are not improving in fact they seem to be getting worse. For some it’s your kids, for some it’s a health problem or a recurring sin or addiction that you wonder if you will ever be able to conquer. No matter what you do, there just seems to be no way out. No hope for change. Whatever lion’s den you may find yourself in, now or in the future, sooner or later you must come face to face with your human limitations. To face all our human limitations seems counterproductive and defeating! The truth is that it is the most spiritually productive place you could ever be! You see God meets you in the lion’s den because he loves you. It’s only as we come to the end of ourselves that we will be able to taste the joys of truly knowing his presence and power in our life. It is only in dying to yourself that you can come alive to God. None of us like the lion’s den but it’s where we come face to face with God, where He leads us into deeper levels of dependence on Him as we wait for deliverance.
We don’t know what exactly happened in the den, all we are told is that the lion’s mouths were shut and Daniel was saved. The Lord takes great pleasure in taking the most difficult situations in life, those that seem humanly impossible to us, and using those impossibilities as a way of increasing our faith in his unlimited capability. Daniel chose time alone with God, he chose character over comfort, what will you choose?