17 A stone slab was placed over the opening of the den. The king sealed the cover with his signet ring and the signet rings of all his nobles, fixing Daniel’s fate.
18 The king then went back to his palace. He refused supper. He couldn’t sleep. He spent the night fasting.
19-20 At daybreak the king got up and hurried to the lions’ den. As he approached the den, he called out anxiously, “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve so loyally, saved you from the lions?”
21-22 “O king, live forever!” said Daniel. “My God sent his angel, who closed the mouths of the lions so that they would not hurt me. I’ve been found innocent before God and also before you, O king. I’ve done nothing to harm you.”
Daniel 6: 17-22 The Message
Many people are familiar with the basic story of Daniel in the Lion’s Den. A relatively young man, Daniel is forced to spend the night in a den filled with man-eating lions. Almost everyone expected him to die, but God saved him. It was a miracle!
Yet the story almost functions as a “teaser” for the resurrection of our Lord. There are some parallels between the two stories, despite the fact that they are from from different time periods, and even different testaments. Here are a few:
Daniel is sealed into the Lion’s den when a stone is placed over the opening. Jesus’ tomb is sealed in much the same way.
Another similarity is that both Daniel and Jesus are framed by dubious charges. Many of us know how the chief priests and the Pharisees wanted to get rid of Jesus, and so they concocted some phony charges. Then, they had Jesus hauled before Pilate.
In a similar way, Daniel’s considerable talent, despite his relatively young age, made him a target. His accusers tricked the king into signing a decree prohibiting everyone from praying to anyone but him. Daniel continued to pray to God three times a day, and then was arrested.
Yet the biggest similarity between the two stories is the miracle associated with them. An angel kept the lions from devouring poor Daniel. In a similar way, although Jesus died on the cross, God protected Jesus. On Sunday morning, death itself was defeated by Christ’s resurrection. Through the resurrection, our Lord gave us the path to eternal life.
How does the story end? In this way…
23 When the king heard these words, he was happy. He ordered Daniel taken up out of the den. When he was hauled up, there wasn’t a scratch on him. He had trusted his God.
Daniel 6: 23 The Message
May we all trust our Lord as much as Daniel did. What an example of trusting in God!
God of miracles,
Sometimes we find ourselves in impossibly difficult situations, which seem hopeless. When that happens, remind us to turn to You. Bring to mind the biblical stories of the way You continually rescued Your people, including Daniel. Rather than cowering in fear, may we trust in You. You will surely deliverance us from whatever we face. We pray this prayer in the name of the One resurrected from death to life, Jesus Christ. Amen.