One of the more popular stories in the Bible is Daniel and the lions den. It's a story of jealousy, deceit, integrity, conviction and faith in the midst of adversity. Daniel was trusted by King Darius. He was proven to be trusted as a young man as he interpreted the dreams of King Nebuchadnezzar. Daniel remained a trusted confidant of the King because of his prophetic dream and vision abilities; enough so to be in line to be over the entire empire. Daniel was trusted along with the Kings officials that became jealous of him and his standing with the King. Most likely because he was a Jewish captive and he was in line to be given what they thought they deserved to have as Persians.
This story resonates with many due to it's examination of human nature. How often to we get jealous of another person because they receive something we feel we deserve ? We feel wronged because somehow our social status, achievements or time invested gives us a sense of entitlement. That mindset is dangerous and becomes quickly destructive. How do we respond? How would you respond? Would you congratulate this person and serve them in support or would you think of a way to remove them from what you feel is rightfully yours?
The kings other officials responded by attacking Daniel's core; his faith in God that they knew was strong. They went right for his heart and his communication to the God he served. They tried to attack him through religion not realizing faith and religion are not the same. They conspired and thought of a way to create a law that prohibited anyone from praying to anyone other than the King.
Those who didn't comply would be punished by being thrown into a den of ravenous lions. Unaware of the sinister plan, King Darius signed the law in to place under the deception of his own officials.
Daniel broke the law. However it was a law that went against God's authority and forced people to pray to other God's. So what should Daniel have done? What would you do? Should Daniel save his life by following the law or staying faithful to the Lord and trusting God no matter what the outcome? I'm led to believe that the fate of his friends in the fiery furnace was an example that Daniel's may have used to overcome this obstacle.
Daniel was an innocent man sentenced to die because he chose to obey God rather than man. Many innocent people are dying all over the world for the same reason today. They refuse to abandon their faith by bowing down to the enemy. Officials in this country have made laws that force people to choose between their faith and serving the desires of man and the punishment is being thrown into the lions den of financial ruin, social exile and rejection by those once closest to them.
It's important to remember that Daniel was saved by faith; not by religion or the King's remorse. If you've read or heard the story before, you might realize, that the corrupt officials ended up paying with their lives. They received the penalty they wanted Daniel to receive. One of the morals of the story is that people can try to attack someone's faith all they want. They can try and deny prayer all they want, but in the end, no one can remove you from God's hand. Stand strong and serve the Lord no matter what. Those that trust in the Lord like Daniel in the end will be saved through FAITH; not by being religious. Those that reject the Lord and serve their own desires will face far worse than a lions den.