January 23, 2012
Daniel 6:16 – 18
Then the king commanded, and they brought Daniel, and cast him into the den of lions. Now the king spake and said unto Daniel, Thy God who thou servest continually, he will deliver thee.
And a stone was brought, and laid upon the mouth of the den; and the king sealed it with his own signet, and with the signet of his lords; that the purpose might not be changed concerning Daniel.
Then the king went to his palace, and passed the night fasting, neither were instruments of music brought before him; and sleep went from him.
Darius found himself between a rock and a hard place. He had to do the deed, and Daniel was brought to what all assumed would be his imminent death. But note what the king said in verse 16, “Thy God whom thou servest continually, he will deliver thee.” What a vote of confidence for Daniel. Darius was rooting for his friend Daniel and was praying that his God would see him through the disastrous ordeal. But would it be enough to spare Daniel the pain and physical destruction of his body?
Many people have asked me, “Why did Darius use a lion’s den when the fiery furnace was still in existence?” This is because the Babylonians-the former rulers-made it their practice to use a furnace as the primary vehicle to execute dissidents and enemies, as they’d attempted to do with the three Hebrew children. But now, under a new administration-the Medes and the Persians-this was not the appropriate means of execution. Here’s the reason.
The Medes and the Persians gave their allegiance to a religion called Zoroastrianism, and they worshipped the fire god, Atar. For them to use fire to execute their enemies would be to desecrate their teachings, putting them on the verge of religious sacrilege. Their alternative to fire was a large den of ravenously hungry lions, not the cage of sleepy beasts we might see lying about when we visit the lion section of a local zoo. This lion’s den was an immense square cavern carved out of the ground to about the size of a large home. In the middle of the cavern was a partition with doors.
From above, the workers could manipulate the doors to make them open and close. When they wanted to clean the den, they would jump down on the one side in safety because the lions were held back by the partition. When they wanted to throw raw meat-or their screaming enemies-to the hungry beasts, they would do just the opposite. Now, it was Daniel’s turn to be lowered to the floor of the cavern below. The lions were hungry, pawing at the partition, ready to eat whatever would be placed on the other side of the door. We can only surmise what was in Daniel’s mind as he waited for the panel to open.
With the stone on the den now firmly in place-sealed by the king and then again by his officials-the drama was ready to unfold. Apparently Darius did not choose to see what he feared might be the inevitable. Instead, he returned to his palace where he spent yet another sleepless night. The usual dancing girls, animated orchestra, rich foods, and night of revelry were canceled. Instead, Darius fasted-praying, in his own way, for the God of the Hebrews to put His cloak of protection around his friend.
I’m OK, O King.
Daniel 6:19 – 23
Then the king arose very early in the morning, and went in hast unto the den of lions.
And when he came to the den, he cried with a lamentable voice unto Daniel; and the king spake and said to Daniel, O Daniel, servant of the living God, is thy God, whom thou servest continually, able to deliver thee from the lions?
Then said Daniel unto the king, O king, live forever.
My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions’ mouth, that they have not hurt me: foreasmuch as before him innocency was found in me; and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt.
Then was the king exceeding glad for him, and commanded that they should take Daniel up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no manner of hurt was found upon him, because he believed in his God.
Perhaps you’ve had a loved one who was sent to the hospital emergency ward. You prayed all night for his or her recovery. But you’ve received no word. All night you wondered, worried, and prayed for the one you loved. Then, early the next morning, you jumped into your car and rushed to the hospital to check on the person for whom you cared so much.
Well, that’s how Darius must have felt when he rose from his bed at the breaking of dawn the next morning. He didn’t stay around for his usual bath or breakfast, or to be waited on by his servants. He had only one objective: to go to the lion’s den and check on the condition of his friend. I can almost feel his heavy breathing as he made the trek from his sleeping chamber to the large cavern where the lions were kept. Would Daniel be alive? Or would there only be a few scraps of bones?
When he arrived at the den, his voice cracked and trembled as he cried out, “Daniel, O Daniel, servant of the living God, is thy God, whom thou servest continually, able to deliver thee from the lions?” The time between the king’s cry and Daniel’s response must have seemed like an eternity to Darius. Then, the king heard what he wanted to hear-what any friend wants to hear about a friend in trouble-that he was all right. The score was:
It’s no accident that the writer of the Book of Hebrews would later write about this victorious deliverance when he stated: “Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions” (Hebrews 11:33). God had indeed paralyzed the mouths of what may have been as many as two hundred hungry lions, and Daniel’s life was spared. Picture the scene: A king and his friend are reunited, as Daniel is pulled back up through the opening in the cavern. The prayers of both men were heard as God again venerated Daniel’s loyalty, faith, and allegiance.
Keep the Lions Handy – and Hungry
And the king commanded, and they brought those men which had accused Daniel, and they cast them into the den of lions, them, their children, and their wives; and the lions had the mastery of them, and brake their bones in pieces or ever they came at the bottom of the den.
The wheels of justice moved swiftly that day as the king commanded that all 120 princes, two presidents, and their families be rounded up and brought to the cavern. The law of the Medes and Persians stated that whatever punishment was meted out to a leader, his family would also experience. So if we consider an average family of the day to be four persons, there could have been as many as five hundred individuals dropped through the ceiling into the lion’s den, where the beasts-thwarted from having a good meal the night before- ripped their prey to shreds. Some, in fact, were killed mid-air since the verse says,
“the lions had the mastery of them, and brake all their bones in pieces or ever they came at the bottom of the den” (6:24).
No more would Darius be subjected to their jealousy and rage. The punishment they’d designed for Daniel was now their own undoing. By also killing his leaders’ families, the king had eliminated the possibility of reprisals, and even potential assassination attempts on himself.
These were not toothless lions as some have suggested. They were the same beasts that had simply skipped a meal to be used to destroy the jealousy-filled conspirators against God’s prophet. The message of this passage? Be careful not to attack the prophets of God-God’s duly ordained ministers. Psalm 105:15 says,
“Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm.”
It is your duty and mine to obey God, and to give honor and respect to those who declare the word of truth. Some of today’s “lions” waiting to devour God’s servants may not be of the four-legged variety, but they, too, will surely pay the price if they demonstrate by their actions that they are failing to live in obedience to God’s warning about His servants.
A New Proclamation Is Issued
Daniel 6:25 – 28
Then king Darius wrote unto all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth; Peace be multiplied unto you.
I make a decree, That in every dominion of my kingdom men tremble and fear before the God of Daniel: for he is the living God, and stedfast for ever, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed, and his dominion shall be even unto the end.
He delivereth and rescueth, and he worketh signs and wonders in heaven and in earth, who hath delivered Daniel from the power of the lions.
So this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius, and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian.
Zoroaster and Atar, the god of fire, could not do the job. The lions couldn’t do what the enemy had set them up to do.
Treachery born of avarice had not won the day. It was the living God who again stepped in and reminded the Gentile establishment that enough was enough. I’ve always wondered why Darius did not fall on his knees and get converted right there on the spot. Perhaps he did, and we just do not have the written account. But I have a sneaking suspicion that as he made his decree for all his subjects to serve Daniel’s God, in his heart he may have said, “My beloved Daniel, I want your God. I want a God in my life who can paralyze the mouths of two hundred hungry lions. I want a God to do what Zoroaster and Atar cannot do. I want a God who is faithful and true, and not subject to human whim.
Have you ever been there? Where all your best laid plans, investments, manipulation of people and events have simply not given you what you really wanted from life? I’m sure we’ve all had those experiences. That’s why we must remember that there comes a time when only the Holy Spirit can do the job. Jesus said, in John 6:44,
“No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him.”
This is one of the key messages of this chapter. You see, this is more than simply a story about Daniel in a den of hungry lions. It’s a narrative of God’s enormous power, great love, compassionate mercy, overwhelming friendship, and the timeless reality that He will always have the last word in every situation-lions present or not. These first six chapters are prologue to the great prophecies yet to come-simply reminders that earthly kingdoms will always come and go, but the kingdom of God is an eternal one, the warm-up message for what we will now begin to analyze in chapters seven through twelve, the prophetic portion of the Book of Daniel.
FROM THE HEART OF DR. REXELLA VAN IMPE
WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?
I wish I could convey to you the peace I feel as I conclude this study. I know that my task is finished, and my mission completed. I have shared with you the deepest desires of my heart from the eternal truth of Gods Word. I hope you have found my message meaningful and that it has accomplished something special in your life.
Here are some brief, final thoughts. First, satisfaction should never be considered an end in itself. We must never seek the gift but always the Giver. Remember, God graciously grants us success, security, and satisfaction, not because we deserve them but because it is His nature to be a loving benefactor to His own.
Second, I encourage you to seek Gods perfect will for your life. Once you have found true satisfaction, dont ever allow yourself to be drawn back toward that state of mind and life from which God has rescued you. You never need to be plagued or defeated by being baffled, bewildered, or befuddled-not ever again!
Instead, Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths (Proverbs 3:5,6). Gods plan and purpose for you is the highest pursuit to which you can ever commit yourself.
Then, never settle for second best. It is not always easy to see how God works through circumstances to bring about His perfect will in our lives, but we can be assured that He does. Romans 8:28 plainly says so. And, if there is anything I have learned and relearned through all our years of ministry, it is that God can be trusted completely, yes without reservation! Seek Him, trust Him, and serve Him and He will not allow you to fail or lack in any way. Know this-Gods purpose is not just to save us from sin and emptiness, but to save us for His divine plan and purpose-to use us as His instruments and servants and make us productive.
So finally, to be satisfied and fulfilled, find a place of service, a ministry outlet through which you can make a difference in your world, your neighborhood, your circle of influence. The Lords gentle admonition to you is, Freely ye have received, freely give (Matthew 10:8).
What should you do? Where do we go from here? We can-we must-go forth in the power of His name and do the work of the Kingdom of God. Jesus has promised, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do also, because I go unto my Father (John 14:12). What has the Lord done for you? Share it with others. Stretch out your hand in loving ministry. Nothing in your life can be more satisfying.
Our mail is flooded with glorious testimonies of lives saved and changed by the power of God as desperate, searching people prayed the simple sinners prayer with Jack at the end of the program. Thank God for the privilege of laboring in His endtime harvest.
Let me share a beautiful letter of testimony that will inspire and encourage you:
Dear Drs. Jack and Rexella,
I have been wanting for quite some time to write and tell you both of the remarkable effects you and the Lord Jesus Christ have had on me and my life.
I began my life of alcoholism and drug addiction in 1970, when I was 14 years old. Although my late grandfather was a Baptist minister, I turned my back on Jesus and all I had been taught about living as a Christian. I managed to struggle through life behind a mask of normalcy and even beauty, while inside I was hollow, unfulfilled, and eaten up with corruption.
I married a loving, successful man and we had a handsome, intelligent son. I had all the material things I ever wanted or needed, plus a loving family- but every day my alcoholism and addiction worsened.
In 1996 disaster struck. Our son, only 11 years old, was diagnosed with leukemia and died just eight months later. My indifference to God turned into hate and rage. I swore Id become an atheist and vowed never again to waste one word in prayer, as obviously (in my opinion) God had ignored my pleas for a miracle to cure my son of leukemia that he might live.
Meanwhile, my addictions sharply accelerated as I tried to derive power, pleasure, and freedom from pain by using ever-increasing amounts of cocaine and alcohol.
Finally, several months after my childs death, I jammed a needle into my arm for the first time. I had reached the bottom, where I was to stay off and on for the next five years.
Some time in 2002 I was again up all night injecting cocaine, drinking alcohol, and watching TV. Suddenly, on one channel, a vivid, beautiful earth appeared and I stared at it, remembering when the world had looked that way to me instead of the dark and lonely hell it had become. Then the two of you came on the screen, so full of love and life and laughter and light, and I knew I wanted whatever it was that you had.
I had already been to treatment for my addictions three times, and was reluctant to return. I hardened my heart against your message that night, and for months afterwards, but still I made sure to watch you every week.
Gradually I came to understand that God loves me no matter what I had said or done-and my anger began to fade. At last I realized that God had indeed not only heard my prayers but answered them-my son HAS been cured of leukemia and he DOES live-with God!
This was the miracle I had asked of the Lord years ago. On October 2, 2002, I had my last drink and drug. I went back to treatment and have been sober ever since. I turned my life and will over to God, secure in His love and mercy and forgiveness. And it all happened because of you two, and your late-night ministry.
Now I am a happy, fulfilled woman in Christ. I watch your show every week and always say the prayer along with Dr. Jack. With Gods help and empowerment, I am cleaning up the wreckage of my past. I have reconciled with my husband (yes, he watches your show right along with me). I read my Bible and your books, and watch your DVDs. I no longer fear death as I know I will be forever reunited with the Lord and my family in Christ, instead of being forever separated from them.
Thank you and God bless you.
Kay in Houston
Lets keep reaching out together to find other precious souls like Kay who need the Lord so desperately. My husband and I are committed to keep on proclaiming the saving Gospel of Christ until He calls us into His presence. Who knows what we will accomplish for His glory!
CHANGED LIVES-one at a time
I just wanted to thank you Dr. Van Impe for your continued stand on the Bible no matter what. You all and your ministry continue to be in my prayers daily. I look forward to watching your program every week
I cannot thank you and Rexella and your staff enough for your program and all your teachings. You are truly a man of God who stands firm on the Word of God and will not let anything or anyone stop you from doing the work He has given you to do and I am honored to help support you. I look forward to meeting you and everyone at Jack Van Impe so I can thank you all personally.
In Gods Love Always
D. M. H.
Hi Dr. Jack;
I just wanted to say “Thank You”, for boldly stepping up to proclaim these truths in this hour.
Thank You for resisting the pull to conform to a social gospel (or goose spell), that waters down and greatly distorts the truth from and about our Lord Jesus Christ. Please forgive the men who have sold out, so their sins don’t cleave to you, and please continue to PREACH GOD’S WORD!!!
Shalom, and God Bless You Dearly!!!!!!
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