Few biblical accounts capture the hearts and minds of children in Sunday School like the historical record of Daniel in the lions’ den. Voracious lions pacing back and forth at the bottom of a stone pit impatiently awaiting their next meal. Helpless victims being tossed in from above with nowhere to run or hide. The testimony of Daniel that “My God sent His angel and shut the lions’ mouths and they have not harmed me” (6:22) offered with such quietness and peace that we could almost imagine that Daniel had been enjoying watching lions in a zoo. Then the statement of the text underscoring the lions’ inexorable rapaciousness that when Daniel’s accusers were thrown into the same pit, “they had not reached the bottom of the den before the lions overpowered them and crushed all their bones” (6:24). And there is no shame in admitting that the account continues to enthrall us as adults—designedly so. God wants believers to reckon on the eternal certainty of this testimony: “no injury whatever was found on him [Daniel], because he had trusted in his God” (6:23). Among other things, that statement assures us of the following truths.
All security comes from God. Some people cling to their exercise and health regimens for security. Many in their investment portfolios. Some in their genetics and physical constitutions. Others in government and law. Some in family and friends. Some put their confidence in skill and hard work. Still others in good luck or karma. Many trust in their own goodness. And many put their confidence in various combinations of those. But Scripture is clear: God alone is the source of all security. Whether for time or for eternity, whether for natural or spiritual things, God alone can protect and secure; anything and everything else will inevitably fail us. God alone stands above time and beyond all circumstances. Daniel didn’t appeal to the King Darius, try to find a loophole in the law of the Medes and Persians, appeal to the conscience of his accusers, or attempt to smuggle in some armor or weaponry. He simply and solely “trusted in his God.”
Security is accessed by faith. “Because he had trusted in his God” the text explains, no harm befell Daniel. Harm befalls believers when we rely on our own ability and try to work things out ourselves. Many people believe they are quoting the Bible when they say with a knowing nod of the head, “God helps those who help themselves.” That’s not in the Bible. On the contrary, the Bible everywhere teaches that God helps those who trust in Him. Yes, at some point (but by no means always) that trust may include our doing something, but only as a consequence of resting in Him, submitting to His Word, and yielding to His will. Often God puts us in situations (though not as drastic as Daniel’s) in which we discover there is nothing naturally we can do to deliver ourselves or extricate ourselves from impending harm. He does so in order to drive us to trust Him because our security rests in just that—trusting Him.
Security is absolute. God does not say, “Okay, I’ve saved you this far, now the rest is up to you.” He saves to the uttermost. If He wills to deliver, He delivers completely. When Christ was on earth, He certainly did not heal everyone. But He never said to a deaf person, “All right, I’ll restore partial hearing to your ears.” Or to a blind person, “When I’m done, you’ll be able to see well enough to get around, but don’t expect to be able to read.” He never says to a sinner, “I’ll save you from these sins, but you’ll have to take care of those if you want to get to heaven.” No, the security God provides is complete and absolute. “No injury whatever was found” on Daniel. We may trust God to do a complete work, whether in salvation, or sanctification, or provision for our natural needs.
The account about Daniel would be a captivating story if it were only history. But it would be of no value to believers today if that’s all it were. But God included it in inspired writ because He wants us to know His character, understand how He works, and trust Him as Daniel did. In the days ahead, we may face some metaphorical lions’ dens. The Lord is encouraging us to trust in Him. He does not change.
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