Babylon was defeated by the Persians and a new government was being established. The Persian king, Darius, appointed 120 governors over his affairs. King Darius appointed three men as vice presidents over these 120 governors.
Daniel so distinguished himself among these three vice presidents that the king appointed him president over the other two. No matter how well we serve the Lord and holy we live, we will always have haters. These jealous men could not find any problems in Daniel’s work ethic so they attacked his religion. These haters decided to trick the king into signing a decree that no one could make any petition to any other god except him for thirty days. Anyone caught doing so would be subject to being eaten by voracious lions.
Daniel knew if he prayed he would be arrested and thrown into this horrible pit of darkness.
He also reasoned that if he did not pray, his change of behavior would be an endorsement that he was obeying an unlawful and idolatrous edict inspired by Satan. His silent prayers would have silently said that his God was not as powerful as King Darius’ edict. It would have been a false testimony that Jehovah was smaller and that his God was subject to the king’s influence. It would have been a fearful move by Daniel that clearly demonstrated that he was not trusting God.
This appeared to be a lose-lose situation for Daniel: Pray and be arrested; keep silent and make the God you serve appear very small; be eaten alive by lions in a dark den, or pray in silence and then be subject to ridicule from people who have heard you talk about and pray to an omnipotent God.
By praying aloud, it showed that he trusted the God he prayed to, to be greater than the lions and the blackness of their den. Even if he lost his life, he would not disclaim God, make him small, or diminish his reputation. If he stopped praying, what would that have said about him? We make God famous among the heathens. We do so by being thrown into the lions’ den. Is that a testimony or what?
We have to trust God to be bigger than life and not make him smaller than satanically-inspired edicts. By standing up, Daniel was saying Jehovah was bigger and he was willing to put God to the test in his test.
However, this story is also about release. The Lord spared his life and released Daniel so that others could be released, also. When Daniel was released, everyone under this satanic edict was released. None of the citizens of Persia, including all the captive Jews, should have been subjected to this idolatrous edict.
God used Daniel to change the king’s edict by making the punishment unenforceable. The laws of the Medes and Persians could not be overturned when put into effect. The edict could not be changed until Daniel did not die in the lions’ den. The edict changed after a miracle of release! Daniel had to go into the lions’ den and experience miraculous release so that others could be released. God positions us to release us so that others can be released.
Isaiah 61:1 – The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners …