This is what I read: “God shut the mouths of the lions for Daniel; he’ll miraculously deliver you.”
I’m on Facebook (in a joint account with my wife). So are about 1,000,000,000 other people (according to Facebook). Patty and I are friends with a few of these. Many are Christian. And I read a few things here and there making my “theological skin” crawl.
And the opening statement above was what I read that inspired this post.
Daniel 6 is couched in the Old Testament book of Daniel (smart, right?) and tells the story of God’s sovereignty in some really bad situations. Daniel didn’t have a choice but to exist when and where he did. As a Jewish boy, Daniel wouldn’t have chosen Babylon as a home (Daniel 1).
But the point of this post (and the comment I see more and more Christians repeat) is found in the story of Daniel in the Lion’s Den in Daniel 6.
The basics of it are this: a law is passed stating that the people of Babylon can only pray to Darius the Mede (this was shortly after the Babylonians fell to the Persians). Daniel was at least 80 years old by this point and had (most likely) retired from public service.
King Darius was tricked into this law by some officials who wanted Daniel dead. Since Daniel continued to pray to God, the king had no choice but to enact the penalty for breaking this law: death. So Daniel is thrown into the lion’s den and left for dead.
The next morning King Darius returns to see if Daniel somehow survived. Daniel calls from the lion’s den, “My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight. Nor have I ever done any wrong before you, Your Majesty” (Daniel 6:22).
It’s an awesome story and it’s certainly up there with one of the most recognized stories from the Bible.
But does it represent a promise from God that His people will be delivered from every “lion’s den”? That’s the question inspiring this study.
I’ve heard pastors say this. I’ve heard (and read) other Christians say this. I’ve witnessed people using this as a way to “hang on” when things were really, really bad.
But did God promise this? Is this why the Holy Spirit put Daniel 6 in there?
In a word…no. There’s nothing in the text or principle from the text that could be honestly twisted to support the principle that “the Lord will deliver you because He delivered Daniel.”
Jesus actually said something indicating the opposite: “…In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33b). Did Jesus promise to take us out of the “lion’s den” or did He promise to go with us? He promised to go with us.
Do I write this so you’ll be discouraged? Not at all! Discouragement doesn’t come from the truth. I’ve just witnessed the entitlement-minded Christian have their faith crushed when the “lions” bite them and they blame God for something He never promised to do. I don’t want that for you.
Bad theology has taught them they won’t experience pain or problems. Others have convinced them God promised deliverance but we fail to remember: our “deliverance” may not be in this life. We are saved from God’s wrath, not life.
As you go through the “lion’s dens” of life, I pray He will supernaturally deliver you. But if He doesn’t, please remember: He never promised to in this life. He did, however, promise you would never go through it alone.
Jesus is with you. He loves you. He walks with you. No. Matter. What.