One of the most beloved Bible stories for people of all ages is Daniel in the Lion's Den. We are inspired by the great faithfulness Daniel showed to prayer and to God, and by God's response of deliverance by sending an angel to be with Daniel.
Often overlooked is the other key player in the story—King Darius. The sixth chapter of Daniel contains his example as a biblical outline for resolution of epic failure.
So these governors and satraps thronged before the king: "King Darius, live forever! … establish a royal statute and to make a firm decree, that whoever petitions any god or man for thirty days, except you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions." … Therefore King Darius signed the written decree. (v. 6-7, 9)
Fear or lust can be the snare that sets us up for an epic failure. But they are rooted in what is surely the number one reason we fail: pride.
"That Daniel, who is one of the captives from Judah, does not show due regard for you, O king, or for the decree that you have signed, but makes his petition [to his God] three times a day." (v. 13)
Do we ever see them coming—the consequences of those failures that rise to being called "epic"?
3. Acceptance of Responsibility
And the king, when he heard these words, was greatly displeased with himself … (v. 14)
When faced with epic failure, our first temptation may be to deflect blame. Accepting appropriate responsibility and repenting of the sinful action that set up the disaster isn't just the right thing to do. It also puts us in the best position to seek solution.
4. Immediate Remedy
… and set his heart on Daniel to deliver him; and he labored till the going down of the sun to deliver him. (v. 14)
Our failures affect those around us. Honest repentance will immediately look for a way to remedy the injury we've done to another.
5. Adherence to Righteousness
"Know, O king, that it is the law of the Medes and Persians that no decree or statute which the king establishes may be changed." So the king gave the command, and they brought Daniel and cast him into the den of lions. (v. 15-16)
The temptation may arise to obtain remedy by any means possible. We may rationalize that a new sin remedies the greater evil of the first. To plot the course away from sin and all its evil consequences, we must adhere to paths of righteousness.
6. Release to God in Faith
But the king spoke, saying to Daniel, "Your God, whom you serve continually, He will deliver you." (v. 16)
Whatever remedy we are able to effect, we are completely inadequate to restore the damage that results from sin. But we serve the Lord YHWH, our Deliverer from death and sin. We can turn to Him for remedy and restoration of anything.
7. Persistence in Prayer
Now the king went to his palace and spent the night fasting; and no musicians were brought before him. Also his sleep went from him. (v. 18)
Perhaps King Darius did not spend the night praying. And our prayers need not include fasting from food and sleep. But when we are desperate, emptying ourselves is one way of inviting God to step into a situation in a much bigger way than He might otherwise.
8. Expectation for Good Outcome
And when he came to the den, he cried out with a lamenting voice … "Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to deliver you from the lions?" (v. 20)
God works all for the good of those who love Him (Romans 8:28), even their own failures. No matter how "epic" our failure, God's ability to effect good through it is greater yet.
9. Action to Prevent Future Failure
And the king gave the command, and they brought those men who had accused Daniel, and they cast them into the den of lions … (v. 24)
King Darius held the position to rightly execute those who conspired to use him in the effort to murder Daniel. We should be as ruthless in rooting out of our lives all evil that leads to sin.
10. Glory to God
Then King Darius wrote:
To all peoples, nations, and languages that dwell in all the earth:
Peace be multiplied to you. I make a decree that in every dominion of my kingdom men must tremble and fear before the God of Daniel.
For He is the living God,
And steadfast forever;
His kingdom is the one which shall not be destroyed,
And His dominion shall endure to the end.
He delivers and rescues,
And He works signs and wonders In heaven and on earth,
Who has delivered Daniel from the power of the lions. (v. 25-27)
May we never fail to give thanks and glory to our Lord, Deliverer from epic failure!
~ ~ ~
"And some of those of understanding shall fall, to refine them, purify them, and make them white, until the time of the end."
~ Daniel 11:35 (NKJV)
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Copyright 2013, Anne Lang Bundy, all rights reserved.
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