Study 9 THE DELIVERANCE OF FAITH - DANIEL
MORE STUDIES IN HEBREWS 11
by Francis Dixon
Scripture References: Hebrews 11:33; Daniel 6:16-28
The story of Daniel in the lions’ den is one of the most dramatic incidents in the Bible and it is, surely, to this that Hebrews 11:33 refers. The record of this incident is a great strengthener to faith, it is a challenge to stand firm in a time of testing and trial, and it is a marvellous demonstration of the power of prayer. The story of Daniel in the lions’ den is an illustration of Proverbs 18:10; 1 Corinthians 16:13; 2 Timothy 4:18 and James 5:17.
Daniel chapter 6 is authentic history, but it is also a prophetic picture of the protection that God will give to His faithful people at the end of the age, in the time when His judgments will be poured out. The record also provides us with a marvellous illustration of the present help that God gives to His people in times of trial and testing. In this study we will notice the faith of Daniel - the quiet trust that he had in his God! It is this quiet trust that God wants His people to enjoy.
1. True faith will always be tested.
Daniel held a very high office in the court of King Darius in Babylon. He was the Prime Minister, and at this time he was between 80 and 90 years of age. He was known by everyone for his piety and for his faith in God, and in consequence he had many enemies. Look at verses 4 and 5. It was great for Daniel to be the Prime Minister - but look at 2 Timothy 3:12. In the royal court of Darius there were presidents and princes and other officials who were determined to bring about Daniel’s downfall. In some measure this must be true of every Christian who is determined to be faithful to the Lord. It is surely impossible to be one-hundred-per-cent loyal to the Lord Jesus and to escape persecution - see 1 Peter 4:12-14. Look at verses 6 to 9. Had Daniel been weak in the faith he would surely have given up his worship of God, his prayer habit of years, and he would have found some excuses for not obeying the dictates of his enemies, but he remained loyal in the hour of testing. Look at verse 10. What a great verse this is! Here is this man carrying on just as if his enemies were not against him and determined to bring about his downfall. Soon his enemies made things really hot for him. They got Daniel in their net. Look at verse 11. Then Daniel was thrown to the lions. Look at verses 16 and 17. Poor Daniel! What an ordeal for a servant of God! But wait. Are you in some lions’ den, some tight spot, with people against you, being persecuted for righteousness’ sake, in the den of sin, of temptation or of despair? Yes, that old roaring lion, Satan, is threatening to devour you (1 Peter 5:8). What can you do? - fret, fume, struggle and complain? Yes, you can do all these things, but you must not and you need not. Do what Daniel did - trust in God; and do not be surprised that your faith is being severely tested.
2. True faith will always prove adequate.
Daniel was thrown to the lions although he was such a godly man. God actually allowed His servant to be put into the den, just as previously He had allowed Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego to be put into the fiery furnace (Daniel 3:17-23); just as He allowed Paul and Silas to be cast into prison (Acts 16:23-24); and just as He allowed Fanny Crosby, the hymn-writer, to spend ninety of her ninety-five years in blindness. In the same way, perhaps He has allowed you to be cast into the prison of ill-health, or loss, or sorrow, or some other testing. But notice this: how did Daniel react? He went on trusting God for this new situation in which he found himself. Look at verse 16. Faith in the Living God gives peace and poise in the midst of terrifying situations. It produces within the believer the experience of Isaiah 26:3. Look at verses 18 to 20. Daniel was more at rest in the prison with the lions than Darius was in his palace with all his comforts and luxuries. And you are in some den of lions? Do believe this - the lions cannot harm you unless God allows them to, and if He tells them to it will somehow be for the best, as Romans 8:28 assures us. What God wants most in our lives is simply that we trust Him, as Daniel did. Look at verse 20. Is God able? Of course He is! - but His will is the important thing. It might have been God’s will for the lions to maul or to kill Daniel, and had it been so this would have been the greatest thing that could have possibly happened to him, for there is nothing greater than for God to accomplish His will in the life of one of His children. However, it was God’s will that Daniel should be protected and preserved for further service.
3. True faith will always bring deliverance.
Look at verses 20 to 23. The power that delivered Daniel was God’s power. When Daniel was in the den someone else was there with Daniel and the lions. Look at verse 22. God’s angel was in the den - look up Psalm 91:11-13, and compare Hebrews 1:14. Can God still send His angel to deliver us when we are in places of danger? Of course He can! Most of all He can deliver us with the angel of His presence - look up Isaiah 63:9. What a great thing it is to learn and to experience the delivering power of God, for He delivers from sin (Hebrews 7:25); from fear (Psalm 34:4); from doubt (Matthew 14:31); from anxiety (Philippians 4:6-7); and He breaks the power of evil habits. He delivers completely (2 Timothy 4:18)! If you are in some horrible den, being threatened by any kind of lion, the same power that delivered Daniel will deliver you if you will put your trust in the Living God. God can deliver those who trust Him from all evil - from a “guilty conscience” (Hebrews 10:22); from a “sinful, unbelieving heart” (Hebrews 3:12); from ”this present evil age” (Galatians 1:4); from “slander” (Ephesians 4:31); from “bad company” (1 Corinthians 15:33); and from ”every kind of evil” (1 Thessalonians 5:22).
4. True faith will always glorify God.
Look at verses 25-27, and compare Philippians 1:12. How thrilled and humbled this great man of God must have been when in answer to his own prayer, and because of his own faithfulness and trust in God, Darius was led to give this great testimony!
There is one verse which in a special way sums up the story of Daniel in the lions’ den - it is Proverbs 16:7.