The Lions' Den
We live in a time where children watch super-hero movies, which cause their minds to race with thoughts of being able to accomplish similar achievements. They will attempt to fly, but Newton’s “law of gravity” brings them back to earth every time. They will attempt to build/construct a suit of armor, i.e. Ironman, but it is never much more than an old t-shirt that can be colored, cut, and glued. All of these sources of excitement and thrilling adventures have caused in many homes a disconnect between the fictional reality of the movies, and the true historical reality of the Word of God. Our children are more excited to watch the newest Marvel movie, than taking the same amount of time to study and learn from God’s Word. This does not negate our responsibility as parents to teach our children, but it does create a few difficulties in reaching their young hearts and minds.
One of the more difficult portions of the Old Testament to make applicable for our children is the portion filled with sundry laws and repetitive commands. Their minds may/will begin to wander, but we must not fret! We must take these opportunities to instill in their young minds the importance of obedience and the consequences of bad choices and sin. We serve a holy God who loves us but His love will not tolerate our pride and selfishness. A second difficult portion for any parent in the 21st century is the historical accounts of God’s deliverance and power over every situation of man. The difficulty we face is having our children understand that these accounts are not just another bedtime story, but rather true historical accounts of men/women who stood courageously in their moment of trial and were rewarded for their faithfulness by His providence. These events were not recorded for their elements of action or adventure, but rather to exemplify their strong godly traits and how they should be replicated in our own lives.
One of the greatest events contained in the Old Testament is the account of God’s faithful servant, Daniel. Daniel was taken from Jerusalem by King Nebuchadnezzar and into Babylonian captivity around the year 606/605 B.C. (2 Kings 24:10-16). In captivity, Daniel did not allow his circumstances and new environment to compromise his faithful service toward God. Early in this period of Daniel’s life – “Daniel made up his mind that he would not defile himself with the king’s choice food or with the wine which he drank” (1:8a). This devotion and faithfulness toward God is what caused a separation between Daniel and others who were taken into captivity. Daniel was blessed to have three other traveling companions who also manifested this great trust and reliance upon their God (1:7; 3:16-18). Daniel was blessed by God for his faithfulness and trust in Him (1:17; 2:17-18, 27-28; etc.). This foundation of Daniel’s life would often be tested, but his greatest test came during the reign of Darius.
King Darius, the Mede, reigned in Babylon from approximately 542-539 B.C. The Babylonian Empire had fallen to the Medes/Persians, and Daniel and his fellow countrymen had been in captivity for a period of 63 years. The length of Daniel’s captivity did not create doubt in his heart, but rather he remained steadfast in his devotion toward God. Daniel’s faithfulness would be tested in the sixth chapter of Daniel.
Daniel was distinguished far above all the other administrators and satraps, and the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom. This caused great jealously among the other men, and they attempted to find corruption in Daniel, but “he was faithful, and no negligence or corruption was to be found in him” (6:4b). Their only recourse was to use deception and have the king sign an edict that would not allow anyone to pray to any god, besides the king, for thirty days; otherwise, the guilty party would be thrown into the lion’s den. The reaction of Daniel toward the edict is absolutely amazing –
Now when Daniel knew that the document was signed, he entered his house (now in his roof chamber he had windows open toward Jerusalem); and he continued kneeling on his knees three times a day, praying and giving thanks before his God, as he had been doing previously (6:10).
No law or man would deter Daniel’s faithfulness and great reliance upon his God!
While it saddened the king, Daniel was guilty and by law must be thrown in to the lions’ den. The king pleaded, “May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!” God did not leave His faithful servant without protection, but sent an angel to shut the lions’ mouths and they were unable to harm him. The king retrieved Daniel early the next morning, and there was “no injury whatever was found on him, because he had trusted in his God” (6:23b). What a great testament to Daniel and his faithfulness toward God! What a tremendous blessing it is to serve the same God who delivered Daniel from the lions’ den.
We live in a particular age where children are fascinated with the fictional stories/movies of superheroes and their great adventures, but this does not excuse us from fulfilling the command to teach our children (Deuteronomy 6:6-9; Ephesians 6:4). We must impress upon our children and their hearts how great our God is and the love He has manifested throughout history toward His faithful people. We may never be thrown into a literal lions’ den like Daniel, or a fiery furnace like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, but we will be tested in our lives and our faithfulness toward God will be the only source of deliverance. What a tremendous blessing it is to be able to teach our young children about all of the great men/women who lived in the Old and New Testaments. How their faithfulness and reliance upon God must be imitated in our own lives and homes. May God bless our diligent efforts to teach, instruct, and provide examples of faithfulness for our children today!