Daniel had been set up.
Those competing with him for influence over the king had used the king's own ego to trick him into making a law against prayer.
They knew that Daniel prayed. They knew that the only way to 'get him' was to use his faith in his God against him (because he was a man of integrity, and his faith was why--see "Would YOUR Faith Condemn You?").
So, thier trap worked.
"But when Daniel learned that the law had been signed, he went home and knelt down as usual in his upstairs room, with its windows open toward Jerusalem. He prayed three times a day, just as he had always done, giving thanks to his God. Then the officials went together to Daniel’s house and found him praying and asking for God’s help." (vv. 10-11)
Daniel had always been a man of faith and prayer, and he was not about to stop that. He had enormous faith in his God (NOT just any god!), and knew that He would take care of him.
So...he prayed with the windows open, as he had always done.
...and his detractors saw it, and went and reported it to the king.
"14 Hearing this, the king was deeply troubled, and he tried to think of a way to save Daniel. He spent the rest of the day looking for a way to get Daniel out of this predicament."
The king, who hadn't really thought through all the implications of a law which stroked his ego, was grieved...he hadn't thought of Daniel! His ego had trapped him into doing something to Daniel that he deeply regretted...but it was too late--had had backed himself into a corner.
"15 In the evening the men went together to the king and said, “Your Majesty, you know that according to the law of the Medes and the Persians, no law that the king signs can be changed.”
16 So at last the king gave orders for Daniel to be arrested and thrown into the den of lions. The king said to him, “May your God, whom you serve so faithfully, rescue you.”
17 A stone was brought and placed over the mouth of the den. The king sealed the stone with his own royal seal and the seals of his nobles, so that no one could rescue Daniel.
The King (Darius) knew about Daniel's God. He knew that this God was a big part of the reason that Daniel was so faithful...all he could do was hope that Daniel's God would show Himself...again!
18 Then the king returned to his palace and spent the night fasting. He refused his usual entertainment and couldn’t sleep at all that night.
19 Very early the next morning, the king got up and hurried out to the lions’ den. 20 When he got there, he called out in anguish, “Daniel, servant of the living God! Was your God, whom you serve so faithfully, able to rescue you from the lions?”
What realistic hope did he have in that? These Lions were purposefully fed only enough to keep them strong--and HUNGRY! They would've overwhelmed Daniel before he even reached the center of the den, right?
"21 Daniel answered, “Long live the king! 22 My God sent his angel to shut the lions’ mouths so that they would not hurt me, for I have been found innocent in his sight. And I have not wronged you, Your Majesty.”
23 The king was overjoyed and ordered that Daniel be lifted from the den. Not a scratch was found on him, for he had trusted in his God.
24 Then the king gave orders to arrest the men who had maliciously accused Daniel. He had them thrown into the lions’ den, along with their wives and children. The lions leaped on them and tore them apart before they even hit the floor of the den."
Daniel had served God faithfully, and served the king faithfully. As a result, he could commit himself to God and trust Him...and God came through, shutting the Lions' mouths.
King Darius wrote to praise Daniel's God:
“Peace and prosperity to you!
26 “I decree that everyone throughout my kingdom should tremble with fear before the God of Daniel.
For he is the living God,
and he will endure forever.
His kingdom will never be destroyed,
and his rule will never end.
27 He rescues and saves his people;
he performs miraculous signs and wonders
in the heavens and on earth.
He has rescued Daniel
from the power of the lions.”
28 So Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrus the Persian."
What do we learn from Daniel?
That we should make sure our faith is geniune...that we should nurture our own faith every day...that our work and service--no matter who it's to--should reflect that faith...that we may get persecuted for it, but we can trust God to care for us, deliver us, and save us...that if, in the Wisdom of God, He chooses not to, we can still trust Him...for ETERNITY!
Therefore, let's commit ourselves to the Lord and serve Hime wherever we're at, whatever we're doing, not provoking others, but refusing to back down. We serve the LIVING, TRUE God!