April 13, 2021
Daniel 6:26-27 NIV
Rev. Stephen K. Doyal
Tennessee Valley District
26 “I issue a decree that in every part of my kingdom people must fear and reverence the God of Daniel.
“For he is the living God
and he endures forever;
his kingdom will not be destroyed,
his dominion will never end.
27 He rescues and he saves;
he performs signs and wonders
in the heavens and on the earth.
He has rescued Daniel
from the power of the lions.”
The roar of a lion can thrill and chill. These apex predators stir the imagination and have been at the heart of many stories for ages. They are a symbol of power as we read in Proverbs 30:30, “The lion is mightiest among wild animals and does not turn back before any.” They are featured in our culture from films like The Lion King and also include the MGM logo. Several goose bump-inducing moments occur when the Christ figure Aslan roars in The Chronicles of Narnia books and films.
In 2001, I had the opportunity to go on a short term mission trip to Kenya. While there, our group went on an observational safari in the Massai Mara National Reserve. At first, I was a bit disappointed because these big cats seemed to nap most of the time, and I wanted some action. That is, until our Range Rover got stuck in the mud, and we all got out of the vehicle to push it. Then I was content for the lions to slumber in the sun.
Daniel was clearly a man of faith and integrity. He is set up by others who were jealous of his accomplishments and his resulting favor with the king. Daniel appeared to be calmer about being thrown in the lion’s den than the king who was doing the throwing. Daniel’s trust in God over these mighty beasts is the reason given for his rescue. An angel of the Lord shut the mouths of the lions and turned their roars into purrs.
This story is certainly about God’s power, but it is also about justice. Daniel is found innocent in God’s sight, and the tables are gruesomely turned on those who sought his life. There are many unjust situations in the world today, and the corrupt often seem to fare better than the trustworthy. That is not the end of the story, however. As Methodists, we vow at our baptism to accept the freedom and power God gives us to resist evil, injustice, and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves. This story should encourage us to trust in our God and serve him continually, despite how impossible a situation may seem. “The lion has roared – so who isn’t frightened? The Sovereign LORD has spoken – so who can refuse to proclaim his message?” Amos 3:8 (NLT)
God of all Creation, we are both humbled and given hope by Your almighty power. May we seek Your will in all we do. Forgive us when we shrink from our calling to speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves. May we learn to act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with You. Amen.