Op-Ed: Fear of the Living God
“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 works signs and wonders in heaven and on earth, Who has delivered Daniel from the power of the lions.” Daniel 6:26-27
The story of Daniel is relevant today because he was appointed as one of three men to rule over and administer the entire kingdom of Darius the Meade. However, the God of Israel, through His Spirit, gave Daniel wisdom, knowledge, and understanding far beyond that of the other men in positions of power around the king.
What was the result? There arose in the hearts and minds of the these men, and others around the king, jealousy, disdain, hatred, and fear of Daniel being appointed the sole administrator.
Consequently, they plotted against Daniel, to destroy him. They used flattery and deceit to set their plot in motion. They urged king Darius to issue a decree, that for the next 30 days no one could worship or bow down to person or idol, but fully worship the king himself as god. Anyone caught worshipping any other god was to be thrown into the lion’s den.
When Daniel heard of the decree, he went up into his upper room, opened the shutters, bowed down and worshipped the God of Israel three times a day. Right on script, these evil men burst in on Daniel in the midst of his prayers, and rushed to report to the king as witness of Daniel’s transgression and crime against his decree.
The king loved Daniel, and sought all day as to how he might free him from the decree. At sunset when no options remained, the king cast Daniel into the den of lions, As he sealed the entrance to the lion’s den with his signet ring, he cried out to Daniel saying, “Your God whom you constantly serve will Himself deliver you.” Daniel 6:16
Understand clearly that Daniel knew of the king’s decree, yet he chose to worship only the God of Israel, fully knowing he would be cast into the lion’s den. Daniel chose not to worship the king, who was just a man, but chose to worship and pray and bow to the God of Israel.
If you were the king, would you have arisen at sunrise and gone in haste to the lion’s den? Most kings would not have gone because they would have believed the lions had eaten Daniel. Yet, king Darius went in hasty expectation to the lion’s den. Why? The answer can be found in what he cried out to Daniel at the mouth of the lions den.
God honors Daniel’s faith
“Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to deliver you from the lions?” Daniel 6:20
Notice how the king addressed Daniel. “Daniel, servant of the living God!” King Darius knew Daniel was different from all the other men serving in his kingdom. Why? Because Daniel had a different spirit from all the other men. He could not be bought or bribed, and his wisdom exceeded that of all other men in the king’s service.
The king understood that Daniel served the living God whose home was in Jerusalem. Consequently, when the charges were brought against Daniel, the king believed in his mind it was possible that Daniel’s God could preserve him from the mouth of the lions.
Thus, his urgent cry to Daniel as he approached the den the next morning; “Has your God, whom you constantly serve, been able to deliver you from the lions?”
Daniel wanted there to be no doubt in the king’s mind as to who had rescued him and gave testimony to the king immediately. “O king, live forever! My God sent His angel and shut the lions’ mouths, so that they have not hurt me, because I was found innocent before Him; and also, O king, I have done no wrong before you.” Daniel 6:21-22
Daniel was innocent of any crime against his God or against the king, and he wanted the king to understand this clearly.
A key point here is: because Daniel would not worship any god but the God of Israel, and was willingly cast into the lions den, he believed his life was in God’s hands no matter the outcome. Neither evil men, the king, or the lions could harm him without the consent of His God.
Second, if Daniel had not gone into the lion’s den, the king never would have experienced the power and faithfulness of the God of Israel.
Sometimes, some of us have to be willing to go into the lion’s den, so those around us can experience God!
Have you ever been cast into a den of lions because of your faith? Many living in the Middle East and other nations as well today have suffered similar fates, if not the same as Daniel and his friends. What will you do when the day comes and you are tested? Only you can answer this question?
After having Daniel removed from the lion’s den, “The king gave the command, and they brought those men who had accused Daniel, and they cast them into the den of lions – them, their children, and their wives; and the lions overpowered them, and broke all their bones in pieces before they ever came to the bottom of the den.” Daniel 6:24
So those who sought to cast Daniel into the lion’s den, were themselves along with their wives and children cast into the den of lions and died. The consequences of coming against a man or woman raised up by God can be very dangerous.
The problem is that most people today cannot perceive one that has been chosen and anointed by God for a specific purpose. They cannot, because the Spirit of God is not in them.
One of the final lessons of having no fear of the living God, is the consequences of coming against a man chosen and anointed by God for a specific purpose.
Throughout human history there have been many such men and women. Some have died, suffering a martyr’s death, while some have been rescued and lived to give testimony attesting to God’s mercy, grace, and power.
So what did this pagan king do next after removing Daniel from the den? King Darius declared, “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 works signs and wonders in heaven and on earth, Who has delivered Daniel from the power of the lions.” Daniel 6:26-27
God has not changed, because He is not a man. He is God. After thousands of years of persecution, Israel and the Jewish people have survived. Why? Because God does not change, and His covenant promises stand forever.
“For I, the LORD, I do not change; therefore you are not consumed, O sons of Jacob (Israel).” Malachi 3:6
The Book of Remembrance for Those who Feared the Lord
“Then those who feared the LORD spoke to one another, and the LORD listened and heard them, so a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the LORD and who meditate on His name. “They shall be Mine,” says the LORD of hosts, “on the day that I make them My jewels, and I will spare them as a man spares his own son who serves him.” Then you shall again discern between the righteous and the wicked, between one who serves God and one who does not serve Him. Malachi 3:16-18
Can you discern between the righteous and the wicked, between the one who serves God and one who does not serve Him?
Do you fear the LORD and mediate on His name?
Know for certain if you do, then as the LORD declared, “You shall be Mine!”