From a historical perspective, it seems that Daniel came of age at exactly the wrong time in Israel. He was born just in time to see his once-great nation fall to the Babylonians. As punishment for their centuries unfaithfulness and disobedience. God allowed his people to be defeated by their enemies. Daniel, along with other young, strong, and capable people in Israel, was carried away into captivity in Babylon.

From a spiritual perspective, however, it’s apparent that Daniel came of age at exactly the right time. During his years as a captive in Babylon. Daniel made a lasting impression on key figures in the Babylonian and (later) Persian governments. He revealed God’s power and protectiveness in ways no one would forget.

Daniel was groomed for government service from the time of his capture. Under God’s guiding hand, he made a name for himself as a wise and trusted adviser to King Nebuchadnezzar. is later quick to prominence in Darius’s government made him a marked man among that king’s other adviser. Daniel, however, proved himself adept at negotiating palace intrigue.

Some things, however, are nonnegotiable.

Daniel could not follow this royal edict: “Any person who prays to anyone but the king shall be thrown into the lion’s den.” The decree dreamed up by a faction of rogue advisers was nothing more than a shrewd political maneuver-a way for Daniel’s enemies to create a fatal trap. But the king didn’t know that when he put it into writing, making it an inviolable law. He didn’t realize that his favorite adviser, Daniel, prayed three times a day to the God of Israel-in front of an open window that face Jerusalem.

Daniel certainly recognized the decree for what it was. He knew his opponents had found a way to use his devotion to God against him. He understood that the next time he prayed could be his last. So he faced a choice: embrace his God-honoring practice and endure the consequences or hide his beliefs and play it safe.

For Daniel, there was no debating. As soon as the new law was announced, he went straight to his room, dropped to his knees, and prayed to the Lord-in full view of his enemies, who were watching him carefully.

The rest of the story is well documented. King Darius, much to his dismay, was forced to throw Daniel into a pit of hungry lions and then seal the pit with a stone. (it seems that a decree by the king could not be rescinded-not even by the king himself.) Darius returned to his palace and spent a sleepless night worrying about his trusted adviser. At the first light of dawn, he rushed back to the pit.

When he reached the den, he cried out in anguish to Daniel. “Daniel, servant of the living God,” the king said, “has your God whom you serve continually been able to rescue you from the lions?”

Then Daniel spoke with the king: “My the king live forever. My God sent His angel and shut the lions’ mouths. They haven’t hurt me, for I was found innocent before Him. Also, I have not committed a crime against you my king.” (Dan 6:20-22).

Daniel’s willingness to die for his faith and God’s willingness to save his faithful servant made a powerful impact on the king. His first order of business was to sentence to death-in the lions’ den-the men who had brought the charges against Daniel’s, along with their families. His second order of business.

Then King Darius wrote to those of every people, nation, and language who live in all the earth: “May your prosperity abound. I issue a decree that in all my royal dominion, people must tremble in fear before the God of Daniel:

For He is the living God, and He endures forever; His kingdom will never be destroyed, and His dominion has no end. He rescues and delivers: He performs signs and wonders in the heavens and on the earth, for He has rescued Daniel from the power of the lions” (Dan 6:25-27).

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