The story of Daniel in the lion’s den is an awesome story, one I’ve heard a number of times growing up. However, just recently I was impacted by the story of Daniel in a different way. It was whilst listening to a sermon from our pastor (Andrew), when a picture came to mind (drawn above).
I don’t claim this is a ‘prophetic painting’, or even necessarily say it directly inspired by God. Considering my level of art expertise – I doubt this stuff had divine intervention (although I am the least artistic person I know, so maybe this is a miracle in itself).
What is most important is to direct our focus to God in this situation, considering how he did (and continues to do) the impossible.
This is just my way of expressing an interesting thought that came to mind. I’ll try to explain my thinking into how this picture relates to the story of Daniel.
But first, some context.
Daniel was one of three administrators to the kings and high officials, to supervise and protect the king’s best interests. Daniel was a man of integrity. He was faithful, responsible and trustworthy. So much so that when others became jealous of him and were looking for reasons to kick him out of government, they found nothing. They couldn’t find fault in this guy.
Knowing he had a faith with some God, these jealous co-workers hatched a plan. They managed to convince the King (Darius) to set a new law in place: For thirty days if anyone prays to anything except the King, they would be thrown into the lion’s den.
Having heard this new law, Daniel still went home and prayed as he usually did. In fact, he continued to pray three times a day from the view of his window. Daniel was later found out for praying and was sent to the lion’s den, despite the King’s efforts to stop the ordeal (he valued Daniel pretty dang highly).
The next morning, the King came to check if Daniel was alive, fearing the worst. Daniel responds from the den, giving praise to God who had sent an angel to shut the mouths of the lions.
God snatched victory from the jaws of lions (defeat). One of the best comeback performances of all time if you like – would have made for an excellent highlights package (if cameras were a thing). But we still have the match report in the Bible, a trustworthy historical source. An awesome summary of God’s deliverance in a situation where the odds for victory were ridiculous, next to impossible.
THE PICTURE EXPLAINED
The clenched fist is universally seen as a sign of defiance, or rebellion. It has been used in various movements across the world, where people stand firm against an event or issue. Unfortunately the clenched fist is often characterised by the ‘white supremacy’ movement. Recent uses of the clenched fist have also appeared in logos to represent certain groups, such as the band Rise Against or the AFL team Port Power (subtle plug). Whether a large scale global movement or a smaller scale arts/sporting group, many utilise this image as their sign of defiance, solidarity or non-conformity.
However the clenched fist is also a sign of the desperate need to be saved. Something I’m sure many (especially us Australians) learn early in life is that if you’re drowning, not to wave open-palmed for help, as the signal may be confused as having fun, saying hello, etc. We are told to raise a clenched fist to indicate we are drowning, need help.
Daniel, in the story of the lion’s den, typifies both fists.
Daniel was defiant. Andrew (in his sermon) described Daniel as being ‘uncompromised’ in his convictions. He was not willing to let the world sway his faith in God. Yet despite this stand of faith, Daniel was also in desperate need of saving. He was about to be thrown into a den of hungry lions, seemingly looking death in the face(s).
Daniel was facing his ‘drowning moment’, if you like. Despite his integrity, his willingness to defy the world – things weren’t looking flash. He needed help.
But through the situation God rewarded Daniel’s uncompromising faith, regardless of circumstance. He showed Daniel first-hand the promised deliverance God would give him in the den (hence play on words in picture title).
DRAWING THE COMPARISON
The Bible has many stories where people have suffered seemingly impossible, potentially disastrous situations. But because of their faith, have been saved.
God didnt save Noah from the flood, but through it – providing insight and knowledge prior to the event. God didn’t save Shadrach, Meshash and Abednego from the fire, but through it – ensuring none of them were even burnt. God didn’t save Daniel from the lion’s den, but through it – shutting the lions mouths so they couldn’t harm him.
God doesn’t hold his children back from experiencing hard times. In fact, he didn’t hold himself back. In this life, we are not held back from entering the lions den. We are not held back from the fires we are thrown into.
But we are promised one thing – deliverance beyond the grave.
You may not experience a once-off, life changing experience like Daniel in the Den. Maybe you think your life story is pretty boring, average at best.
But truth is, we already have a testimony far greater than any other.
That we are not saved from death, but through it.