Saturday, December 15, 2018

Advent Angels 15

Read: Daniel 6

The famous story of Daniel in the lions’ den is set at roughly the same time as yesterday’s story, though now Nebuchadnezzar has been succeeded by King Darius. His courtiers, jealous of the power he has given Daniel, another of the Jewish exiles, cook up a plot which will not only – they think – get rid of Daniel, but also make Darius the author of Daniel’s misfortune. Darius doesn’t seem to realise that forbidding the people of his empire to pray to anyone but him will put Daniel in an impossible position, but once the edict has been made, according to the customs of his nation, even he can’t undo it. Much against Darius’ will, Daniel must be thrown to the lions.

The next morning Darius comes to the den fearfully, sure that he will find no more than a pile of bones, but Daniel is safe. He says that “God sent his angel and shut the lions’ mouths.” We never see this angel, but Daniel is in no doubt that God has intervened to save him.

Although this story is set in a world far removed from our own by time and distance, political manipulation of the kind which lands Daniel among the lions is just as much a reality now as it ever was. The story of Daniel reminds us, though, that God affirms those who act with integrity.

·         What “lions” have you faced in your life? Have you ever feared being torn apart, emotionally, physically or spiritually?

·         Pray for those who suffer because they have acted with integrity. Could you do something to support the work of Amnesty International or Freedom from Torture which works with the “Daniels” of our own day?

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