When Prayer Promotes You to the Lion’s Den & Sends You There Alone

Today’s selected reading continues in the Old Testament prophetic book of Daniel, and more specifically, is found in the sixth chapter of the book. This particular chapter marks the end of what might very well be considered the biographical and historical part of the book of Daniel, as the first six chapters of the book contain specific historical accounts that took place during the times of the Babylonians, and then the Medes and Persians. In the first chapter we read of the initial captivity that was enacted upon the southern kingdom of Judah, and the carrying away of specific individuals from within the nation and kingdom. It is within the first chapter that we also discover and encounter Daniel and his three companions—Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah—being selected to enter into the service of the king. These four individuals entered into what might very well have been a rigorous time of preparation and separation for and unto the service of the king, as they were not only required to learn the language of the Chaldeans, but also to be immersed in their culture. The first chapter records how Daniel and his companions would not partake of the food from the king’s table and through wisdom and tact were able to abstain from partaking of such food and drink. In the second chapter we encounter Nebuchadnezzar dreaming a dream upon his bed—a dream which troubled him and caused his sleep to go from him. It is within this chapter that we read of Daniel not only revealing the dream unto the king, but also providing the interpretation of the dream as well. In the third chapter we find Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah refusing to bow down before and serve the image of gold which Nebuchadnezzar had set up in the plain of Dura. These three Hebrews were ultimately cast into the fiery furnace, yet were loosed in the midst of the flames, and walked in the midst of the furnace with one who appeared as the Son of God. In the fourth chapter we read of a second dream which Nebuchadnezzar dreamed upon his bed, and his subsequent driving forth from the company of men and the comforts of the palace. After a period of sevens had passed, Nebuchadnezzar would lift his eyes toward heaven, would be restored in his mind, and would ultimately be restored unto his place as king of Babylon. In the fifth chapter we read of the handwriting on the wall, as Belshazzar and all those present during his banquet drank wine from the holy vessels of the house of the Lord while worshipping the false gods of that age. This chapter concludes with Daniel providing the interpretation of the handwriting on the wall, Belshazzar being killed by Darius, and the Babylonian empire being overtaken and consumed by the Medes and the Persians.

When we come to the sixth chapter of the prophetic book of Daniel we find perhaps the final biographical and historical narrative of the book. The sixth chapter of this book opens with Darius the Mede being pleased to set over the kingdom an hundred and twenty princes, which should be over the whole kingdom. Over these one-hundred and twenty princes there was to be three presidents; of whom Daniel was the first. It was unto these three presidents that the princes might give accounts unto them that the king should have no damage. The account goes on to describe how Daniel was preferred above all the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king thought to set him over the whole realm. When we come to the fourth verse of this chapter we find the presidents and princes seeking to find occasion against Daniel concerning the kingdom—most likely because of jealousy of Daniel because of his status with the king. The presidents and princes did not like the recognition and favor that was given unto Daniel, and we read it was this jealousy that caused them to find occasion against Daniel concerning the kingdom. It’s actually quite astounding remarkable that this chapter goes on to reveal that neither the princes nor the presidents could find any occasion or fault with Daniel. We go on to read how Daniel was found faithful in the sight of the king, and even in the eyes of all those within the realm. Moreover, we also read how there was found no error or fault within Daniel by which to accuse him according to the law. It’s actually quite astounding that no matter how hard these presidents and princes tried to find occasion and fault with Daniel, they were unable to do so. Regardless of how much “dirt” they tried digging up on Daniel there was absolutely nothing they could find or discover about Daniel because he found faithful within the realm and empire. I absolutely love that not only could they find any fault in him, but in the absence of fault was faithfulness. IN THE ABSENCE OF FAULT, FAITHFULNESS ABOUNDS!

I can’t help but be completely and totally engrossed and enamored with this particular thought—the thought of what is found in the absence of fault. To help set the stage for this concept, I can’t help but be reminded of a passage that is found in the Old Testament prophetic book of Zechariah, as well as a passage that is found in the New Testament prophetic book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ.In the third chapter of the prophetic book of Zechariah we read of a vision with Zechariah the prophet saw concerning Joshua the high priest. Beginning with the first verse of the third chapter we read these words—“And he shewed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him. And the Lord said unto Satan, The Lord rebuke thee, O Satan; even the Lord that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: Is not this a brand plucked out of the fire? Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the angel. And he answered and spake unto those that stood before him, saying, Take way the filthy garments from him. And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment. And I said, Let them set a fair mitre upon his head. So they set a fair mitre upon his head, and clothed him with garments. And the angel of the Lord stood by. And the angel of the Lord protested unto Joshua, saying, Thus saith the Lord of hosts; If thou wilt walk in my ways, and if thou wilt keep my charge, Then thou shalt also judge my house, and shalt also keep my courts, and I will give thee places to walk among these that stand by. Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, thou, and thy fellows that sit before thee: for they are men wondered at: for behold, I will bring forth my servant the BRANCH” (Zechariah 3:1-8). Within this set of verses we find the prophet Zechariah receiving a vision from the Lord concerning Joshua the high priest—a vision in which Joshua the high priest was standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him. In other translations the word “resist” is not used, but rather the word “accuse.” Thus, when reading this passage, it becomes quite obvious that Satan stood at the right hand of Joshua to accuse him before the Lord.

Building upon this concept of Satan seeking to accuse the saints of God we must also turn and direct our attention to the New Testament book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ. In the twelfth chapter of the prophetic book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ we read of a great wonder in heaven—one that has often fascinated me in the time I have spent studying it. Beginning with the first verse of this passage we read these words—“And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars: and she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and painted to be delivered. And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven. Crowns upon his heads. And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born. And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a road of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne. ANd the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days. And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, and prevailed not; neither was their place found Amy more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him. And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death. Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the seal for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time” (Revelation 12:1-12).

I am convinced that both the account of Joshua the high priest during the days of Zechariah, as well as the saints which were mentioned in the prophetic book of Revelation were accused by Satan. The prophetic book of Zechariah reveals how Satan stood at the right hand of Zechariah to accuse him before the Angel of the Lord, while the prophetic book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ reveals how Satan stood to accuses the saints of God both day and night. I have often believed that one of the single greatest attacks of the adversary and enemy is to accuse the saints of God—whether quietly in their personal time while they are alone, or even before the Lord. It’s worth noting that Zechariah sees Satan standing at the right hand of Joshua the high priest to accuse him before the Lord, and in the prophetic book of the Revelation we again find Satan standing up to accuse the saints of God before the Lord. I am becoming increasingly convinced that Satan’s greatest accusations may very well come before and in the presence of the Lord—much like what happened in the Old Testament book of Job. If you read the Old Testament book of Job, the first thing you will read of concerns the character of Job. “There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil” (Job 1:1). The very first thing we encounter in the book of Job is the testimony of Job—the testimony which is immediately followed by the accusation. WHEN TESTIMONY IS FOLLOWED UP BY ACCUSATION! It’s quite astounding that in the book of Job we first read of Job’s testimony before the Lord—a testimony which you would think would be followed by favor, blessing, and the like. Instead of reading of testimony following the testimony of Job, we read of accusation before the throne of God, and subsequent assaults and attacks. What we also learn about Job is that during the days of the feasting of his sons and daughters, Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all: for Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts. Thus did Job continually” (Job 1:5-). What we first discover about Job is his testimony before the Lord his God, as well as the intercession he made on behalf of his family. What an absolutely incredible testimony Job had—one that I am convinced was not only before the Lord in heaven, but also before men within the earth.

There are two separate occurrences within the first two chapters of the book of Job that speak of Satan’s activity before the Lord in His presence. Beginning with the sixth verse of the first chapter we find and read these words—“Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them. And the Lord said unto Satan, Whence comest thou? Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it. And the Lord said unto Satan, hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought? Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? Thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face. And the Lord said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the Lord” (Job 1:6-12). As we come to the second chapter of the same Old Testament book we read these words concerning job after Satan had not only accused him once before the Lord, but also brought about the death of all his children, and the carrying away of his possessions. The second chapter of the book of Job opens with these words concerning Job, and that which took place behind the scenes—that which Job had absolutely no clue was even taking place. “Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord, and Satan came also among them to present himself before the Lord. And the Lord said unto Satan, From whence comest thou? And Satan answered the the Lord, and said, From going to and fro in the earth,a nd from walking up and down in it. And the Lord said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? And still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedest me against him, to destroy him without cause. And Satan answered the Lord, and said, Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life. But put forth thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse thee to thy face. And the Lord said unto Satan, Behold, he is in thine hand; but save his life. So went Satan forth from the presence of the Lord, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown. And he took him a potsherd to scrape himself withal; and he sat down among the ashes. Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? Curse God, and die. But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips” (Job 2:1-10).

What we read in the book of Job is what I am convinced is a powerful demonstration of what the accusation of Satan looks like before and in the presence of the Lord. What we read in the third chapter of the prophetic book of Zechariah, as well as what we read in the twelfth chapter of the prophetic book of Revelation are two distinct accounts of Satan accusing the saints of God—one before the Angel, and another before God in heaven. It’s worth noting that in either case we aren’t given any insight into what those accusations actually were. Within those particular accounts we don’t know what Satan accused Joshua the high priest of, nor do we know what Satan accused the saints of. IN the poetic book of Job, however, we are given insight into the accusation of Job before the Lord—namely, that he served God and remained faithful before and unto him because of that which the Lord had done for him. It’s necessary and imperative to recognize and be very much aware of this, for any time we find accusation within the lives of the saints of God, we can be absolutely certain and sure that the adversary is there behind the accusation(s). One of the most deliberate portraits of Satan we receive in the Scripture is that he stands to accuse the saints of God, and in the prophetic book of the Revelation of Jesus we read how he stands to accuse the saints of God both day and night. In other words, Satan stands to continually accuse the saints of God before His throne as he hurls accusation after accusation. We must pay careful and close attention to this, for it helps shine a tremendous amount of light on to what we read in the Old Testament prophetic book of Daniel concerning this servant of the Lord. It’s within the sixth chapter of the prophetic book of Daniel that we read of the presidents and princes seeking to find occasion and fault with and against Daniel. Essentially what they were doing was looking for dirt they could dig up on Daniel in order that they might throw it in his face before the king. It’s worth pointing out that when the princes and presidents finally found something they could use against Daniel, they presented that before and in the presence of the king. I am convinced that what we witness in the life of Daniel as the princes and presidents sought to find occasion against him is a powerful. Demonstration and manifestation of accusation being brought against us before the throne. The accusation Daniel faced was not brought before the throne of God in heaven, but before the throne of the king in Babylon.

What I absolutely love about what we read in the prophetic book of Daniel is that the princes and presidents sought to find occasion with and against Daniel, and they were unable to do so. These princes and presidents sought to find occasion whereby they might accuse Daniel before the king in order that they might dispose and get rid of him. This is ultimately what the underlying purpose and function of accusation is—regardless of whether or not it’s within your own life, or the life of another. The ultimately goal and purpose of accusation is not only to hurl condemnation toward and against you, not only to dig up dirt from your past, but to also dispose of you. Accusation never takes place in a vacuum, and there is ultimately an end game that others seek to produce as a result of such accusation. Satan accused Job before the throne of God—not to cause Job to appear bad before the Lord, for Job already had the testimony of being a perfect and an upright man, one that feared God and shunned evil. Satan’s accusation was not to change the Lord’s mind about and concerning Job, but rather to bring about the destruction of Job and that which was in his life. Satan’s first round of accusation against Job resulted in a direct assault and attack on his possessions, as well as upon his children. Satan’s second round of accusation against Job was not against Job’s family, nor against his possessions, but against his physical body and person. It’s necessary that we understand this, for the princes and presidents that are found in the account of Daniel’s life in the sixth chapter sought to find occasion against him whereby they might accuse him before the king, and as a result of that accusation, he might be disposed of. This is what is so unique about the lion’s den in the sixth chapter, for their ultimate goal and end game wasn’t merely to accuse Daniel before the king, or somehow tarnish his reputation within the realm, but to destroy him. Accusation has never and will never find its goal and purpose in and of itself, but rather in the complete and utter destruction of the saints of God. Satan stood to accuse the saints of God day and night in order that his accusations might ultimately bring about their destruction.

I can’t help but be reminded of the words of the prophet Isaiah which are recorded in the seventeenth and final verse of the fifty-fourth chapter of the prophetic book bearing his name. “No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord” (Isaiah 54:17). These words are directly linked and connected to the words which the apostle Paul writes unto the Roman congregation—words which are found in the eighth chapter of the epistle. “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit” (Romans 8:1). These words are also directly linked and tied to the words which the apostle Paul wrote in the second epistle to the Corinthian congregation as well: “Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more. Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; to wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:16-18). The prophet Isaiah emphatically declared that every tongue that rises against us in judgment we shall condiment, because this is our heritage as the servants of the Lord. The apostle Paul declared that there is therefore no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, and that any man who is in Christ is a new creation before the Lord in heaven. This does not mean that weapons won’t be formed against us, or even that Satan cannot and will not seek to accuse us before the throne of God. This does not mean that Satan cannot and will not seek to bring judgment, accusation and condemnation against us before the Lord in heaven. What’s more is that his ultimate end game is to bring about our destruction. ACCUSATION NEVER TAKES PLACE APART FROM DESTRUCTION! CONDEMNATION NEVER TAKES PART APLACE FROM DESTRUCTION! Daniel’s accusers sought to find cause against him to not only accuse him, but also to cause him to be disposed of within the realm.

One thing I love about this passage is that in the absence of fault there was faithfulness found within the life of Daniel. The question I was confronted with earlier on in this particular passage is what is found in the place of fault within your life. The princes and presidents could find no fault within the life of Daniel because he was found faithful before God and men. How incredibly intriguing it is that where they could find no fault or occasion with Daniel, they sought to become creative in their accusation toward and against him. They knew they could find no room or ground to accuse Daniel before the king based on his character or integrity, and I am struck with and by that reality. Do you bear that testimony within your life? Do you bear the testimony that others—regardless of how hard they try—can find no ground to accuse you before the Lord, or even before others based on your character and integrity. Daniel was of such a different spirit that regardless of how hard they tried to find occasion against him, they could find none. Eventually they came to the place where they realized the only way to dispose of Daniel is in matters of his God. They realized that the only way to destroy and dispose of Daniel was to somehow manipulate the king into enacting a decree that would effectively prohibit Daniel from praying. This is actually worth our time in considering, for the princes and presidents thought that the way to dispose of this threat to their existence was to prohibit prayer within the realm and kingdom. We dare not, we cannot, we must not quickly glance over or miss this, for to do so would be to miss what may very well still happen within this nation. Already within and across the world we are finding countries where being a Christian, carrying a Bible, going to church, and even praying unto the God of heaven are capital offenses punishable by death. What’s more, is that such countries are found in the same part of the world that Daniel and his Hebrew companions lived. I am convinced that it might very well be only a matter of time before this becomes a reality that is manifested within our nation. The time may very well come when laws are enacted that effectively prohibit prayer—a reality we must consider as being possible, for prayer was already removed in public schools. What happens when others can find no fault or occasion with the saints and people of God? They seek to enact laws concerning and against them regarding the Lord their God—laws that might very well touch going to church, praying to the God of heaven, carrying a Bible, and maybe even worshipping and fellowshipping within the homes of believers.

The biggest question that we must ask ourselves and face when reading this particular passage of Scripture is whether or not we will continue to pray before and unto the Lord our God—not only despite any law(s) that might be enacted within the nation, but also in the face of those who would seek to accuse and find occasion with and against us. Daniel knew of the decree of the king, and yet instead of ceasing praying unto the Lord his God, he continued to pray with his windows open facing toward Jerusalem three times a day. Within this chapter we not only find Daniel as one with whom there was no fault, but also one who was unmoved by the decrees of men. A similar reality is found in the New Testament book of Acts when the apostles were instructed to cease preaching the good news of Jesus Christ, and yet they continued to do so. The apostles continued to preach the good news of the Gospel despite the fact that they were flogged and imprisoned by the Sanhedrin. The same holds true for Paul, and Ananias, and Silas, and Barnabas who refused to quit preaching the gospel—regardless of the dangers and challenges they faced. What we find in this prophetic book of Daniel is not only a powerful statement of integrity and character within the life of Daniel, but also faithfulness as well. What’s more, is that Daniel not only proved to be faithful to the king, but also the Lord his God, as he continued praying unto the Lord his God. You would think that Daniel’s faithfulness to the king and his God would result in a much different outcome, yet that faithfulness actually positioned him within the den of lions. The question we must ask ourselves is whether or not we are prepared to potentially face our own den of lions because of our faithfulness before the Lord our God. Daniel refused to quit praying to the Lord his God knowing full well that by doing so could very well mean his death. When was the last time you prayed like that? When was the last time prayer was risky for you? We don’t know anything about that within our hearts and lives, for prayer is and has never been risky business. WHEN PRAYER BECOMES RISKY BUSINESS! Prayer was risky business for Daniel because by doing so, he was taking his own life into his hands and running the risk of being cast into the den of lions. Undoubtedly Daniel was aware of Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego being cast into the fiery furnace for refusing to bow down and worship the image of gold, and now he was facing the potential of being cast into the den of lions by continuing to pray.

I would close this particular writing by saying that there is a fundamental different between Daniel and his three Hebrew companions. When the three Hebrews companions faced the fiery furnace, they faced it together with all three of them being together in the fiery furnace. They didn’t face being cast into the fiery furnace alone, for all three of them were cast into the fiery furnace together, as they were all bound. Once in the fire, however, the three became four as one like unto the Son of God appeared in the fire with them. When Daniel was cast into the den of lions, he didn’t face it with two other companions, but alone by himself. This leads me to an important realization—the realization that there are times when our obedience and faithfulness to the Lord will be an isolated event on an island, as we not only choose to stand alone, but we also face the consequences alone. There are other times when our taking a stand will not be alone but will be with those around us What’s more, is there will be times when we might face the consequences of that stand alone as Daniel did—times when we face the den of lions alone with no one else to accompany us into it. What marks both accounts as unique is that whether it was the three Hebrew companions together, or Daniel by himself—the Lord showed up on both occasions. The Lord sent his angels to shut the mouths of the lions, and one like the Son of God appeared in the fire with the three Hebrew boys. What a powerful testimony that regardless of facing the furnace of fire or the den of lions, the Lord was there with His people. The Lord carefully watched over His saints—despite the fact that He didn’t deliver them from the furnace of fire, nor the den of lions. Let us recognize and understand that whether we face the flames together, or the lions alone, and whether the Lord chooses not to deliver us from such realities, the Lord still watches over us and will be with us. It is indeed true that the Lord can never and will never leave us nor forsake us, and that many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers them from them all—in His own way, and in His own time.

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