Lenten Midweek 5 2016 | Daniel in the Lion’s Den

Bible Text: Daniel 6; Luke 23


Surely you could have all been doing something else this evening.

But you’re not doing some other thing. You’re doing this thing.

You’re here in a place where Christians do what Christians do.

Praying and feasting and fasting and weeping,

And singing, and loving and living as those who have hope.


And in an age where one of our most precious resources is time,

It is pure foolishness to the world that you would spend yours here.

That you would sing songs you claim God wrote, and then put in the mouth of a young virgin, as we’ll do again this evening in the Magnificat.

That you would learn the Scriptures by heart.

That you would check with Jesus before making certain decisions.

That you would forgive without being asked.

That you would serve with no hope of a return.

Gathering around tables for dinner at six on Wednesday might not be so strange.

But gathering around this table at 8 and 11 on Sunday certainly is.

The world sees Christians do what Christians do, and it is foolishness.


But before we jump to defend our practices and sneer at a world that doesn’t get it,

We might wonder if we really get it.

As we recount the story of Daniel’s hilariously preventable condemnation, we might consider him foolish.

After all, the Lord didn’t offer one syllable about protecting him.

God didn’t speak a word about saving Daniel from lions.

All Daniel had to do, for thirty days, was pray silently in his room, and life would have continued as it did before.

So why ask for trouble?!


Daniel isn’t foolish. He’s faithful.

He knows the law. He knows the punishment.

And he knows exactly how to save himself.

“When Daniel knew that the document had been signed, he went to his house where he had windows in his upper chamber open toward Jerusalem. He got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously.”

Windows that open to Jerusalem must have provided quite a view.

And, as he looked out, I have to wonder what he saw.

He is a prophet after all, and one given to dreams and visions.

So I wonder what he could have seen that would drive him to his knees three times a day

When the punishment for doing it even once, meant being eaten alive by lions.


Well, I suspect that Daniel’s eyes see what his ears have heard.

Far long ago, far away, when we took the first of many steps away from God’s fellowship,

He came and spoke a promise.

God promised that He would send a Savior.

One who would make everyone and everything brand new.

A Savior who would rule a kingdom with no end.

A Savior who would make lions lay down with sheep. Jesus calls us sheep.


With windows open to the Holy City, Daniel can see Isaiah’s suffering servant and David’s paschal victim;

Led into the city with welcome, led out of the city with shame.

Who, having been betrayed by his own, and tried by a reluctant king,

Is now surrounded by creatures who seek to devour Him.


Daniel knows how it will be for his Savior.

And so he expects no better.

Betrayal and beasts and death.

But Daniel has read Psalm 22 like we will next Thursday.

And if he knows anything, He knows that when the last verse comes, the speaker is alive.

He knows that there is a Psalm 23.


Daniel isn’t foolish. He’s faithful.

And so he receives judgment in silence,

He utters not a word in his own defense.

But he does not stay silent.


For at the break of day, even before the stone is rolled away, Daniel speaks.

“Oh, King, live forever!”

“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”


Psalm 22 has Psalm 23

Good Friday has Easter.

Death has Resurrection

And so you, like Daniel, as the king exclaimed, “serve a living God.”

Which means that you have nothing to fear.

Not the grave

Not your peers

Not Kings and rulers. Nothing.

So go ahead and open your windows,

Look toward Jerusalem. Toward Palm Sunday

And Good Friday.

Look toward full cross and empty tomb.


After all, in our text this evening, even the King ended up praising God.

So go ahead and look foolish to the world.

It might be contagious.


About Pastor Hopkins