Who’s Hungry?

By Rev. Rick Robinson

Most people are at least somewhat familiar with the Bible story of Daniel in the lion’s den. The story takes place in a land full of hungry men and beast where all these hungers will meet. A group of wicked men were hungry to see the prophet Daniel dead. He was an outsider, being promoted above them by the king. Since these men could find no wrong with Daniel in deed or even neglect that would require him to be executed, they cooked up a scheme they thought would satisfy their appetite. The constitution of their land provided that if the king made a decree, it must be followed without compromise or exception. These men knew Daniel prayed to his God three times a day, so they convinced Darius the king to sign a decree that for the next thirty days, anyone praying to any god or man except the king would be fed to the hungry lions. Once the decree was signed, they knew Daniel’s hunger for his God would not fail. When Daniel prayed, they ran to the king and turned him in.

Daniel 6:10-13
Now when Daniel knew that the document was signed, he entered his house (now in his roof chamber he had windows open toward Jerusalem); and he continued kneeling on his knees three times a day, praying and giving thanks before his God, as he had been doing previously. Then these men came by agreement and found Daniel making petition and supplication before his God. Then they approached and spoke before the king about the king’s injunction, “Did you not sign an injunction that any man who makes a petition to any god or man besides you, O king, for thirty days, is to be cast into the lions’ den?” The king replied, “The statement is true, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which may not be revoked.” Then they answered and spoke before the king, Daniel, who is one of the exiles from Judah, pays no attention to you, O king, or to the injunction which you signed, but keeps making his petition three times a day.

The king was not happy about the whole situation. His hunger was to find a way to let Daniel off the hook. He realized how foolish his decree was now, but there was nothing he could do but to send Daniel to the hungry lions. The king recognized the hunger Daniel had for his God.

Daniel 6:16
Then the king gave orders, and Daniel was brought in and cast into the lions’ den. The king spoke and said to Daniel, Your God whom you constantly serve will Himself deliver you.

Even though the king told Daniel his God would deliver him, he spent a restless night worrying about Daniel. He rushed to the lions’ den early in the morning to see if Daniel was alive.

Daniel 6:18-20
Then the king went off to his palace and spent the night fasting, and no entertainment was brought before him; and his sleep fled from him. Then the king arose at dawn, at the break of day, and went in haste to the lions’ den. When he had come near the den to Daniel, he cried out with a troubled voice. The king spoke and said to Daniel, “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you constantly serve, been able to deliver you from the lions?”

Once Darius saw that Daniel did not even have a mark on him, he declared the God of Daniel was to be feared and recognized as the living God. There were accounts of this incident recorded in other ancient writings as well. Although it is not scripture, the famous and well-respected historian Flavius Josephus wrote the following in his account.

Now when his enemies saw that Daniel had suffered nothing which was terrible, they would not own that he was preserved by God, and by his providence; but they said, that the lions had been filled full with food, and on that account it was, as they supposed, that the lions would not touch Daniel, nor come to him; and this they alleged to the king; but the king, out of an abhorrence of their wickedness, gave order that they should throw in a great deal of flesh to the lions; and when they had filled themselves, he gave farther order that Daniel’s enemies should be cast into the den that he might learn whether the lions, now they were full, would touch them or not; and it appeared plain to Darius, after the princes had been cast to the wild beasts, that it was God who preserved Daniel, for the lions spared none of them, but tore them all to pieces, as if they had been very hungry and wanted food.  I suppose, therefore, it was not their hunger, which had been a little before satisfied with abundance of flesh, but the wickedness of these men that provoked them [to destroy the princes]: for if it so please God, that wickedness might, by even those irrational creatures, be esteemed a plain foundation for their punishment.

The Bible is clear about the clash of all these hungry men and beast, and it is clear about what our hunger should be. Are you as hungry as the lions that wanted their needs met? Are you hungry for answers to the things you worry about like the king was? Are you hungry to make things happen for yourself like the men who schemed against Daniel? Are you hungry to have fellowship with God like Daniel was? A quick self-exam of your actions will reveal where your heart is in this matter. Would the king have seen in you the evidence that your God may protect you? Would the wicked need to build a scheme to trap you, or would you hand them enough to get you in trouble just by looking at the truth? Spend time with God on a regular basis and cast all your trouble on Him. He is the one who can shut that hungry lion’s mouth.

Copyright 2011 Church Growth Associates, Inc.

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