Counting the Cost // Part 3
Hebrews 11:33 mentions the faith of Daniel who “shut the mouths of lions.” We are again reminded that any faith displayed by man is a result of the grace of God. When we read this unprecedented story of Daniel being thrown into the lion’s den, it is a glorious display of God’s power and protection. It was actually God who shut the mouths of the lions. However, God did this miraculous deed in order to reward Daniel for his faith and obedience (see Daniel 6:22).
In the book of Daniel, chapter 6, we see that Daniel was thrown into a den with a pride of vicious, hungry lions for an entire night. To be sure that he would not escape, a stone was placed over the mouth of the door and the king sealed it with his signet ring. The next morning the king discovered that Daniel was still alive and ordered that he be lifted out of the den. Daniel’s account of that evening with the beasts was that God sent an angel who shut the mouths of the lions. When the king threw the men and their families who had falsely accused Daniel into the same den, the lions “overpowered them and crushed all their bones before they reached the floor” (Daniel 6:24).
Could Daniel have avoided this trial in the first place? Yes! A decree had gone out that for one month no one was to pray to any god or man other than the king, or he would be thrown into the lion’s den. Daniel could easily have rationalized that God would understand if he did not pray for a month so that he would not lose his life. At the least, he could have prayed more secretly rather than praying three times a day in front of an open window (see Daniel 6:10). But instead, as he counted the cost, Daniel knew that the most important thing that he was to do each day was to pray. And nothing and no one was going to interfere with this priority in his life. Even the threat of a death penalty did not stop him from praying.
I think many of us are convicted when we read this story. How many reasons do we come up with as to why we can’t pray more? I don’t have time. My roommates or co-workers will see me praying and mock me. It may jeopardize my job security. How many times have you hidden your faith from others in order to protect yourself in some way? How many times have you rationalized a disobedient act, justifying it by thinking that God will understand why you needed to disobey Him this time? Daniel counted the cost. He knew that disobeying God was a greater risk than risking his own life. It jeopardized his close relationship with God. It marred the witness of God’s glory and honor. He knew that nothing was worth going against God’s will, even if it meant being torn apart by lions. Yes, Daniel was truly a great man of faith. Because of his faith, God shut the mouths of lions (see Hebrews 11:33). If we step up and obey God no matter what the cost, we may experience God doing some miraculous things to protect and provide for us. I say “may” because as we will see in Hebrews 11:37, many saints suffered painful deaths at the hands of persecutors. Even today, there are those facing torture and death rather than renouncing their faith. But we will talk more about this when we come to Hebrews 11:35-38.
Today’s Bible Reading: Daniel 6