Daniel 6:22-23 (NIV 21-22)
Which lion's mouth has God shut in your life? Observe this verses:
"Daniel answered, "May the king live forever! My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight. Nor have I ever done any wrong before you, Your Majesty"
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Could you say with Daniel that God has shut the mouths of the lions in your life? That God has declared you innocent?
Maybe your first reaction is, "but I've never been in a den of lions!". Then we invite you to read the previous message, where we saw many "lions" that aren't exactly the same as Daniel's, but as deadly as them. Some lions that attack us could be:
- Satan, who "prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour" (his "fangs and clows" are sin and temptation)
- Satan's attacks on our lives (as it happened to Job)
- Persecution and slander (as it happened with the people of Israel, king David, the apostle Paul, the church)
- Evil leaders and false prophets (as it happened with Martin Luther, with other reformers, as it happens with the Palestinians)
We have mentioned some of these "lions" in our live, in other messages. How the Lord Jesus set us free from atheism and ungodliness (Daniel 1:10-13, 1:17-21, 2:24-26, 6:3) from fornication, adultery and vices (Daniel 1:8-9) from infirmity (Daniel 1:17-21) from prison (Daniel 1:17-21) from unbelief (Daniel 2:14-16) from persecution (Daniel 2:14-16) from dead works (Daniel 2:19-23) and from confusion and deceit (Daniel 6:3)
Maybe you have not being such a sinner as I've been. Maybe you believe that you have never sinned. Then you have never been in the need of "liberation". But if you can identify yourself as another sinner, if this verse is in your Bible:
"[There is no difference] ... for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" Romans 3:23
... then maybe you want to be delivered from your own "lions". The same God who works with us, and who worked with Job, king David, Daniel the prophet, Paul the apostle, Luther the reformer and many others, the same God wants to set you free. But the first thing you need is to identify your lions, the den where you are, it means which is your sin, your situation, the trial you are going through.
When you go to a hospital, there is a phase of examination - maybe a blood sample, a radiograph, etc. - to find out what's your illness, to make a diagnosis. Then you will be prescribed a treatment, maybe some medicines or an operation eventually. The same thing happens when you need deliverance from something: you need to know what your chains are, which ones are your "lions" in your "den". Of course, it is necessary to know the physician, the "angel" who will shut the mouths of the lions.
Listen to Daniel's answer: "My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me". "His angel" is a translation of Aramaic "malakhé" - a compound of "malák" ("angel" in both Hebrew and Aramaic) and the suffix of possessive of the 3rd person in aramaic, "-e", meaning "his" in English. As Daniel puts it and as you read in the English translation, it seems that God reigns over one angel only. But the Scripture mentions millions of angels, whole angelic hosts. What's that which is special about this "angel"? Why can't we read, "one of His angels"?
Let's begin with a parallel. This is not the first time this angel appears in the book of Daniel. We have dealed before with another intervention of this angel in favor of Daniel friends, which were in the burning furnace. Observe those verses:
"Then King Nebuchadnezzar leaped to his feet in amazement and asked his advisers, "Weren’t there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire?"
"They replied, "Certainly, Your Majesty"
"He said, "Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods"
This "fourth man that look like a son of the gods" was called also "malakhé" in Daniel 2:38. And when Paul the apostle is testifying about the one who set him free from the mouth of the lion, he calls Him "Lord" (from Greek "kúrios", 2 Timothy 4:17) There are some attributes of this "angel" that make him totally different to the angels that God created, and that show that he is a "theophany" (see the NOTE at the end to know some of the attributes)
A "theophany" is the appearance of God in a visible form before humans. It is a compound of "Theós" - God - and "fáino" - to appear, to show itself, to shine. The "angel of the Lord" is the shape in which God has shown Himself and still shows Himself to us humans, who can't see God. How does He do? Observe this writings:
"But," he said, "you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live"
These were God's words to Moses, and many believers know them, even some of them thought they would die, because they saw God. Why did some people see God and didn't die?
"No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him know"
The apostle confirms Exodus 33:20 when he says that "no one has ever seen God". But he shows us also a way to see God: His Son, from His own substance and with the same divine attributes, "has made Him know".
"The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth"
This "Word" (from greek "lógos") is the Lord Jesus Christ, God who became human being. And the "Angel of the Lord" or "theophany" is also the Lord Jesus Christ, God who became human being and showed Himself both in the OT and the NT.
Can you see the glory of God? Have you got a revelation about how many believers in the OT saw Our Lord Jesus Christ? Let me show you an abridged list:
- Abraham (Genesis 18:2, 10, 13-15; Genesis 22:11-12)
- Moses (Exodus 3:2-4)
- Joshua (Joshua 5:13-15)
- Gideon (Judges 6:11-12)
- Manoah and his wife (Judges 13:3,9,11)
- Elijah (1 Kings 19:4-7)
- Sadrach, Meshach and Abed Nego (Daniel 3:25)
- Daniel (Daniel 6:22)
- Zechariah (Zechariah 3:1-4)
Jesus came to all these believers to strenghthen their faith, to lead them, to give them the word of God or to deliver them from death. If you have heard that Jews are no longer "people of God" because it is the church now, then you know you're hearing Satan. The truth is that Jesus worked in and through Abraham and Moses. He was the one who lead Israel out of Egypt, the one anointing Joshua to take the promised land, the one who is coming for Israel also, as He comes for His church. He ministered the Jewish believers, as He did with His apostles and followers. And He is doing it still.
When Daniel says that he "was found innocent in his sight" and "nor had he ever done any wrong before the king" he is revoking the royal decree. In conformity with the edict, Daniel was guilty. But there is a higher law, over any human law, which is God's. The Lord knew that Daniel was in the lion's den because of an unjust accusation, accused on the basis of his love of God and his obedience to Him. Besides, as the result of an unjust and absurd law, which the king signed because he was manipulated. God doesn't approve injustice.
Daniel knew this word of God:
"If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations on earth"
"The Lord will grant that the enemies who rise up against you will be defeated before you. They will come at you from one direction but flee from you in seven"
The royal decree was like nothing for God. Daniel's enemies were defeated, and the king proclamed instead of the unjust edict, a decree that ordered every one to fear and revere Daniel's God.
Jesus Christ was with Daniel to deliver him from those lions, as He was with his friends to save them from the burning furnace, with Elijah to save him from the evil queen Jezebel, with Joshua before the conquest of Jericho - and of the land of Canaan - with Moses, to send him to Pharao so that he would let Israel go, with Abraham to ensure him the promise of an heir in his very old wife, Sarah... Everything is possible for Our Lord.
Maybe you are thinking that Daniel, Elijah, Moses or Abraham were very special and holy people, chosen by God to do great things, and that you are a sinner. Maybe you are right. But it is no obstacle to God, not really an unsolvable problem for the Almighty.
Observe this verse:
"He [Jesus our Lord] was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification"
This verse is in a chapter that is talking about Abraham and about how God validated Abraham's faith - as he did with Daniel:
"Without weakening in his faith, he [Abraham] faced the fact that his body was as good as dead - since he was about a hundred years old - and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. This is why "it was credited to him as righteousness".
There are two keys in this chapter:
1) Abraham's FAITH was credited to him as righteousness
Abraham lived in a totally pagan world, alienated from God. Both he and his wife Sarah were elder - besides, Sarah was barren, which means that even in the normal age to conceive, she couldn't. Anything which Abraham could perceive with his senses told him, "it is impossible for you and Sarah to have a son". Anything that Abraham could logically, rationally think told him, "it is impossible for you and Sarah to have a son". If Abraham would have asked some physician, scientist, philosopher, any scholar of any kind, versed in the highest level of human knowledge, most probably they should answer him, "it is impossible for you and Sarah to have a son".
But "the father of our faith" didn't trust his senses, his own reason or the opinion of others, in spite of their expertise or their wisdom. He trusted God, with a faith which was deemed as ridicule by his wife, and should sound inconceivable to anyone who would listen to him.
Do you want that kind of faith which is above all, the kind of faith that "God credites as righteousness"? Observe the second key:
2) Our FAITH in the living Christ will be credited to us as righteousness
Jesus Christ came to justify us sinners. Read again the last verse in Romans 4:
"He [Jesus our Lord] was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification"
Jesus died for our sins, He was delivered because of our transgressions, He was the Lamb of God, slain for our redemption. When you accept the blood of the cross on your life, even when you are still in your sin, you are not a sinner before God. He declares you a saint when you are still a sinner, only if you are a sinner who receives Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.
And Jesus Christ rose from the death; His resurrection is our justification. When you believe that Jesus lives, this living Christ is your justice, your FAITH in Him is credited as righteousness to you, in the same way that Abraham's FAITH was.
If you have not yet received Jesus and you are under siege because of some particular "lions", let me tell you: the same God who delivered Daniel from the lions' den, and his friends from the burning furnace, the same God has pardoned and saved millions sinners in this world from the dawn of mankind. He wants to forgive you, save you, set you free from your sins and become your Lord and Savior. You only need to pray to Him, confess your sins and ask Him to save you, and to be your God.
Don't wait any longer! Receive Jesus, who will deliver you from any lion's den where you could be!
In the love of Christ, your brother
PS. Jesus comes quickly!
Angel of the Lord:
1) receives worship: Judges 13:20
2) God's name is in him: Exodus 23:21; Judges 13:18 and Isaiah 9:6
3) is identified as God himself (angel = Lord) : Genesis 32:24-30; Exodus 3:2-6; Judges 6:22-23; Judges 13:22; Ecclesiastes 5:6; Daniel 3:28; 6:22; Zechariah 3; Malachi 3:1
4) he shows divine attributes: omnipresence (Psalms 34:7) power to pardon sins (Exodus 23:21) power to justify (Zechariah 3:4)
1) receives worship: John 20:28
2) the name of God is in him: Emmanuel (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23.25) Jesus ("Jehova es salvation", Matthew 1:21) The Lord (Revelation 22:21)
3) is identified as God himself (Jesus = Lord) : John 1:1-3, 14,18; 2 Corinthians 4:6; Titus 2:13; 1 John 5:20
4) he shows divine attributes: Deity (Matthew 26:63-64 see Isaiah 9:6) power to pardon sins (Mark 2:5-10) power to give life back (John 6:39-40; 11:25) baptizes with the Holy Spirit (Mark 1:8; Acts 2:33) Creator of the Universe (the "lógos" in John 1:1-3)