Out of the Mouths of Pagans and Princes

“Then the men went as a group to King Darius and said to him, ‘Remember, Your Majesty, that according to the law of the Medes and Persians no decree or edict that the king issues can be changed.’ So the king gave the order, and they brought Daniel and threw him into the lions’ den. The king said to Daniel, ‘May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!’”— Daniel 6:15–16 (NIV)

Do you remember when Jesus said, “If they kept quiet, the stones along the road would burst into cheers” (Luke 19:40 NLT)? Or the time when God used a donkey to speak to Balaam? Or even just a few chapters ago when He used a pagan king, Nebuchadnezzar, to speak truth and bring glory to His name to all the people in the vast Babylonian Empire? I love it when the Lord uses the most unlikely vessels to proclaim truth and speak His glory; when He uses “the foolish things of the world to shame the wise” (1 Corinthians 1:27 NIV).

In today’s passage, we see Him do it again. Just as He did with Nebuchadnezzar, here God speaks His glorious plan of redemption over the life of faithful Daniel. Look at what’s happening here. Remember, the corrupt and jealous officials and administrators essentially tricked King Darius into enacting a bogus decree about prayer, thus incriminating Daniel, his most trusted confidant. And if you remember, Darius expended a lot of time and energy trying to find a way out of this situation, to save Daniel, to rescue him by his own earthly, royal power . . . but to no avail. Little did Darius realize that what was meant for evil, God had plans to use for good.

And so, after realizing he had no power or control over the situation, Darius says “May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!” In the New Living Translation, it says it this way: “May your God, whom you serve so faithfully, rescue you.”

Our good old pagan king understood the essence and heart of the gospel! Just as he had no power to save Daniel, despite his royal authority, his vast earthly power and influence, his command of armies, and his immeasurable wealth, we have no power to save ourselves. We have no ability to rescue ourselves from the den of the adversary, Satan, who “prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8 NLT). And when we realize this, as Darius did, we can call out to God, “Rescue me!” And here’s the promise we receive in Scripture: "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved" (Romans 10:13 NIV).

You see, Jesus, the Lion of Judah who came as the Lamb of God, the great rescuer and redeemer of our souls, the Savior of the world, He was sacrificed to the lions in our place. He entered the lion’s den and gave His life, but three days later He came out of the den victorious, having conquered sin and death! I pray that, if you have never come to that point, that today would be the day you cry out for the Lord’s rescue!

DIG: What other instances do you see the Lord use an unlikely source to teach a deep spiritual truth or speak a powerful principle?

DISCOVER: Why were Darius’ words so meaningful? What do they point us to and how can we do the same?

DO: If you have questions about how you can call on the Lord, if you would like some guidance or someone to help walk you through this decision to give your life to Jesus, please e-mail me at DanielS@CalvaryFTL.org. If there is someone in your life you’re praying would receive Jesus, keep praying. Continue to lift them up and intercede on their behalf!