THE CROWD v THE INDIVIDUAL
15 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.”
16 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!”
17 A stone was brought and placed over the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the rings of his nobles, so that Daniel’s situation might not be changed.
There are many examples throughout history of the crowd versus the individual. Many times the individual has been wrongly treated, mis-judged, wrongly accused, misunderstood and so on.
To mention a few, we could look at: Joseph by his brothers, Lot by the Sodomites, Samson by the Philistines, Paul by the Jews…
There are many examples, but in the New Testament:
We think of Stephen the martyr, preaching the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, that brought him a stoning at the hands of those (the crowd) who wanted to shut their ears to this truth. (Acts 7/57-59).
We think of course, of The Lord Jesus Christ the ultimate example in His sinless perfection suffering at the hands of mankind (the crowd).
The great irony in the case of The Lord, was the fact that though he was taken and crucified by the free-will choices of many – it all played into God’s ordained plan. In the sense that His wisdom and prescience, decided that as man would do this – it would be the very thing that would liberate man from the dominion of sin and eternal separation from God.
It was God giving Himself to meet His own requirements for an eternally efficacious sacrifice for sin.
There is always an inconclusive tension between man’s free will choices and God sovereignly ordaining that certain things should come to pass.
It is of course, the age-old theological debate that will always end in us knowing IN PART.
Whereas for God the knowledge of how this works is, as they say, ‘A breeze’.
Being convinced of the personality, character and deeply benevolent heart of Our Heavenly Father – we ought to prove it, by believing Him even when we don’t understand.
We shall not understand eternal matters fully until fully in eternity.
Daniel was thrown to the lions – the crowd had decided he must be – and used a ‘politically correct’ decree to see him put there.
We are not told what was going on internally with Daniel, as he ventured into that den to face the lions.
The devil since then and before, walks about like a roaring lion…
1 Peter 5:8
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.
Notice the good advice given to prevent his unseen, but real presence, having sway over us – Be sober, be vigilant…
We are to keep a proper watch over our minds as we yield to God – this keeps us insulated from the devourer, as we remain fixed on The Lord. (James 4/7).
You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. (I John 4/4)
Darius wasn’t keen, to say the least, that Daniel should be put as a pigeon amongst the cats, but a law and it’s unrighteous application to Daniel’s case prevented Darius from freeing Daniel.
It was nothing short of a miracle that Daniel was not devoured by the hungry beasts.
Darius issued a decree that ‘he only should be worshipped’ – that’s what it boiled down to.
And his word once written could not be altered.
It’s wonderful to know that if a sinful human king had to keep the word he had written, how much more is the Word of our Heavenly Father, The King of Glory, written forever and cannot be broken. (John 10/35)
He has promised Eternal Life to those who repent and believe and His word cannot be broken – it is decreed forever.
God’s Word is not some whimsical law written to re-enforce God’s ego (He doesn’t have a sinful ego). It is the Word of God that shall never pass away. (Matthew 24/35)
The result of Daniel’s innocence was that the angel of God shut the mouths of the lions.
And in case we think they had their teeth removed before Daniel got there, here is the result when the false accusers, were subsequently cast into the den by the same King who, as a result of seeing Daniel’s survival – had a demonstration of the power of God Almighty shown to him.
And before they reached the floor of the den, the lions overpowered them and crushed all their bones.
If we read the whole chapter and more, we will discover, as with the whole Word of God, many lessons both for this life and the next.
The crowd versus Daniel – when the crowd seems to win. In the crucifixion of The Lord Jesus, when the crowd seems to win. In the life of Stephen the martyr when the crowd seems to win.
When in actual fact the victors in all three examples is Stephen, Daniel and The Lord Jesus Christ – simply because the eternal purposes of God had been served.
So that whether deliverance in this world – Daniel.
Or deliverance for the next – Stephen.
They both were winners through The One who conquered the crowd’s inflicted crucifixion – demonstrating deliverance in this life, (returning from the dead), whilst releasing the gift of eternal life to all who would believe, thus serving that eternal purpose of God.
The Lord your God in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.”