When I was in high school and college the Senior Pastor of the church I grew up in was a guy I watched very closely. His preaching was some of the best I’ve ever heard. His lifestyle and example were worth following. His joy and love for God and people was infectious. He probably had no idea how closely I was watching, and the difference he was making, until I took some time to tell him. In that way, I was like King Darius.
Whether Daniel realized it or not, King Darius had been paying very close attention to his life. It is not lost on me that the account of Daniel in the Lion’s Den is more about King Darius’ response than it is about Daniel’s. Look again at verse 14: “Then the king, when he heard these words, was much distressed and set his mind to deliver Daniel. And he labored till the sun went down to rescue him.” Then when it became clear that he could not rescue Daniel and in fact needed to feed him to the lions, notice the king’s response in verses 18-19: “Then the king went to his palace and spent the night fasting; no diversions were brought to him, and sleep fled from him. Then at break of day, the king arose and went in haste to the lion’s den.” When the king arrived and found Daniel still alive, the Bible says in verse 23 that, “Then the king was exceedingly glad, and commanded that Daniel be taken up out of the den.” We don’t get any report of how Daniel is feeling or what he is doing. The entire focus of the text is on the impact he has had on Darius.
If you ever get that strange feeling that someone is watching you it’s because they are. They always are. It’s probably the people you most expect, and it’s definitely the people you least expect. To be honest, I would not have thought that Darius would care much about Daniel even though he planned to promote him to second in command over the whole kingdom. Daniel is an old man with whom Darius has little in common. But there is something about Daniel that catches his attention, and Darius tells us what it is in verses 16 and 20: Daniel serves God continually.
This is a good word for us. People are always watching. If you want to make a good impression on them, and make God look good to them, continue to focus on serving Him continually each and every day.
Pastor of Discipleship Ministries