Through the voices of those in the story
The events from the points of view of an accuser, King Darius and Daniel
I am one of the people who accused Daniel.
It’s hard to be around someone so brilliant! For Daniel is, without doubt, the King’s pet! Does he really do things better than us? Is he really a better person than us?
Of course, Daniel said he wasn’t acting under his own steam and knowledge, but his God’s. But surely – that’s just not possible! But nor is it possible for any human to achieve what Daniel has achieved – otherwise it would have been possible for me too!
I wasn’t alone. Most of us, except “Golden Boy” Daniel of course, couldn’t do anything to win the King’s favour. It was always Daniel who won the plaudits and the rewards. And now, even more salt was to be rubbed into our wounds if the rumours were true – Daniel was to be made ruler over us all!
Yes we were angry! Yes, perhaps there was jealousy. But is his so-called-God really better than the statues that we worship? Is his God really more powerful than the King?
We couldn’t help feeling we needed to nip this in the bud – but how? Daniel has no weaknesses, so we kept seeing. So we focussed on the one thing that seemed to be, according to Daniel anyway, the key to his success. His faith in his so-called God.
It was far easier than we could have dreamed. We presented the proposed law to the King forbidding anyone to worship anything or anyone but the King – and King Darius, he signed it almost without question!
Then, it was only a matter of time before we caught Daniel praying – we knew his routine. And with the law signed, there really was no way back for Daniel – not even the King could do anything!
As we’d hoped and planned, Daniel had to take his punishment – as the law decreed, he was sent to the lion’s den. And those lions wouldn’t have cared how brilliant he is. We’d beaten Daniel at something at last – and got rid of him for good!
But somehow, Daniel even had control over the lions. Somehow, he was still alive. And he claimed, once again, it was his God who kept him safe. Once more, it seems to us, he has managed to do the impossible and prove he is better than us.
And now, to make things even worse, the King has decided it’s our turn to meet the lions. And not only us, but our wives and our children must suffer too. Something tells me the lions won’t be quite so kind to us!
I am King Darius.
I knew how good Daniel is. He wouldn’t thank me for saying this though – he would say it is his God. but whatever the reason, he was and continues to be a wonderful official to me as much as he was to the two Kings before me.
I should have stopped to think when the group of leaders that work with Daniel came to me with the proposed law. I should have stopped to think whether I really should create this law.
But I acted without thinking too much. I did sign that law, and the price of my rashness was Daniel’s to pay. It was his to pay only because his faith in his God has never wavered in all the years’ service he has given to this kingdom. It’s his price to pay because those who proposed this law exploited this fact, and I, the King, was blind. And once it was signed, there was nothing I could do to stop it, no matter how hard I tried. I sacrificed Daniel, without realising it, when I signed the decree into law. He had to go to the lion’s den.
So as Daniel headed to meet his fate with the lions, all I could do is put my faith in Daniel’s God. All I could do was trust that Daniel’s trust and faith in his God would deliver him. I said that to him, and I hope he knew I really did mean it.
I felt really helpless. I couldn’t eat. I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t keep calm. I dreaded what I would find when morning came, and the entrance to the den was opened again. The torture of that night was my punishment, in my pain, my anguish, my regret. The time passed so slowly. I have never not had control – I am the King after all! But I had lost my best official and I didn’t know what to do, or even what I could do.
When morning came, nothing could stop me getting to the lion’s den at first light. I was desperate for news, yet I feared the worst. For lions never show mercy or turn down food!
But somehow, miraculously, Daniel was and is alive, and not only that, he hasn’t even had a scratch! He explained his God sent angels to protect him.
I can’t deny Daniel’s God anymore, and I’ve put my signature on a new law that we should all worship and trust Daniel’s God,
“for he is the living God, enduring for ever.
His Kingdom shall never be destroyed
and his dominion has no end.
He delivers and rescues,
he works signs and wonders in heaven and on earth;
for he has saved Daniel from the power of the lions.”
I am Daniel, but in this area they call me Belteshazzar.
I’m not from around here originally. I was born and bred an Israelite, and even now, my faith is important to me so many years after I was brought here. King Darius is the third King I’ve served, And none of it has been easy. I pray and talk with God three times a day. Without that time, I’ve no idea where I’d be – certainly not in this position with the King’s favour.
But my God is not so welcome around here. There have been brief moments when they’ve seen his power that they’ve acknowledged him, even worshipped him, but they’ve quickly forgotten my God again in favour of their traditional statues, even their King. That’s fine by me, if that’s who they chose to worship! But let me worship my God!
The Law of Moses is what I live by: “I am the Lord your God… You shall have no other God’s before me”.
But since I’ve been here, my faith and that of my Israelite brothers has been tested time and time again:
During my training, not long after I arrived, I had to fight to not eat food forbidden to me by my God, and convince them that basic rations would be better for me, and for everyone else too for that matter!
My Israelite brothers, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were thrown into a super-hot furnace for keeping faith in our God, rather than worship another statue. They were unscathed, protected by God, but the furnace was so hot the guards escorting them perished with the heat.
And I’ve lost count of the number of dreams I’ve interpreted with the help of my God, saving the skins of those who had previously failed in the same task.
All this has won me praise, higher positions and the respect of all the kings and officials I’ve served. Many might have been quite proud of all that, but really, I’m quite embarrassed. It’s my God, not me, who has been due the praise and worship.
I don’t like putting God to the test, but I can’t deny, he’s kept me and countless others safe over the years. And it’s helped me to stay faithful to God no matter how much others try to test that faith.
So when they tried to trick me into worshipping their King and tried to get me to turn my back on my God, I somehow knew I’d be safe, even with the lions. Somehow, I knew as long as I kept praying, that God would deliver me. And if not, well at least the lions would have made my ending quick!
But God has brought me through this! And the great thing is, it’s God they are praising now, not me! It’s God who has got the credit. That is as it should be.
It might not last, but for me, I’ll continue to stay faithful to God as long as I live.