In Part 1, we answered the question “What is the Lion’s Den?” and began looking at “How Do We End Up in the Lion’s Den?” I stated that there are various pathways to the lion’s den and we would be focusing attention on four main ways, namely sin, God’s testing, enemy attack, and persecution. I shared the first two already and we will now continue with enemy attack and persecution.
Satan is always launching attacks on us, to gain a foothold and set up strongholds in our lives. Through the strongholds he is able to gain control over our attitudes and emotions. He also wages physical attacks on us to try and debilitate and weaken us with illnesses and disease to distract us from our Christian walk.
Webster’s dictionary defines persecution as ‘unjust opposition based on one’s opinion or belief.’ We recall that Daniel ended up in the lion’s den as a result of persecution from his enemies when he took a stand to obey the Lord instead of King Darius’ decree (Daniel 6, Matthew 5:10). Daniel was trustworthy, neither corrupt nor negligent. We see through Daniel’s life, therefore, that taking the decision to be uncompromising with God’s word can place us in the lion’s den.
HOW DO WE GET OUT OF THE LION’S DEN?
The first thing to recognize is that not everyone who ends up in the lion’s den will be devoured. 1 Peter 5:8b says: “…seeking whom he may devour” (emphasis mine). ‘May’ is an expression of possibility, permission, uncertainty, and hope.
The second thing to be aware of is how we came to be in the lion’s den. If the reason is either sin or persecution, these are more easily discerned. Where we may have difficulty, and require special discernment, is to differentiate between the enemy’s attack and God’s testing. The only difference is that there is prior negotiation between Satan and God in the latter case. But either way we always need to recognize that every attack of the enemy is an opportunity to prove ourselves, through God, to be victorious. No matter how we ended up in the lion’s den the only way out is through the power of the Holy Spirit (Zec. 4:6), but there are conditions that we have to meet.
In the case of sin, repentance and taking heed to obeying the word and commands of God will be two requirements. In the midst of God’s testing, Job continued to praise the Lord and to wait with expectancy for God’s deliverance. He was rewarded in that God gave him even more than he had lost during the testing. To resist Satan’s attack, we see in 1 Peter 5:5 – 9 that we must submit to authority, trust in God, and be humble, sober, and vigilant. (See also 2 Corinthians 10:4 for how we can tear down strongholds of the enemy). It is essential that we engage in warfare prayer, thus exercising our belief in the power that God has given us to “tread upon the lion and the adder….” (Psalm 91:13).
In the midst of his persecution, what was it about Daniel’s attitude that activated God’s action on his behalf? We can point to two things. One has to do with Daniel’s relationship with God prior to entering the lion’s den and the other has to do with his attitude in the lion’s den. Both are instructive. Daniel said to King Darius (Daniel 6:22), “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” (emphasis mine). In Daniel 6:23b we read: “And when Daniel was lifted from the den, no wound was found on him, because he had trusted in his God” (emphasis mine).
Finding ourselves in the lion’s den is not always the result of something we have done. On the other hand, getting out of the lion’s den is dependent on our actions and attitude. We must ask for and apply discernment to recognize why we are there and then meet God’s conditions as laid out in His word to ensure that our lion’s den experiences work together for our good (John 10:10; Romans 8:28).
“Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them all.” (Psalm 34:19).