“At the king’s command, the men who had falsely accused Daniel were brought in and thrown into the lions’ den, along with their wives and children. And before they reached the floor of the den, the lions overpowered them and crushed all their bones.” – Daniel 6:24
Now, before I touch on this verse I’d really love for you to read the rest of Daniel 6 so you have some context, but if you can’t here are the cliff notes.
In one of the most ironic and odd Bible stories we tell our children before they go to bed, this is the classic story of Daniel and the lion’s den.
Daniel is a highly regarded prophet of God and a really, really, really good one at that. At this time in his life he is a high ranking administrator and because of his success not well liked by some people. As a result, his critics look to catch him breaking a law they convinced the King to pass banning the kingdom from praying to anyone except the king for the next 30 days.
Daniel being a strong man of Faith did not budge in his devotion to God and as a result was sentenced to be eaten alive by lions. The king himself was anguished at having to do this, but the law he passed was unshakable. So down in the pit of lions Daniel went for the night as the king went home to try and sleep.
At the break of day, Scripture says, the king rushed back and found Daniel still alive in the den. Daniel’s exact response was “O king, live forever! my God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have no hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight. Nor have I ever done any wrong before you,O king.” (Can you see why this dude was loved? )
However, here is where we jump into the verse above.
After hugging Daniel and most likely apologizing for the whole lion thing, he turns his attention to the yahoos that forced the king’s hand to kill this Godly man.
As we read, the punishment seemed almost fitting. Take the punishment you tried to inflict on an innocent man and apply it the person who deserves it. However, we notice that it wasn’t just the men that suffered the punishment. It was the entire family that was mauled by the lions and whose bones were crushed.
Now wait a minute. That doesn’t seem fair. What did the kids and wives do?
In that culture this was very common. You see, it all came down to eliminating any and all threats to the throne. So instead of killing just the men and running the risk of the sons growing up to seek retribution, the king just eliminated everyone involved so he didn’t have to worry about keeping up with all the offspring.
So as a result the family of these men also received the punishment for their actions. They were collateral damage.
Don’t kid yourself. This still happens all the time today.
Families and loved ones suffering the consequences of someone else’s actions, mistakes, slip-ups, decisions…sin. Lives mauled to pieces as collateral damage.
- It’s the couple that gets a divorce because they “fell out of love” who have to watch as their kids are turned to dust through the process.
- It’s the husband that decides to gamble his paychecks away thinking it will only affect him who then has to live through the “lions” of distrust and financial ruin along with his wife.
- It’s the teenager who believes that “everyone is drinking so I should too” who soon finds out that going to college or getting a job is a lot harder with a DUI and a criminal record. Not to mention the devastation of a mom who just had to post bail for their child.
We do not live life in a vacuum. Our actions, decisions, and their effects are not isolated to only us. They ripple out to many, many, many more people.
Without a doubt we should desire to remove sin in our life for the sake of our relationship with Christ, but additionally we should be spurred on by the families we love.
I don’t know of anyone that would be excited to see a hungry lion being brought home.