Tuesday, November 22, 2005

OLD Daniel in the Lion's Den

Earlier in the fall, I enjoyed leading a group of men on a study in the book of Daniel. Now, I was born at Georgia Baptist Hospital (baptist at birth!) and have heard the story of Daniel in the lion’s den a lot of times. However, this fall, I learned something that I had missed all along.

All my life, I had pictured Daniel as a teenager when King Darius served him up to the lions for lunch. However, let’s do the math:

According to the Holman Bible Dictionary, Daniel was transported from Judah to Babylon in his early youth 605 B.C. The text does not indicate his precise age, but let’s assume he was in his early teens. Daniel remained in Babylon under the reign of Nebuchadnezzar (604-562 B.C.), Evil-Merodach (561-560 B.C.), Neriglissar (559-555 B.C.), Labashi-Marduk (555 B.C.), Nabonidus (555-539 B.C.) (who left son Belshazzar in charge while he was away), Cyrus (539-529 B.C.), Cambyses (529-522 B.C.), and finally, King Darius I, (522-486 B.C.).

If Daniel were, say 12 when exiled in 605, and were put into the lion’s den sometime after 522 B.C., he would have been in his 90’s when he faced the test! Daniel was faithful for nine decades – no wonder he had confidence in God.

The lessons you learned as a child take on new meaning with your life experiences. You learn new things. You have new frames of reference. When was the last time you read an old, favorite Bible story? Why not read it again with a goal to learn something new.

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