Look, I'm really not such a bad guy.
I wasn't asking for much last night.... just some dinner. I'll bet you guys had your dinners last night and you probably didn't expect much trouble getting dinner tonight. So, try to see it from my point of view, OK?
I've never had any trouble getting my dinner before. I've gotten used to the routine over these last few years: dinner is usually placed right in front of me and it doesn't take much effort for me to reach out and grab it. I'm bred to be a hunter, after all, and though I don't
exactly have to hunt anymore; I've never before faced prey that prevented me from acquiring and eating it.
But today instead of chowing down I found myself backing down. My intended dinner didn't look any different than my usual targets at first – though I'll admit he was young and seemed to be an athletic sort of guy. And it's not like he bested me. No way do I want it said that I was defeated by my own dinner.
But when Daniel stood in front of me, I didn't see the usual panic or desperation. He just stood there with an expression that said he was completely at peace. Peace? How could he have been at peace, facing me? One chomp of my incisors and he woulda been history. King Darius was so angry that he ordered the gates sealed so no one could get in or out until I took care of business. But did Daniel show any fear? Not that guy. He lifted up his hands toward the skies and prayed out loud. He confidently asked his God to protect him.
I wasn't the least bit impressed. Others have prayed before when brought into my den. Sometimes the ones that pray the loudest are the easiest to overpower. But when I swaggered up to him I found that I couldn't open my mouth. I roared as best I could through my closed mouth; that didn't shake him up at all. He stood straight and proud and met my eyes without flinching. What’s worse, my claws didn’t work either. I could extend my paws but it was like Daniel was standing behind some invisible armor; my claws were stopped inches in front of him.
How could he face me so calmly? Couldn't he see I had the power to kill him? God or no God, Daniel is just a mortal man and I am a lion; carnivorous, deadly and strong. Yet he uttered just one simple prayer and his features became serene and settled; he squared his shoulders and never once showed any anxiety. On his face I only saw acceptance and the expectation of a favorable answer to his prayer. I had to respect him, no matter how hungry I was.
In the morning, the King came back and unlocked the gate. When he saw Daniel standing unharmed in front of me, he was shocked into incoherence. He had to acknowledge that Daniel ‘s devotion to God was more than just a passing fancy. He became so unrattled that he made a decree that all men in the kingdom must respect Daniel’s God. He also impulsively arrested the men who’d talked him into having Daniel thrown in here with me. Then, he threw them into my den.
That would be you, gentlemen.
And, like I said… I’m not such a bad guy, but there is the matter of my dinner to attend to.
Ah, now there’s that fear I’d been expecting! And my mouth doesn’t seem to be closed up anymore! Look out, boys! Here I come!
Daniel 6: 10-24
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