Daniel the Prophet and the Three Young Men | Church Year Commemoration

The devotional reading for the commemoration of Daniel and the three young men comes from Concordia Commentary: Daniel, focusing on Daniel 6:20–24 (English translation 6:19–23).


Just as God saved Daniel from the lions’ den and three others from the deathly hot furnace, He has also saved you in the waters of your Baptism! Not only does the account of Daniel’s life present an example of a faithful servant living out the two kinds of righteousness, but it also points to the eternal salvation our loving God accomplished through His Son.

Devotional Reading

Daniel declares that he was saved [from the lions den] because he is righteous before God, who “found me innocent before Him” (Dan 6:23 [ET 6:22]). . . . God has regarded faithful Daniel as having fulfilled the First and Third Commandments, which address the believer’s proper worship of God. Moreover, God did not regard Daniel as having violated the Fourth Commandment, which addresses proper conduct toward human authority; Daniel confirms this when he adds, “Also before you, Your Majesty, I have committed no crime” (6:23 [ET 6:22]). Daniel is not claiming that he did not disobey the royal decree. Instead, he is claiming that his act of praying, though a violation of the decree, was not a demonstration of disloyalty to Darius. . . . 

Daniel’s dual statement that he was “found . . . innocent” by God and also “committed no crime” against the king (6:23 [ET 6:22]) affirms the two kinds of righteousness that each believer has by grace. The saving righteousness before God (coram Deo) that each believer has through faith is normally hidden from other people, but God has publicly revealed His favor toward Daniel by saving him from the lions. The believer’s righteousness before other people (coram hominibus) is demonstrated by good works, that is, deeds of love and fidelity motivated by the Gospel. Daniel’s civil righteousness was already evident to the king (6:4, 15 [ET 6:3, 14]) and even to his opponents (6:5–6 [ET 6:4–5]).

By suffering because of his righteousness, Daniel serves as a fine example of a believer who lives out the apostle’s exhortation in 1 Pet 2:12–25.

Darius’ reaction to Daniel’s reply (Dan 6:24 [ET 6:23]) reveals that he has been well-disposed toward Daniel all along. When Daniel is lifted out of the pit, he is found to be unharmed, demonstrating that he has received divine protection. The parallel to the account of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the fiery furnace is striking. In both cases, God demonstrated His power by providing complete protection from harm. The preservation of His faithful followers from physical harm and temporal death affords a glimpse of the salvation from eternal death and resurrection to eternal life that all God’s people have through faith (12:2–3).

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Devotional reading is from Concordia Commentary: Daniel, pages 321–22
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