Part 9 - Out of the Jaws of the Lion
Peter’s love for and skill at flying eventually led him to secure his pilot’s licence, an asset which would prove invaluable numerous times during years of ministry in rural Africa. On one trip in a small bush plane with a ministry colleague named Werner, Peter’s instrument panel malfunctioned forcing him to fly with the aid of only a map and compass. When thick clouds began to hide the ground, he was forced to land and re-establish their position before heading for home.
Much to their horror, the two men were greeted on the ground by a group of men in military uniforms carrying guns with bandoliers strapped to their chests. They soon realised they had drifted off course and had landed in the civil war riddled country of Mozambique! A commander emerged and summoned Peter and Werner into the nearby compound, full of bullet and shrapnel holes; Peter breathed a silent prayer and prepared for the worst.
Several hours of interrogation followed. Hundreds of questions were poured over the two men in order to validate their story. During a pause in the questioning, the interrogators left the room and Peter contemplated an escape attempt on foot. However, the 80 mile trek to Zimbabwe through a war zone seemed too dangerous and the men agreed to wait and pray. When the military officials returned, the commander addressed the detainees, “We have been in radio contact with our headquarters... everything is OK and you free to leave...”
Peter remembers the revelation that followed. “Our commander had wanted to become a pilot in the air force but for reasons that were not given, he was not successful. He still cherished the idea that pilots were the highest form of human life and were to be treated as such. From then on, I had to make every decision, “The pilot must say,” was repeated every time. And perhaps most significantly of all, the excellent runway that we had landed on had never been used by an aircraft before... but the commander had prepared it in the fond hope that someday an aircraft would land at Fingoe, and here we were. I found out later that there was not another airstrip for 100 miles in any direction. I call that Divine Intervention.”
1 The Bible is full of stories of divine intervention. One of the most striking is found in Daniel 6:13-23. What are some correlations between this story and Peter’s account of his emergency landing in Mozambique?
2 How did Daniel respond when God delivered him in Daniel 6:21-22? When Peter was released “out of the jaws of the lion” in Mozambique, what do you think he learned about God?
3 Have you ever been in a life-threatening or very dangerous situation like Daniel or Peter? How did the Lord deliver you? What did you learn about God because of it? What did you learn about yourself?
4 Psalm 46:1 describes God as a very real help in time of need. Maybe you have never faced a den of lions or regiment of soldiers. How has God proven to be of help in the “times of need” in your story?
Daniel 6 13-23
13 Then answered they and said before the king, That Daniel, which is of the children of the captivity of Judah, regardeth not thee, O king, nor the decree that thou hast signed, but maketh his petition three times a day.
14 Then the king, when he heard these words, was sore displeased with himself, and set his heart on Daniel to deliver him: and he laboured till the going down of the sun to deliver him.
15 Then these men assembled unto the king, and said unto the king, Know, O king, that the law of the Medes and Persians is, That no decree nor statute which the king establisheth may be changed.
16 Then the king commanded, and they brought Daniel, and cast him into the den of lions. Now the king spake and said unto Daniel, Thy God whom thou servest continually, he will deliver thee.
17 And a stone was brought, and laid upon the mouth of the den; and the king sealed it with his own signet, and with the signet of his lords; that the purpose might not be changed concerning Daniel.
18 Then the king went to his palace, and passed the night fasting: neither were instruments of music brought before him: and his sleep went from him.
19 Then the king arose early in the morning, and went in haste to the den of lions.
20 And when he came to the den, he cried with a lamentable voice unto Daniel: and the king spake and said, O Daniel, servant of the living God, is thy God, whom thou servest continually, able to deliver thee from the lions?
21 Then said Daniel unto the king, O king, live for ever.
22 My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions’ mouths, that they have not hurt me: forasmuch as before him innocency was found in me; and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt.
23 Then was the king exceeding glad for him, and commanded that they should take Daniel up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no manner of hurt was found upon him, because he believed in his God.
1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.