Chapter 6 (Verses 1-13)
Last Sunday Belshazzar was in the banquet room and we studied about the end of the Babylonian empire, experienced at a drunken orgy. The hand of God wrote upon the wall and the greatest kingdom at that time came to an end.
In just two verses of Scripture God said… that’s it and you are finished… and we realize that the work of evil men came to an end. The work of God continues, and Daniel is still around. He is about 90 years old now. He survived the Babylonians and he’s about to start on his second dynasty.
Belshazzar, Darius and Cyrus were pagan men. Daniel was in constant danger; however, he had the privilege of leading some of these men to a knowledge of the living and true God.
Daniel’s night in the den of lions has a message for us today. It has a purpose. This episode in Daniel’s life is another illustration of the keeping power of God. In this lesson we learn how Satan is always at work with hatred and persecution. The message for us today is found in 1 Peter 5:8“”
Be sober; be vigilant because your adversary, the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.
We come now to the sixth chapter and we realize that the works of evil men come to an end. The work of God continues; Daniel is still around.
You remember when we first began studying the Book of Daniel that he was first in the eyes of the people and in this chapter, we read where he is first in the eyes of the new king.
And we have read three times in the Book of Daniel: It is said of Daniel that he was a man beloved…loved by the people around him.
Daniel, Noah and Job are on the same level. Daniel is also like two other men in the Bible: David and Jonathan. There is no mention of any evil in them. He is a man without fault and with an excellent spirit.
As we look at the first three verses, we see the advancement of Daniel. Notice the reason behind his advancement is a most interesting one, for it says that the king thought to set Daniel over the whole realm for as much as he was faithful, neither was any error found in him. And the reason for this was according to verse two that the princes might give an account unto the presidents and the king should have no damage.
1It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom an hundred and twenty princes, which should be over the whole kingdom; 2And over these three presidents; of whom Daniel was first: that the princes might give accounts unto them, and the king should have no damage. 3Then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king thought to set him over the whole realm.
This vast empire under Darius is much like modern government. The one hundred twenty princes were ripping off the king. They were stealing from him.
The Scripture says that Daniel was set in charge of everyone so that the king would not have any damage. Obviously, the princes were taking money that they collected from taxation and they were using the money for their own personal purposes.
So, he thought: I’ll take care of that. I’ll set three presidents over these one hundred twenty so they will have to report to them. Even the king recognized that the type of man that Daniel was, that he would see to honesty. No wonder they hated Daniel, for as honest as he was, they knew that they couldn’t get by with any of their wrongdoing.
God placed him there at the right time. The sixth chapter is about why Daniel was put into the lions’ den. We looked at verses 4-9, the adversaries of Daniel. We’ve seen his advancement; we see him in his proper position.
4Then the presidents and princes sought to find occasion against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find none occasion nor fault; forasmuch as he was faithful, neither was there any error or fault found in him. 5Then said these men, We shall not find any occasion against this Daniel, except we find it against him concerning the law of his God. 6Then these presidents and princes assembled together to the king, and said thus unto him, King Darius, live forever. 7All the presidents of the kingdom, the governors and the princes, the counsellors, and the captains, have consulted together to establish a royal statute, and to make a firm decree, that whosoever shall ask a petition of any God or man for thirty days, save of thee, O king, he shall be cast into the den of lions. 8Now, O king, establish the decree, and sign the writing, that it be not changed, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not. 9Wherefore king Darius signed the writing and the decree.
One of the most destructive evils you’ll ever find in your life, or in your lifetime, is the evil of jealousy. And here’s what’s going on. You’ll see him referred as THIS Daniel or THAT Daniel, and that isn’t a term of endearment. He is a foreigner; they don’t like him; he’s honest and that makes it even worse because God’s man, Daniel, has complicated the lives of these corrupted princes and they are jealous; and they have decided to get him.
Here’s this aged saint in his 80s and they’re going to see that he pays the price for serving God. The one hundred twenty other leaders, among the Medo-Persian Empire, have set themselves against him, and they decided to do away with Daniel.
The plot that they choose to do away with Daniel is an interesting one. They decided that they would investigate his life of service and they would do everything they could to find in him something that was wrong.
I’m sure they examined every situation that Daniel had anything to do with. They checked everything they could get their hands on; they went after every detail.
They determined that sooner or later they’d find something for which he could be indicted. They followed him out of envy. Their hearts were burning, out of rage.
Daniel was too careful to make a mistake; no error is recorded against him. He was not noted for any lack of judgment. Nothing on his record was bad, as Verse 4 states: Neither was there any error or fault found in him.
What Daniel lived in was worse than anything you can imagine and yet in the midst of that darkness Daniel shone brightly as a pure testimony to the grace of God, and when his enemies took their search lights and began to examine his character, they searched and looked, did everything they could to find something wrong with him, but they never succeeded.
The problem is, they can’t get at Daniel the way they determined to do it. They couldn’t find any flaw in him, so note the final conclusion of his adversaries: the best way to deal with it is to get him killed, so to get Daniel killed they have set up Daniel and have set up the king.
Then said these men, We shall not find any occasion against this Daniel except we find it against him concerning the law of his God.
Isn’t that interesting?
They thought this is our last resort because we know he has a consistent pattern of worship and if we’re going to get him, we’ve got to set him up concerning his religion. Here’s their procedure in verses 6 and 7.
6Then these presidents and princes assembled together to the king, and said thus unto him, King Darius live forever. 7All the presidents of the kingdom, the governors, and the princes, the counsellors, and the captains, have consulted together to establish a royal statue, and to make a firm decree, that whosoever shall ask a petition of any God or man for thirty days, save of thee, O king, he shall be cast into the den of lions.
Seemingly, these men rush into the kingdom to see the king as if it must be done quickly, and they catch the king off guard.
8Now, O king, establish the decree, and sign the writing, that it be not changed, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not. 9Wherefore king Darius signed the writing and the decree. 10Now when Daniel knew the writing was signed, he went to his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime. 11Then these men assembled, and found Daniel praying and making supplication before his God. 12Then they came near, and spake before the king concerning the king’s decree; Hast thou not signed a decree, that every man that shall ask a petition of any God or man within thirty days, save of thee, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions? The king answered and said, The thing is true, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not. 13Then 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. 14Then 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. 15Then 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. 16Then 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. 17And 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. 18Then 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. 19Then the king arose very early in the morning and went in haste unto the den of lions. 20And when he came to the den, he cried with a lamentable voice unto Daniel: and the king spake and said to Daniel, O Daniel, servant of the living God, is thy God, whom thou servest continually, able to deliver thee from the lions? 21Then said Daniel unto the king, O king, live forever. 22My God hath sent his angel and hath shut the lions’ mouths, that they not hurt me: forasmuch as before him innocency was found in me; and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt.
Remember the fiery furnace…that God could and would deliver him? His angel was probably the same one Nebuchadnezzar had seen in the fiery furnace, the preincarnate Christ Himself.
23Then was the king exceedingly 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. 24And the king commanded and they brought those men which had accused Daniel, and they cast them into the den of lions, them, their children and their wives; and the lions had the mastery of them, and brake all their bones in pieces or ever they came at the bottom of the den. 25Then king Darius wrote unto all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth: Peace be multiplied unto you. 26I make a decree, That in every dominion of my kingdom men tremble and fear before the God of Daniel: for he is the living God, and stedfast forever, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed, and his dominion shall be even unto the end. 27He delivereth and rescueth, and he worketh signs and wonders in heaven and in earth, who hath delivered Daniel from the power of the lions. 28So this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius, and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian.
1God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. 2Therefore will not we fear, though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea;
No matter what happened, Daniel had made up his mind to go forward. He had a consistent attitude.
Daniel was trustworthy. He had credibility. He gave his word, and everyone could count on him. He was pure. The officials of the land were determined to peek into every dark corner of his life, but they couldn’t find one accusation to lay against him for all of his 80 some years.
Daniel was a prayer warrior. Prayer was a habit with him in spite of the fact that he was a very busy man.
How often do I pray? How often do you pray?