Daniel 6:4, 10-16, 25-27 (NIV)
Daniel chapter 6 is one of my very favorites. It tells us how King Darius set up 120 men to be officers in his kingdom, with three Governors over them – one of those Governors being Daniel. Daniel did such an outstanding job that Darius was planning to set him up over the whole kingdom. This apparently did not sit well with the other officers and Governors. In verse 4 we are told that they “tried to find grounds for charges against Daniel in his conduct of government affairs, but they were unable to do so. They could find no corruption in him, because he was trustworthy and neither corrupt nor negligent.” So they decided that the only way they could get something against him was with an issue dealing with the law of his God – using his love for and dedication to his God.
They went together as a group to King Darius and appealed to him with flattery. It worked, because they were then able to convince him to issue a decree that anyone praying to any man or god, except to the king himself for 30 days, should be thrown into the lion’s den. At their urging, the king put it in writing in such a way that it could not be repealed.
Verse 10 says: “Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God just as he had done before.” The second half of that verse cries out to us – not only about our loyalty to the Lord, but also to our own spiritual boldness.
It is obvious that Daniel was very loyal to God. He not only prayed and prayed often, but so much on a predictable schedule, that his foes could easily trap him. Even after the decree had been made publicly known, Daniel still prayed openly, in front of his windows, unashamedly on his knees. He did it “just as he had done before”.
Verse 11 says: “Then these men went as a group and found Daniel praying and asking God for help.” I believe this means Daniel was seeking God’s guidance. He knew what the decree had stated, knew that he would be found guilty and what the result would be.
Daniel could have gone to his home behind closed doors and shaded windows; or, he could have changed his times of prayer so no one would see him; or, even followed the decree just to get along. But he was bold in his love for God. Any of those actions would have been the easy way out, but not much of an example, not much of a statement of faith.
Consequently you will read in verses 12-15 how the men returned to the king and cleverly got him to confirm his decree and that it could not be revoked – then they told him Daniel was ignoring his decree. Because he cared for Daniel, the king was very upset. He realized he had been played and even tried procrastinating. But, the men persisted and came back to him reminding him the decree could not be changed.
In verse 16 it says: “So the king gave the order, and they brought Daniel and threw him into the lion’s den. The king said to Daniel, ‘May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!’” This tells us that king Darius, Daniel’s employer knew of Daniel’s devotion and love for God. Daniel’s co-workers knew too, that is how they were able to trap him.
Do your boss, co-workers, family and friends know that you are a Christian? Are you serving God “continually” so that others will recognize you are a Christian? If they do, what kind of an example are you to them? Is it in a positive way that they too might desire to be a follower? Or, do you come across as a hypocrite?
We know the story of how Daniel was protected in the lion’s den and came out unscathed. As a result of Daniel’s faithfulness, look at the glory given to our God! Verses 25-27 read: “Then King Darius wrote to all the peoples, nations and men of every language throughout the land: ‘May you prosper greatly! I issue a decree that in every part of my kingdom people must fear and reverence the God of Daniel. For he is the living God and he endures forever; his kingdom will not be destroyed, his dominion will never end. He rescues and he saves; he performs signs and wonders in the heavens and on the earth. He has rescued Daniel from the power of the lions.’”
As Christians, we should all strive to have our lives reflect our Savior in such a way that He receives glory – that when others watch our lives unfold every day we are a positive example to them.
Written by Karran Martin
September 28, 2018