Daniel 6 – Daniel in the Lion’s Den
By: Ben Fronczek
Read: 2 Kings 6:15-17
“When the servant of the man of God got up and went out early the next morning, an army with horses and chariots had surrounded the city. “Oh no, my lord! What shall we do?” the servant asked.
16 “Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.”
17 And Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.”
THE story has been told of how the first Russian cosmonaut, Yuri Gagarin, was instructed by Soviet premier Khrushchev to watch out for angels when he went into space in April, 1962. On his return he reported that he had seen no angels. Khrushchev is said to have replied, “Good, I knew you wouldn’t. There are no such things!”
It is all too easy to assume that what we do not see does not exist! Over and over the Bible teaches us that Spirit beings and angels are present whether we want to accept their presence or not.
I don’t know about you but sometimes that kind freaks me out knowing there could be someone even more than one present in our midst seeing all that we do and hearing all that we say.
I guess it would not bother me so much if I could live a perfect life, where I never said or did anything wrong. But if you think about it that’s why the Holy Father sent Jesus into the world to take care of the sin He knew that we would commit… and that’s why Jesus sent His Spirit into His followers to help them grow and mature and not sin. And I personally believe God sends His angels to help us whether we recognize or acknowledge that help or not.
Many ask if there are personal “guardian” angels. When Peter was released from prison by an angel (Acts 12:7-15) and he arrived at the door of the house where the brethren were staying, they did not believe it was Peter but said, “It is his angel”, assuming Peter was still locked away or dead.
In Matthew 18:10, Jesus had told His followers
10 “See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven.”
These are indications of how much personal care and comfort God is prepared to provide for those who truly fear Him and we see that in our story today in Daniel 6.
Let’s look at the story:
Read Daniel 6:1-3
“It pleased Darius to appoint 120 satraps to rule throughout the kingdom, 2 with three administrators over them, one of whom was Daniel. The satraps were made accountable to them so that the king might not suffer loss. 3 Now Daniel so distinguished himself among the administrators and the satraps by his exceptional qualities that the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom.”
This will be my final sermon from Daniel because of the rest of the book deals with visions and prophecies that Daniel receives from the Lord concerning the fulfillment of the first dream that Nebuchadnezzar had concerning the rise and fall of nations, people and power over the Jews until Jesus comes on the scene and becomes Lord of Lord and King of Kings.
This chapter is full of practical lessons which we can learn from.
Here in these first few verses we read that Darius the Mede, who has now been placed in charge of Babylon under the supreme leader, Cyrus, almost immediately saw something special in Daniel. Out of all these Satraps (or governors) he could have chosen from to lead, he recognized how special Daniel was. In verse 3 we read:
“3 Now Daniel so distinguished himself among the administrators and the satraps by his exceptional qualities that the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom. (NIV)
The NLT puts it this way:
“3 Daniel soon proved himself more capable than all the other administrators and high officers. Because of Daniel’s great ability, the king made plans to place him over the entire empire.”
The NAS which is probably has the most accurate translation says that;
“he possessed an extraordinary spirit”
Now you need to remember, at this point in time Daniel is now in his 80’s, and I think we see here one quality that made him so special, and why all the rulers liked him, and why God blesses him so.
The man had a good spirit, and/or a good attitude. It didn’t matter that he was deported from his homeland and was an alien in the service of pagan kings. The man had a good attitude, he was wise, he had a good work ethic, he didn’t go around grumbling or complaining. He seems to have spent his life in Babylon with a positive, humble, teachable, honest spirit and attitude. And because of that attitude Darius was ready to promote him to the highest position in Babylon under himself.
Do you have a good spirit? How well do you carry yourself and what kind of attitude do you have as you deal with those at work, or at home?
Are you a complainer, or someone who undermines others or someone who cuts corners? Do you hold grudges or are you envious of others.
I believe that the Lord would prefer it if we had an excellent attitude at our job at home or at whatever we do throughout our life. You will not only please our Lord, others will also take notice as well. Darius did; but unfortunately so too did some of the other satraps or governors.
Read Daniel 6:4-5
“At this, the administrators and the satraps 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. 5 Finally these men said, “We will never find any basis for charges against this man Daniel unless it has something to do with the law of his God.”
These guys are jealous and envious of Daniel so they want to destroy him by digging up some dirt on him. They begin by searching for some kind of fault in the way he was doing his job. But no matter how much they searched and checked out his job performance, they could not find any faults or corruption, or any skimming, or any negligence on his part.
How would you fair up under such scrutiny? If someone examined every aspect of how you do your job or how you conduct yourself in every area of your life? Daniel was a model servant and employee. You know what’s good about doing things right the first time and all the time? You don’t have to worry when someone looks over your shoulder to see what you are doing. If there is nothing hidden or covered up there is nothing to be found!
So these guys come up with a plan ‘B’.
Read: Daniel 6:6-9
“So these administrators and satraps went as a group to the king and said: “May King Darius live forever! 7 The royal administrators, prefects, satraps, advisers and governors have all agreed that the king should issue an edict and enforce the decree that anyone who prays to any god or human being during the next thirty days, except to you, Your Majesty, shall be thrown into the lions’ den. 8 Now, Your Majesty, issue the decree and put it in writing so that it cannot be altered—in accordance with the law of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be repealed.” 9 So King Darius put the decree in writing.”
Many scholars believe that this story is just as much about Darius as it is Daniel. These Satraps not only have it in for Daniel, here we see them set the king up by using flowery words of praise to accomplish their diabolical plan.
Here lies another lesson for us:
We have to be careful when people come to us with flowery words of praise.
It initially may sound and feel good, but be careful. Wait and see if a request is made in the next breath. These men were praising the king and figuratively patting him on the back and his ego swelled along with his head. He had been set up and was coaxed into making an arrogant and stupid law. Really how could you ever possible know if someone else was silently praying to another God if a person chose to do so secretly?
But these men knew Daniel well enough and knew what he did each day.
Read: Daniel 6:10-15 (Click on Verse to read)
I see a few lessons here in these verses:
First of all I believe here-in-lies the secret of Daniel’s wisdom, extra ordinary spirit or attitude, and success, and that was his ongoing relationship with God. Right from the beginning of this book we read about how Daniel and his companions turned to God in prayer. I believe that praying was more than a habit for Daniel; rather it was just part of an ongoing relation rather than a ritual. Daniel had a relationship with God and wanted to talk with Him, and so he did three times a day. And he wasn’t going to give that up for anyone. Its how he stayed plugged into the Lord, this is a lesson we all need to learn. How do you stay plugged in to the Lord?
Well these Satraps rat on Daniel, probably running and skipping to the king like children anxious to tattle-tail on someone. But the king was sad and in great distress, and probably realized that he and Daniel were set up. The text goes on to say that Darius did everything he could do to rescue Daniel, but unfortunately there was nothing he could do. He had allowed these men to talk him into making a rash decision and law that could not be changed.
We likewise need to be careful about making rash decisions. All the decisions we make have consequences; and some are not so good. I believe it’s important to think more about the decisions we make. Ask yourself if is contrary to God’s will or not or if someone is pushing me into making a rash decision. Even ask God to bless your decision so you can have peace with what you decided.
“So the king gave the order, and they brought Daniel and threw him into the lions’ den. The king said to Daniel, “May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!”
17 A stone was brought and placed over the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the rings of his nobles, so that Daniel’s situation might not be changed. 18 Then the king returned to his palace and spent the night without eating and without any entertainment being brought to him. And he could not sleep.”
After having Daniel placed in the lion’s den we have an interesting statement made by Darius in verse 16 he said
“Your God whom you constantly serve will Himself deliver you.”
Is this a statement of faith from this pagan king? I think so!
In the text we see how much Darius cared for Daniel. The man could not eat or sleep. Darius was really upset about all this. I think we see a good example of friendship evangelism having been done here.
I think we really see the king’s faith demonstrated in the next section.
“At the first light of dawn, the king got up and hurried to the lions’ den. 20 When he came near the den, he called to Daniel in an anguished voice, “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to rescue you from the lions?”
21 Daniel answered, “May the king live forever! 22 My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight. Nor have I ever done any wrong before you, Your Majesty.”
If Darius though Daniel was dead he wouldn’t have bothered going back to the lion’s Den the next morning and call out to Daniel.
How many times do you face what may seem like an impossible situation and just give up and walk away?
Here we see Darius’s faith in God’s deliverance of Daniel from an impossible situation. Here we see an example of hope and faith walking hand in hand.
Maybe the lesson for us here is that we should not give up (even give up on God) in what may seem like an impossible situation.
It also had to be a pretty trying experience for Daniel as well, but his convictions stood strong, and the Lord sent an angel to deal with the lions. Was it his guardian angel? I’d like to think so. God wanted him around a little longer and we see why in the final verses of this chapter
Read: 6:23-28 (Click on the verse to read)
So here again we read a proclamation of faith from a pagan king to the world; those who other-wise may have never heard about our God and the God of Daniel, of His majesty and awesomeness.
Imagine the leader of China or another world leader doing something like this today because of one man’s faith and integrity. You personally may not have the opportunity to meet or have an effect on a world leader in this manner, but what about those you come in contact with at work, or with family members, or your acquaintances. One good life can make a difference in their life.
So what are some lessons we have we learned from this man Daniel?
One’s situation in life does not necessarily have to Hinder one’s SUCCESS.
Daniel and his companions were promoted over and over and experienced God’s favor in this foreign land because they were men of integrity. They did not compromise when it came to matters of faith and their walk with God. They were brave and trusted Father God when all seemed bleak.
They were men of prayer and their lives Glorified our Heavenly Father. Those that knew these men knew that they were men of God by their actions as well as their words.
I challenge each one of you to become like Daniel; men and women of faith. If you do this I believe you will also experience God’s favor like never before. And never forget there is always someone watching over you…whether you see them or not.
For more lessons click on the following link: http://granvillenychurchofchrist.org/?page_id=566