Daniel 6 - You are Never without Help if You Serve God

Turn in your Bibles to Daniel 6:1;

 

It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom one hundred and twenty satraps, to be over the whole kingdom; 2 and over these, three governors, of whom Daniel was one, that the satraps might give account to them, so that the king would suffer no loss. 3 Then this Daniel distinguished himself above the governors and satraps, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king gave thought to setting him over the whole realm. 4 So the governors and satraps sought to find some charge against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find no charge or fault, because he was faithful; nor was there any error or fault found in him. 5 Then these men said, “We shall not find any charge against this Daniel unless we find it against him concerning the law of his God.”

 

6 So these governors and satraps thronged before the king, and said thus to him: “King Darius, live forever! 7 All the governors of the kingdom, the administrators and satraps, the counselors and advisors, have consulted together to establish a royal statute and to make a firm decree, that whoever petitions any god or man for thirty days, except you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions. 8 Now, O king, establish the decree and sign the writing, so that it cannot be changed, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which does not alter.” 9 Therefore King Darius signed the written decree.

 

10 Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home. And in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days.

 

11 Then these men assembled and found Daniel praying and making supplication before his God. 12 And they went before the king, and spoke concerning the king’s decree: “Have you not signed a decree that every man who petitions any god or man within thirty days, except you, 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 does not alter.”

 

13 So they answered and said before the king, “That Daniel, who is one of the captives[a] from Judah, does not show due regard for you, O king, or for the decree that you have signed, but makes his petition three times a day.”

 

14 And the king, when he heard these words, was greatly displeased with himself, and set his heart on Daniel to deliver him; and he labored till the going down of the sun to deliver him. 15 Then these men approached the king, and said to the king, “Know, O king, that it is the law of the Medes and Persians that no decree or statute which the king establishes may be changed.”

 

16 So the king gave the command, and they brought Daniel and cast him into the den of lions. But the king spoke, saying to Daniel, “Your God, whom you serve continually, He will deliver you.” 17 Then a stone was brought and laid on the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the signets of his lords, that the purpose concerning Daniel might not be changed.

 

May God bless the reading of His word.

 

Let us pray.

 

This story is at the core of our Judea-Christian heritage.

 

If you grew up in the Church, it is certain that you heard it in Sunday school. If you you are a parent who took their kids to Sunday school it's certain that you heard the story retold by your excited children on at least one occasion.

 

We relegate the story of Daniel and the lions' den into the realm of children and Sunday school because it is exciting. It's got good guys, bad guys, lions and God.

 

While the story “plays well” to children. The story itself, the background, the politics, the helplessness of both Daniel and Darius must be heard, and understood by those of us who are far past our Sunday school days, because, while the story of Daniel and the Lions' den is a great story about God's faithfulness and ability to keep His saints in any circumstance, that story is lost on most young people who have no real experience with the helplessness experienced by the two main figures, Daniel and Darius.

 

Daniel is one of three governors put in charge of 120 satraps who administered the kingdom for the king. What's more than that, he has gained the trust of the king to the extent that the king seeks to put him over the whole realm.

 

Simply put, Daniel has power.

 

He has more power than you or I will ever likely know in this world.

 

If you asked him, it is certain that he would acknowledge that God was the One who showed him such favor and put such power in his hands, but nevertheless, Daniel is an extremely powerful man.

 

The only person who is more powerful than Daniel is the king, Darius.

 

Darius is the king of the Medo-Persian empire. The greatest empire in existence at the time. Indeed the Medo-Persian empire defeated the reigning Babylonian empire and they will go on to extend the boundaries of the empire.

 

Darius has power.

 

Daniel has power.

 

Yet we find them in the midst of a conspiracy that is meant to tie Darius' hands while sealing Daniel's death.

 

They understand that Daniel's weakness, or what they think is his weakness, is in the “the law of his God.”

 

With this understanding the conspirators tie Darius' hands by encouraging him to sign a decree that prohibits anyone from worshiping any god but the King for a period of 30 days. They implore the king;

 

“O king, establish the decree and sign the writing, so that it cannot be changed, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which does not alter.”

 

We see a similar circumstance in the case of Haman and Esther in the book of Esther. Our understanding of Medo-Persian law was that a law, once signed, could not be undone. This was done to insure that laws were not entered into lightly and that they could not be circumvented once they had been established.

 

Once Darius signed the decree he was powerless against it's dictates as well.

 

Most people would call their situation “helpless” because no one can conceivably help them and they cannot help themselves, but their situation, like the situations that we find ourselves in are not truly helpless if we are children of the Living God. Darius knows this, probably because Daniel has explained his beliefs to him. We know that Darius knows the power of the Living God, because he tells Daniel;

 

“Your God, whom you serve continually, He will deliver you.”

 

Darius' is so concerned about Daniel's safety that verses 18-20 tell us;

 

18 Now the king went to his palace and spent the night fasting; and no musicians[b] were brought before him. Also his sleep went from him. 19 Then the king arose very early in the morning and went in haste to the den of lions. 20 And when he came to the den, he cried out with a lamenting voice to Daniel. The king spoke, saying to Daniel, “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to deliver you from the lions?”

 

We go on to read in 21-22;

 

21 Then Daniel said to the king, “O king, live forever! 22 My God sent His angel and shut the lions’ mouths, so that they have not hurt me, because I was found innocent before Him; and also, O king, I have done no wrong before you.”

 

Daniel's very precise description of what happened suggest that his deliverance was not something that happened in the spiritual realm, but that it was something that was physical which he could witness.

 

Notice also that Daniel makes it clear that God's punishment would have befallen him if he had sinned against God, but also if he had done wrong before the king. This reinforces the fact that God appoints rulers over us and that we are to be obedient to those authorities as long as it does not cause us to break God's laws.

 

Daniel tells us the rest of the story in verses 23-24;

 

23 Now the king was 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 injury whatever was found on him, because he believed in his God.

 

24 And the king gave the command, and they brought those men who had accused Daniel, and they cast them into the den of lions—them, their children, and their wives; and the lions overpowered them, and broke all their bones in pieces before they ever came to the bottom of the den.

 

Those who had tried to use Daniel's faithfulness to God against him, found themselves in the same position which Daniel had just been in. Remember, we talked about how, as king, Darius was probably the most powerful man in the world. Once he had been freed from the constraint of the decree which he was bound by, he was more than able to have anyone killed that he wanted, for any reason or for no reason at all.

 

Darius was not pleased at all. Not only did he throw those who accused Daniel in the den of lions, but he also threw in their children and wives. Regardless of what gods Daniel's accusers' served, their false gods were not able to deliver them from the ravenous lions who broke their bones and devoured them before their bodies ever hit the floor. They had sinned against Darius resulting in their being thrown into the lions' den, but they also had sinned against God who did not spare them from His wrath.

 

In many ways, Daniel's testing and triumph mirror those of his friends, Meschach, Shadrack and Abed-Nego. A worldly command was broken in order to honor God as He demands to be. The breaking of that command results in a punishment which is overridden by God. God's intervention results in the leader recognizing the power of the God of the Jews, the Living God.

 

We read in 25-27;

 

25 Then King Darius wrote:

 

To all peoples, nations, and languages that dwell in all the earth:

 

Peace be multiplied to you.

 

26 I make a decree that in every dominion of my kingdom men must tremble and fear before the God of Daniel.

 

For He is the living God,

And steadfast forever;

His kingdom is the one which shall not be destroyed,

And His dominion shall endure to the end.

27 He delivers and rescues,

And He works signs and wonders

In heaven and on earth,

Who has delivered Daniel from the power of the lions.

 

Finally, the result of this attempt to cause Daniel to be disgraced has the opposite result, right?

 

We read in verse 28;

 

28 So this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian.

 

Hopefully, you can see how this story has much more applicability for those of us who left Sunday school long ago. Kids generally don't have a problem with helplessness because they usually have their parents to take care of them.

 

They know that even if the are unable to do something about their circumstances that their mom or dad will be able to do what is needed.

 

It's those of us with jobs, mortgages, and perhaps even kids of our own, that need to really read Daniel with baited breath, hanging on every word.

 

Why?

 

Because the same God who delivered Daniel from the lions' den loves you and is more than able to deliver you from even the most ravenous lions. Trials and tribulations are God's way of teaching us to trust Him and the thing of this world.

 

There are lots of things that we face as grown-ups that we are helpless to deal with ourselves. We in America are so sheltered from much of the hardship that accompanies just living in other countries. There are parts of the world were there is not enough clean drinking water. There are parts of the world where finding firewood to cook with is as great or greater challenge than finding food to cook on the fire.

 

The modern church has lost the most powerful warning of our Lord Jesus, when He told the disciples;

 

18 “If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. 20 Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you. If they kept My word, they will keep yours also. 21 But all these things they will do to you for My name’s sake, because they do not know Him who sent Me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would have no sin, but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 He who hates Me hates My Father also. 24 If I had not done among them the works which no one else did, they would have no sin; but now they have seen and also hated both Me and My Father. 25 But this happened that the word might be fulfilled which is written in their law, ‘They hated Me without a cause.’[c]

 

Today we want the world to like us, and we are willing to pervert our relationship with God in order to achieve that goal, which is the exact opposite of the lesson that Daniel teaches us.

 

If you confess Jesus as your Lord, I urge you to hold on to the story of Daniel and the lions' den not as some childhood story, but as an object lesson in how God is able to overcome the threats of the world and protect those who serve Him and love Him above anything else.

 

Hold on to your faith, especially in the bad times.

 

Be prepared to be persecuted for your faith and look forward with anticipation for how God will protect you and keep you safe.

 

Your faithfulness to God and His faithfulness to you will invariably be used by God to show Nebuchadnezzar, or Darius, or whomever, the unique and incontestable power of the living God.

 

And if you have never confessed Jesus as your Lord, I urge you to consider the fate of those who tried to go against God's servant, and thus against God Himself.

 

You see when we are disobedient to God, by either doing what he tells us not to do, or by not doing that which He tells us to do, then we have sinned.

 

The Bible tells us that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

 

Furthermore, it teaches that the wages of sin is death, but that free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus.

 

Perhaps you are feeling helpless even now.

 

Maybe you have a situation that is totally out of your control.

 

Or maybe you are even contemplating the shortness of life and that ultimate lions' den that all of us face, death.

 

You see death is not simply ceasing to exist. If it were that simple it wouldn't be that big of a deal. But Jesus tells us that those who have sinned and have not had their sins paid for by His blood go to the outer darkness, where there is crying and gnashing of teeth.

 

But there is hope.

 

If the burden of you sin is weighing upon you, I urge you tot cry out to God to give you the faith to confess Jesus as Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, because Romans 10:9-13 tell us;

 

 if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.”[f12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. 13 For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”[g]

 

Won't you do it today?

 

Let us pray.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joomla templates by a4joomla