GOD CAN RESCUE HIS FAITHFUL SERVANTS FROM TREACHEROUS ENEMIES – EVEN FROM THE MOUTHS OF LIONS
Peter tells us “Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour” (1 Pet. 5:8). But as we see in the famous story of Daniel in the Lions’ Den – our God is powerful to save and deliver! We should not be surprised when we face opposition and attacks from the corrupt world system. We might even find ourselves in a desperate predicament despite our innocence and integrity. We should be inspired by the faith and the courage and the calm of Daniel whose testimony was only enhanced by his dangerous trials. What an impact God can produce from such a faithful witness. “He is the living God and enduring forever, and His kingdom is one which will not be destroyed, and His dominion will be forever.”
Bruce Hurt: This chapter marks the end of the “historical” (or narrative) section of Daniel and prepares us for the great prophecies in Daniel 7-12, prophecies that form the “back bone” or foundation for all other Biblical prophecies dealing with the last days that precede and terminate in the Second Coming of the Messiah.
GOD CAN RESCUE HIS FAITHFUL SERVANTS FROM TREACHEROUS ENEMIES – EVEN FROM THE MOUTHS OF LIONS
I. (:1-9) CONSPIRING AGAINST DANIEL –
GOD’S FAITHFUL SERVANTS COME UNDER ATTACK
A. (:1-3) Administration of the Kingdom
1. (:1-2) Delegation of Authority
“It seemed good to Darius to appoint 120 satraps over the kingdom, that they should be in charge of the whole kingdom, 2 and over them three commissioners (of whom Daniel was one), that these satraps might be accountable to them, and that the king might not suffer loss.”
MacArthur: They were responsible to prevent loss from military revolts, tax evasion, or fraud.
2. (:3) Distinguishing of Daniel
“Then this Daniel began distinguishing himself among the commissioners and satraps because he possessed an extraordinary spirit, and the king planned to appoint him over the entire kingdom.”
Daniel was elevated to a very high position in the kingdom; the other native Babylonian leaders were jealous of his power
MacArthur: Apparently, God wanted him in the place of influence to encourage and assist in the Jews’ return to Judah, since the return was made in Cyrus’ first year (539-537 B.C.), right before the lions’ den incident.
Wiersbe: They opposed Daniel for several reasons, including just plain envy; but their main concern was financial. They knew that with Daniel in charge, they wouldn’t be able to use their offices for personal profit and would lose their share of the graft that could go into their pockets. It’s also likely that these younger men resented an older man – and a Jewish exile at that – telling them what to do and checking on their work.
B. (:4-5) Accusations by Daniel’s Envious Enemies
1. (:4) No Legitimate Faults
“Then the commissioners and satraps began trying to find a ground of accusation against Daniel in regard to government affairs; but they could find no ground of accusation or evidence of corruption, inasmuch as he was faithful, and no negligence or corruption was to be found in him.”
Quite a contrast to the political leaders we are familiar with today where corruption is rampant and it is relatively easy to find fault
2. (:5) Looking for a Religious Snare
“Then these men said, ‘We shall not find any ground of accusation against this Daniel unless we find it against him with regard to the law of his God.’”
Bruce Hurt: Integrity (from “integer” = the whole of anything, a whole number not a fraction – think “whole character” not a fraction of one!) speaks of the unimpaired state of one’s mind and heart, of moral soundness and purity, of incorruptness, of uprightness, of honesty. Just as we would talk about a whole number, so also we can talk about a whole person who is undivided. A person of integrity is living rightly, not divided, nor being a different person in different circumstances. A person of integrity is the same person in private that he or she is in public. Integrity has the same root word as does the word integrated. A leader of integrity has taken the principles that govern his life, internalized them, and integrated them into every area of his life. Integrity is not like a weathervane that changes direction with every shift of the social winds, as Daniel will soon dramatically demonstrate.
C. (:6-10) Appeal to the King’s Ego to Trap Daniel
“Then these commissioners and satraps came by agreement to the king and spoke to him as follows: ‘King Darius, live forever! 7 All the commissioners of the kingdom, the prefects and the satraps, the high officials and the governors have consulted together that the king should establish a statute and enforce an injunction that anyone who makes a petition to any god or man besides you, O king, for thirty days, shall be cast into the lions’ den. 8 Now, O king, establish the injunction and sign the document so that it may not be changed, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which may not be revoked.’ 9 Therefore King Darius signed the document, that is, the injunction.”
II. (:10-15) CATCHING DANIEL IN VIOLATION OF THE DECREE –
GOD’S FAITHFUL SERVANTS MUST REMAIN LOYAL IN THE FACE OF DANGER
A. (:10-13) Man of Integrity
1. (:10-11) Guilty of a Consistent Pattern of Prayer
a. (:10) Consistent Pattern of Prayer
“Now when Daniel knew that the document was signed, he entered his house (now in his roof chamber he had windows open toward Jerusalem); and he continued kneeling on his knees three times a day, praying and giving thanks before his God, as he had been doing previously.”
Quite a pattern of disciplined worship and prayer
Walvoord: Daniel in his prayer life followed the inspired instructions of Jeremiah addressed to the elders, priests, prophets, and all the people of the captivity (Jer 29:1) . . . The custom of praying toward the temple in Jerusalem was adopted by Solomon (cf. 2 Ch 6:34-39) and continued until the new instruction given by Christ to the Samaritan woman in John 4:20-24. Prayer thrice daily is mentioned in a Psalm of David (Ps 55:16-17).
Donald Campbell: Daniel 6 sets before us the example of a man who possessed the “invisible means of support,” the “inner resources” that gave purpose to his life, molded his conduct, and sustained him in adversity. Contemporary man would do well to study again this well-known episode and learn the secrets of living happily in a stress-filled society.
b. (:11) Conspiracy to Charge Daniel with Violation of King’s Decree
“Then these men came by agreement and found Daniel making petition and supplication before his God.”
2. (:12-13) Getting the King to Condemn Daniel
a. (:12) Laying the Trap
“Then they approached and spoke before the king about the king’s injunction, ‘Did you not sign an injunction that any man who makes a petition to any god or man besides you, O king, for thirty days, is to be cast into the lions’ den?’ The king answered and said, ‘The statement is true, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which may not be revoked.’”
b. (:13) Springing the Trap
“Then they answered and spoke before the king, ‘Daniel, who is one of the exiles from Judah, pays no attention to you, O king, or to the injunction which you signed, but keeps making his petition three times a day.’”
B. (:14-15) King in a Bind
1. (:14) Looking for a Loophole
“Then, as soon as the king heard this statement, he was deeply distressed and set his mind on delivering Daniel; and even until sunset he kept exerting himself to rescue him.”
2. (:15) Locked Into His Legislation
“Then these men came by agreement to the king and said to the king, ‘Recognize, O king, that it is a law of the Medes and Persians that no injunction or statute which the king establishes may be changed.’”
III. (:16-18) CONFINING DANIEL IN THE LIONS’ DEN –
GOD’S FAITHFUL SERVANTS CAN FIND THEMSELVES IN THE LIONS’ DEN
A. (:16a) Abandonment
“Then the king gave orders, and Daniel was brought in and cast into the lions’ den.”
Wiersbe: The lions’ den was a large pit divided by a moveable wall that could be pulled up to allow the lions to go from one side to the other. The keeper would put food in the empty side and lift up the wall so the lions would cross over and eat. He would quickly lower the wall and clean the safe side of the pit. The animals weren’t fed often or great amounts of food so that their appetites would be keen in case there was to be an execution.
B. (:16b) Assurance
“The king spoke and said to Daniel, ‘Your God whom you constantly serve will Himself deliver you.’”
C. (:17) Authentication
“And a stone was brought and laid over the mouth of the den; and the king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the signet rings of his nobles, so that nothing might be changed in regard to Daniel.”
D. (:18) Anxiety
“Then the king went off to his palace and spent the night fasting, and no entertainment was brought before him; and his sleep fled from him.”
IV. (:19-24) CELEBRATING DANIEL’S DELIVERANCE –
GOD’S FAITHFUL SERVANTS TESTIFY TO GOD’S DELIVERANCE
A. (:19-20) Trepidation of the King
1. (:19) Investigation
“Then the king arose with the dawn, at the break of day, and went in haste to the lions’ den.”
2. (:20) Inquiry
“And when he had come near the den to Daniel, he cried out with a troubled voice. The king spoke and said to Daniel, ‘Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you constantly serve, been able to deliver you from the lions?’”
B. (:21-22) Testimony of Daniel
“Then Daniel spoke to the king, ‘O king, live forever! 22 My God sent His angel and shut the lions’ mouths, and they have not harmed me, inasmuch as I was found innocent before Him; and also toward you, O king, I have committed no crime.’”
C. (:23-24) Turnaround by the King
1. (:23) Release of Daniel
“Then the king was very pleased and gave orders for Daniel to be taken up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no injury whatever was found on him, because he had trusted in his God.”
Wiersbe: However, it must be pointed out that not every faithful servant of the Lord is delivered from trial and death in some miraculous way (Hebrews 11:1-36).
2. (:24) Retribution Against Daniel’s Accusers
“The king then gave orders, and they brought those men who had maliciously accused Daniel, and they cast them, their children, and their wives into the lions’ den; and they had not reached the bottom of the den before the lions overpowered them and crushed all their bones.”
Walvoord: The punishment meted out conforms to the injunction about the treatment of false witnesses in the law (Deu 19:16-21). This principle of lex talionis is also illustrated in the case of Haman (Est 7:9-10).
MacArthur: The judgment of God was also an important detail in the miracle, lest some critic suggest the lions were tame or toothless or not hungry.
V. (:25-28) CATECHIZING DANIEL’S GOD –
GOD’S FAITHFUL SERVANTS IMPACT OTHERS FOR GOD WHILE ENJOYING UNPRECEDENTED FAVOR
A. (:25-27) Salvation Belongs to the Sovereign God
“Then Darius the king wrote to all the peoples, nations, and men of every language who were living in all the land: ‘May your peace abound! 26 I make a decree that in all the dominion of my kingdom men are to fear and tremble before the God of Daniel; For He is the living God and enduring forever, And His kingdom is one which will not be destroyed, And His dominion will be forever. 27 He delivers and rescues and performs signs and wonders in heaven and on earth, Who has also delivered Daniel from the power of the lions.’”
B. (:28) Success Enjoyed by Daniel
“So this Daniel enjoyed success in the reign of Darius and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian.”