Daniel 6 (MSG)
Darius reorganized his kingdom. He appointed one hundred twenty governors to administer all the parts of his realm. Over them were three vice-regents, one of whom was Daniel. The governors reported to the vice-regents, who made sure that everything was in order for the king.
ORG CHART ONE
But Daniel, brimming with spirit and intelligence, so completely outclassed the other vice-regents and governors that the king decided to put him in charge of the whole kingdom.
ORG CHART TWO
The vice-regents and governors got together to find some old scandal or skeleton in Daniel’s life that they could use against him, but they couldn’t dig up anything. He was totally exemplary and trustworthy. They could find no evidence of negligence or misconduct. So they finally gave up and said, “We’re never going to find anything against this Daniel unless we can cook up something religious.”
God exalted Daniel to this position. He was not the next in line. He was a foreign slave of a conquered people. God made a slave one step down from the king.
Daniel was operating the Media-Persian kingdom. This was not a god-honoring kingdom. Daniel was not in charge of the military, but the civilian affairs of the kingdom.
Imagine the impact of a servant of the true God administering this kingdom. The lives of the subjects of the kingdom would improve. The regents and governors would be taught principles that comport with the character and nature of God.
This resulted in extreme jealousy, anger, and backstabbing.
But…I thought God had given Daniel this position. Why didn’t He protect him from their anger and jealousy.
God’s plan extended beyond Daniel having a cushy job. He put Daniel in this position to set up events that would demonstrate His power.
God does this through people. He chooses to use little old us. He could throw fireballs from the sky. But he instead he sends in a lone man.
The vice-regents and governors conspired together and then went to the king and said, “King Darius, live forever! We’ve convened your vice-regents, governors, and all your leading officials, and have agreed that the king should issue the following decree: For the next thirty days no one is to pray to any god or mortal except you, O king. Anyone who disobeys will be thrown into the lions’ den. “Issue this decree, O king, and make it unconditional, as if written in stone like all the laws of the Medes and the Persians.” King Darius signed the decree.
This is all based on a lie. They did NOT gather all the leading officials. If they had, Daniel would have vetoed. And had the power to fire a few people.
This is the ultimate end-run.
When Daniel learned that the decree had been signed and posted, he continued to pray just as he had always done. His house had windows in the upstairs that opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he knelt there in prayer, thanking and praising his God.
Daniel did nothing different. May we all get to that place.
Daniel is not acting in protest. He isn’t trying to prove a point. He is being faithful
He is not manufacturing a conflict – he’s not saying “you just hate me because I’m better than you.”
Daniel at this time is an old man – likely in his 80s. He is at the end of a distinguished career, and likely only 3 years before Cyrus releases the Hebrews to return to their land and rebuild the temple.
He has been faithful all his life.
Daniel never forgot his name
Belteshazzar, i.e. prince of Bel or Bel protect the king
Daniel: meaning in Hebrew “God is my Judge”
…At daybreak the king got up and hurried to the lions’ den. As he approached the den, he called out anxiously, “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve so loyally, saved you from the lions?” “O king, live forever!” said Daniel. “My God sent his angel, who closed the mouths of the lions so that they would not hurt me. I’ve been found innocent before God and also before you, O king. I’ve done nothing to harm you.” When the king heard these words, he was happy. He ordered Daniel taken up out of the den. When he was hauled up, there wasn’t a scratch on him. He had trusted his God.
Then the king commanded that the conspirators who had informed on Daniel be thrown into the lions’ den, along with their wives and children. Before they hit the floor, the lions had them in their jaws, tearing them to pieces. King Darius published this proclamation to every race, color, and creed on earth: Peace to you! Abundant peace! I decree that Daniel’s God shall be worshiped and feared in all parts of my kingdom. He is the living God, world without end. His kingdom never falls. His rule continues eternally. He is a savior and rescuer. He performs astonishing miracles in heaven and on earth. He saved Daniel from the power of the lions. From then on, Daniel was treated well during the reign of Darius, and also in the following reign of Cyrus the Persian. (Daniel 6:1-28 MSG)
We can expect to face similar opposition. As we live, work, raise children, and worship in exile, we can assume some will not accept our message.
Have you ever been disrespected, hated or persecuted for your faith? Do you know someone who has? Talk about that.
Daniel was turned in for being faithful. What are some things you’d like to be “turned in” for (i.e. what spiritual practices must we never forget in our desire to relate to our culture)?
In your mind, what’s the difference between being faithful and being self-righteous?
ONE MORE THING…
Don’t fear the Reaper.
22 You will be hated by everyone because of me, but the one who stands firm to the end will be saved. 23When you are persecuted in one place, flee to another. Truly I tell you, you will not finish going through the towns of Israel before the Son of Man comes.
24 “The student is not above the teacher, nor a servant above his master. 25It is enough for students to be like their teachers, and servants like their masters. If the head of the house has been called Beelzebul, how much more the members of his household!
26 “So do not be afraid of them, for there is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. 27What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs.
28Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell. 29Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. 30And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
32 “Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. 33But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.