19 things I learned from the Lions den
- Daniel 6:1 (ESV)
- Daniel 6:2 (ESV)
- Daniel 6:3 (ESV)
- Daniel 6:4 (ESV)
- Daniel 6:5 (ESV)
- Daniel 6:6 (ESV)
- Daniel 6:7 (ESV)
- Daniel 6:8 (ESV)
- Daniel 6:9 (ESV)
- Daniel 6:10 (ESV)
- Daniel 6:11 (ESV)
- Daniel 6:12 (ESV)
- Daniel 6:13 (ESV)
- Daniel 6:14 (ESV)
- Daniel 6:15 (ESV)
- Daniel 6:16 (ESV)
- Daniel 6:17 (ESV)
- Daniel 6:18 (ESV)
- Daniel 6:19 (ESV)
- Daniel 6:20 (ESV)
- Daniel 6:21 (ESV)
- Daniel 6:22 (ESV)
- Daniel 6:23 (ESV)
- Daniel 6:24 (ESV)
- Daniel 6:25 (ESV)
- Daniel 6:26 (ESV)
- Daniel 6:27 (ESV)
- Daniel 6:28 (ESV)
1. Your reputation precedes you (vs 2)
• Daniel 6:1 It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom 120 satraps, to be throughout the whole kingdom; 2 and over them three presidents, of whom Daniel was one, to whom these satraps should give account, so that the king might suffer no loss.
• Vs 2 Daniel put in charge of a third of the Kingdom
• At this point in history the kingdom had just changed hands again as the Medes and Persians had just overthrown the Babylonians and Ole Nebbies grandson Belshazzar, and now the new king was re-organizing the executive ranks of the kingdom the way he “pleased” as vs 1 puts it
• These men were put in place and their purpose was to stop what was called grafting which was essentially all these gov’t leaders skimming the top, putting a little extra in their pocket
• And Daniel is one of 3 men here with responsibility for a third of the Kingdom
• And when you think about that Daniel HAD to have a good reputation at this point as a leader, adviser, man of God, and visionary b/c he had been leading in the kingdom for a long time.
• The new King recognizes that, and puts Daniel in a position of authority, then in vs 3 we see:
2. There is no substitute for hard work (vs 3)
• 3 Then this Daniel became distinguished above all the other presidents and satraps, because an excellent spirit was in him. And the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom.
• 60 years into captivity Daniel is working harder than ever.
• He has been elevated under what is now his 5th or 6th king depending on which historian you believe, and he continues to work his way up the ranks
• Never do we see Daniel full of pride, and patting himself on the back. We just see him working hard
• All the favor and merit from God has not caused him to go soft, but rather work harder, and remember HES STILL in captivity!!!
• Vs 3 says there was an excellent “spirit” within him, and that’s not talking about the Holy Spirit within him, but rather an aggregate of his love for God, his hard work, his loyalty to the kingdom, and his faithfulness to serve whomever was in office.
• All this came out in his character, and made up his spirit
3. Be blameless to the world (Vs 4)
• 4 Then the presidents and the satraps sought to find a ground for complaint against Daniel with regard to the kingdom, but they could find no ground for complaint or any fault, because he was faithful, and no error or fault was found in him.
• Now at this point they are looking to find fault in the ways of the Medes/Persians, and they cannot find fault
• This further shows that Daniel was obedient to the place in life that God wanted him.
• Daniel was faithful to his King b/c God had placed him here, in captivity, and was using him in great and mighty ways
• As Christians we give the world WAAAAAAAAAAAY to many reasons to find blame in us don’t we?
• We are VERY quick to tell people what we are against or we lead secret lives that often get exposed as we try to compartmentalize our life, and at some point all that comes to the surface
• Well here Daniel is found blameless, and no doubt his prayer life enabled him to do this. However that very same prayer life is about to get him in trouble as we will see
4. Strive for perfection (vs5)
• 5 Then these men said, “We shall not find any ground for complaint against this Daniel unless we find it in connection with the law of his God.”
• We’re gonna see in a little bit how Daniel handles this, but I want to say something about sin here
• Matt 5:48 Jesus calls us to be perfect when he’s preaching the sermon on the mount, and He repeats that theme throughout the New Testament
• This is of course unattainable, but Jesus could not lower the bar from perfection b/c doing so would compromise his perfect nature
• We cannot obtain perfection this side of heaven, and its only in heaven that through sanctification we are made perfect
• However here Daniel is about to be tested by man to hold true to the very God he dearly loves, and serves
5. Watch out for flattery!!!!!!!!!!! (Vs 6)
• 6 Then these presidents and satraps came by agreement to the king and said to him, “O King Darius, live forever!
• Flattery is one of the oldest forms of manipulation
• We see this term “O King live forever” earlier in Daniel when the wizards of Babylon come to Ole Nebbie trying to interpret his dreams and each time its false humility
• Each time these wizards or here in Ch 6 these presidents are scared of the Kings wrath, and they are trying to flatter him to get him to agree to what they want
• Whenever someone comes up to you out of the blue, and starts heaping on the praise you might want to duck and hide b/c something BAD is about to happen
• King David wrote about his enemies and their flattery in psalm 5, and asked the Lord to KILL them!!!
• WATCH OUT FOR FLATTERY!!!
6. Be careful that pride does not get the best of you (vs7-9)
• 7 All the presidents of the kingdom, the prefects and the satraps, the counselors and the governors are agreed that the king should establish an ordinance and enforce an injunction, that whoever makes petition to any god or man for thirty days, except to you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions. 8 Now, O king, establish the injunction and sign the document, so that it cannot be changed, according to the law of the Medes and the Persians, which cannot be revoked.” 9 Therefore King Darius signed the document and injunction.
• So here we see that the king has let the flattery get to his head, and since in a pagan culture they view kings as gods anyway King Darius says why not
• He let his pride cloud his judgement b/c he should have thought about this a little more
• I mean you would think that a good leader would check with his 3 top presidents before making such a radical change in the kingdom
• You have to think that normally he would, but in this case they go right to the heart of a man, and hit him in his pride hoping that he would blindly accept this without checking if everyone was in agreement
• I don’t think Daniel was ever consulted on this matter, and probably was not even in attendance at this meeting with the King, but at the very least you would think the king would have asked his 3 presidents about this, but he did not.
• He let his pride get the best of him, and now he’s put his good friend Daniel in jeopardy
7. Do NOT let the world dictate your relationship with God (vs 10)
8. Prayer is the most POWERFUL force this side of heaven (vs10)
• 10 When Daniel knew that the document had been signed, he went to his house where he had windows in his upper chamber open toward Jerusalem. He got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously.
• Now here it has really hit the fan so take note to what Daniel does!!
• When hes backed into a corner, and placed yet again in an uncompromising situation he returns to his place of prayer, and he HITS HIS KNEES!!!!
• There is not a more powerful thing as humans that we can do than talk to our God!!!!
• We have the ability, through Jesus Christ and his shed blood, to pray to his Father, our God, our redeemer, our justive giver, and our protector, and here under adversity Daniel hits his knees!!
• Now some people would argue here that Daniel was being flamboyant, and defiant and opened his window to provoke the king.
• Well I have two things to say to that;
1. First the end of vs 10 tells us that Daniel had done this previously. This was not something he was doing to encite or provoke the king but rather he had a consistent prayer life, and he was doing what he always did. His peers no doubt knew this which was part of their plan anyway
2. Second and more importantly Daniel knew scripture. We know from Daniel Ch 9 that Daniel knew the prophecy of Jeremiah where Israel would be free after 70 years in captivity, and that day was approaching. Daniel would have known the promises from King Solomon In 1 Kings 8 where Solomon asked God to bless anyone who prays in the direction of the temple. Jonah did this very same thing in the belly of the big fish, and that’s all Daniel was doing here. Once again merely being obedient to scripture, and not letting the world dictate how he was going to serve God
9. Stay humble and dependent on God no matter what “position” you attain in life (vs 11)
• 11 Then these men came by agreement and found Daniel making petition and plea before his God.
• It probably would have been easier for Daniel to go to the King, and use his clout to get out of this
• However we see what he did was actually pray, and how he prayed is a magnificent display of his character
• Vs 11 says he was making petition and plea, and the….
• Hebrew words for “petition” and “plea” meant Daniel was humbly begging
• Begging for what?
• Who knows b/c the bible does not tell us what he was praying for, but you can probably guess it had something to do with this petition
• And I’ve mentioned Ch 9 often the last 3 weeks b/c in Ch 9 you get a glimpse of Daniels prayer life. In ch 9 Daniel hits his knees and prays for the forgiveness, and repentance of his nation so that ultimately he can see them released from captivity before he dies
• This prayer shows Daniels humility, and total trust in God even after 70 years in captivity, and even after hes now one of the top presidents in the entire kingdom!!!
10. You can’t outrun your past (vs12-13)
• 12 Then they came near and said before the king, concerning the injunction, “O king! Did you not sign an injunction, that anyone who makes petition to any god or man within thirty days except to you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions?” The king answered and said, “The thing stands fast, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be revoked.” 13 Then they answered and said before the king, “Daniel, who is one of the exiles from Judah, pays no attention to you, O king, or the injunction you have signed, but makes his petition three times a day.”
• “who is one of the exiles from Judah”
• Even though Daniel had risen to the ranks of President of a third of the nation he is still marred by the fact the he is essentially a slave, and constantly reminded of it
• However we never see Daniel get down about that
• We never see him complain about his lot in life
• He just sucks it up, and accepts it but we see here its always there
• You will never outrun your past, but that does not mean you have to let it keep you down
• Then here the King now realizes what he has done, and the trap that Daniel has been caught in
11. Be a witness to all those around you (vs14-16)
• 14 Then the king, when he heard these words, was much distressed and set his mind to deliver Daniel. And he labored till the sun went down to rescue him. 15 Then these men came by agreement to the king and said to the king, “Know, O king, that it is a law of the Medes and Persians that no injunction or ordinance that the king establishes can be changed.”16 Then the king commanded, and Daniel was brought and cast into the den of lions. The king declared  to Daniel, “May your God, whom you serve continually, deliver you!”
• King Darius acknowledged Daniels service to God
• Daniel has been such a witness to every pagan king hes served under for seventy years, and this new King has taken notice, and did two things
1. he acknowledged the one true Gods existence
a. Some argue that his statement in vs 16 is actually a prayer to God, and not directed at Daniel, but nonetheless he is acknowledging the God of Daniel, the one true God
2. he acknowledged Daniels relationship with him
a. You only get that kind of response from a non-Christian when you are RIGHT with the father, and all this started not with Daniel posturing for a better position, or lobbying the king on something he wanted, for we never see Daniel trying to impress any of the kings he served under but rather this all started with Daniel on his knees!!!
b. You see in vs 14 and 15 just how MUCH the king loved Daniel, and the lengths to which he was willing to go to save him. Remarkable
c. There is NO BETTER place for us to be than humbly before our king, and Daniel GOT THAT!!!
12. Love your enemies (vs17-21)
• 17 And a stone was brought and laid on the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet and with the signet of his lords, that nothing might be changed concerning Daniel. 18 Then the king went to his palace and spent the night fasting; no diversions were brought to him, and sleep fled from him. 19 Then, at break of day, the king arose and went in haste to the den of lions. 20 As he came near to the den where Daniel was, he cried out in a tone of anguish. The king declared to Daniel, “O Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to deliver you from the lions?” 21 Then Daniel said to the king, “O king, live forever!
• So after all that had transpired, and the King had actually followed through with sentencing Daniel, the first words out of Daniels mouth in the morning was “O KING LIVE FOREVER!!!! Sound familiar?!?!?!?!
• Daniel was showing the kind of mercy and grace that only a God filled life can produce.
• Daniels prayer and scripture habits enabled him to handle this situation with grace and mercy b/c he was filled with the love of God
• It would have been very easy here for Daniel to swell up with pride, and show the king he was fine, but he heaps praise on the king using terminology typically reserved for the pagans however this time it had some Godly authority behind it b/c check out what happens next which leads to the next point
13. Be blameless before God!!! (vs 22)
14. We serve a loving God (vs22)
• 22 My God sent his angel and shut the lions' mouths, and they have not harmed me, because I was found blameless before him; and also before you, O king, I have done no harm.”
• Now I can just imagine this scene. (re-enact scene)
• And he was found blameless before God, and the King. Whoo!!!!
• Its pretty awesome here the Lord sends an angel to be with Daniel, and shows how much he loved him. Just like S, M, and A when Jesus himself came this shows the love God had for them that he chose to work this way. He could have simply saved them all, but rather chose for them to have companionship in their time of need. We serve a loving God
15. Bring God glory by simply trusting him no matter what (vs23)
• 23 Then the king was exceedingly glad, and commanded that Daniel be taken up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no kind of harm was found on him, because he had trusted in his God.
• Daniel had simply trusted God in this matter just like he did 70 years earlier with the veggies, and through the years of interpreting dreams, watching his buddies get thrown into a smelting oven, and now himself in the Lions den. Daniel consistently trusts God in everything he does, and God is given much glory
• God was not done with Daniel, and hes now lifting him out of his pit
16. What goes around comes around (vs 24)
17. God will provide justice for His people (vs24)
• 24 And the king commanded, and those men who had maliciously accused Daniel were brought and cast into the den of lions—they, their children, and their wives. And before they reached the bottom of the den, the lions overpowered them and broke all their bones in pieces.
• Psalms 26:27 - 27 Whoever digs a pit will fall into it,
and a stone will come back on him who starts it rolling.
• What goes around comes around or be careful what you ask for and God will provide justice for his people
• In this case both of these things came to fruition
18. Give praise to our King when praise is due (vs 25-27)
25Then King Darius wrote to all(BD) the peoples, nations, and languages(BE) that dwell in all the earth:(BF) "Peace be multiplied to you. 26(BG) I make a decree, that in all my royal dominion(BH) people are to tremble and fear before the God of Daniel,
for(BI) he is(BJ) the living God,
his kingdom shall never be destroyed,
(BK) and his dominion shall be to the end.
27He delivers and rescues;
he works(BL) signs and wonders in heaven and on earth, he who has(BM) saved Daniel
from the power of the lions."
• Here we see a King of a nation proclaiming the God of the Hebrews was the one true God. This is the 2nd time we’ve seen Daniels obedience used to bring about radical change to his nation through a pagan ruler
• This chapter started with King Darius proclaiming he WAS a God, and in less than 24 hrs he was proclaiming the one true God
19. God blesses his faithful (vs 28)
• 28 So this Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrus the Persian.
• Because we know that Daniel prospered during the reign of Cyrus we know that Daniel lived to see his people set free, return to Jerusalem, and re-build the temple
• God rewarded a man faithful to him in his prayer life, and scripture study and for enduring 70 years of oppression for his King
• Daniels life shows that God rewards faithfulness, obedience, loyalty, boldness, and humility
• Those rewards may come on earth, or they may come in heaven, but know that we serve a God who loves us, and strives for us to serve Him no matter what the cost.
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