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ch. 6:1-28

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Daniel And the Den Of Lions (ch. 6:1-28)

At this point Daniel's account he is probably at least in his early 80ís.

 

In verses 1 through 5 King Darius sets up a chain of authority in his kingdom.  He appointed three men to be in charge of another one hundred and twenty men who would rule the empire.  This empire was less of a dictatorship than the Babylonian Empire as we will see.  There were certain rules and laws that were to be followed, much like a constitution.  Even the king had to follow these laws.   Therefore, the king was not the law.

 

Daniel was chosen to be one of these three leaders who ruled over the one hundred and twenty sub leaders.  The other two leaders were not Jewish like Daniel.  As a result, jealousy rose among the other two leaders and they wanted to find something to accuse Daniel of so heíd lose his job, but they couldn't.  As believers we should be like Daniel.  We should be blameless in all we do when working in the world.  This doesn't mean we are perfect.  It simply means we should live a holy life so no one can accuse us for wrong doing.  They may accuse us falsely, or, they may accuse us for being followers of Jesus, but they shouldn't be able to accuse us for wrong doing. 

 

The other two men turned to Danielís religion knowing that he was a Jew and did not worship the Gentile gods as they did.  These men were smart enough to know that they could probably get Daniel on this account, thus it is with us today.  If we walk uprightly, the world may not be able to accuse us for wrong doing, but it will accuse us concerning living out our faith.  This is where the crunch comes in.  We may not cheat on our taxes, but society will get us for not bowing down to their standards of tolerance and morality.       

 

In verses 6 through 10 we see certain men come to Darius and have him issue a decree which would enforce an already in existence law of the Medes and Persians.  The law stated that once a king made a decree, he could not change the decree.  These men convinced the king to issue a decree concerning worshipping their gods.  No other gods must be worshipped, including Daniel's God.  The king would sign it and proclaim it into law.  They did this to trap Daniel, knowing theyíd catch him praying to his God, thus not honouring the decree.

 

Again, the world around us is becoming more anti-Christ in nature.  Laws are being passed that are inherently unbiblical.  These laws interfere with the free practice of our religion, that is, following the decrees of Jesus.  This is where our anti-Christ culture, led by government will persecute us on.  This is what we can expect in the days ahead.  

 

In verses 10 through 12 these men found Daniel praying to his God.  Daniel, as his practice was, prayed three time each day.  He knelt down in front of an open window that faced Jerusalem and prayed.  Although Jerusalem and the temple were in ruins at this point, Daniel still prayed towards that city as if it was still there.

 

One thing to note here is that long before the days of Islam, Jews viewed Jerusalem to be their holy city.  This is seen in Daniel praying towards what he would understand being the holy city of his God.    

 

We should note that even though the king had issued the decree, Daniel did not change his practice of praying to his God.  Daniel obeyed the law of the land until it interfered with the laws of God.  The same should be true of us today.  We give to our country what rightly belongs to it, but we give to our Lord what rightly belongs to Him.  Daniel did not allow the kingís decree to affect his life in God.  In the end, he would obey God rather than man.  This is a Biblical principle for us all to follow.

 

In verse 12 Darius confirms the fact that his decree is still in effect because this is the law of the Medes and Persians. He couldnít change his mind, even though a friend would be hurt because of the decree. We see here that the Medes and Persian had laws that were over and above the king.  The king himself submitted to the law of the land.  This is not like the Babylonian Empire where the king himself was the law of the land.  Thus the Medo-Persian Empire was an empire of silver and not of gold as seen in Nebuchadnezzarís vision.  This is the beginning of nations being ruled by law and not by kings, something democracies are founded upon.

 

In verses 13 and 14 we see Darius is very distressed over the fact the Daniel was caught praying to his God.  It is clear the Darius thought highly of Daniel and would have let this slip by the boards but the other officials would not allow him to do that.  So, he tried until the evening to figure out a way to stop Daniel from being thrown into the den of lions.  He might well have instructed the lawyers of the day to find a way out of this predicament.

 

In verses 15 and 16, after this evening had passed where Darius was trying to find a way to rescue Daniel, the men came back to the king and reminded him that Medo-Persian law stated that once he made a decree, he could not back down on that decree.  Daniel had to die.
Darius had been trapped between these men and his decree. 

 

In verse 16 Darius says to Daniel, "may your God, whom you serve, continue to rescue you".  It is clear to me that Darius knew much about Danielís past and that his God in times past had rescued him from many dangers, and he was hoping that this would continue.

 

In verses 17 and 18 we see that Darius himself had to put Daniel into the den of lions, seal the den with a large stone and his personal seal.  This must have been very difficult for Darius.  He then returned home to his palace and felt quite bad.  He did not eat.  He did not ask for any evening entertainment. He simply sat in remorse for what had happened.

 

We need to note the word "den".  The Hebrew word translated as "den" in English suggests that this den was more of a pit than a cage or cave. 

 

In verses 19 and 20 we see Darius get up early in the morning and rush to the lion's den and cry out to Daniel to see if he was still alive, and to see if his God actually did continue to rescue him.   Once again, we see the concern that Darius had for Daniel.  He was really hoping that Danielís God would pull through for him.  He wasnít sure that He would, but that clearly was his hope.  Obviously Darius had hope in God, but he did not have faith in God, or so I believe. 

 

To the great relief of the king, in verses 21 and 22 Daniel answers the king.  He was still alive because he was found innocent before the Lord.  An angel of the Lord had come down and closed the mouths of the lions.  An angel of the Lord might well have been pre- incarnate Jesus, as many scholars suggest. 

 

Daniel adds another statement that must have penetrated into the heart of Darius.  He added, "Nor have I done any wrong before you, O king".  Iím sure Darius agreed with Daniel on this point, but I think it is safe to say that when Daniel prayed to His God, there was no intent on his part to disobey the king.  He wanted to obey the king, but in this instance he couldn't.  He had to obey his God.  

 

In verse 24 we see that Darius was so upset that he had Danielís accusers arrested and thrown into the den of lions, along with their whole family.  This was drastic measures.  The menís families were also killed for the wrong doing of these men.  Darius was real angry.

 

Like Nebuchadnezzar who also had seen the power of God, Darius issued a decree saying that no one could speak against the God of Daniel because He was the Most High God, and that He and His kingdom endures forever, and that He had rescued Daniel and was able to perform great signs and wonders both in heaven and on earth.  Truly this is the same God that Christians serve today.  I'm not convinced that Darius gave himself to Daniel's God as Daniel gave himself to God.  The very words of Darius suggest to me that he now believed that Daniel's God was supreme over all other gods.  This is not Biblical doctrine.  God is not supreme over other gods because there are no other gods.  He is the only God.  Yes, there are demonic forces who claim to be gods, but they're not.      

 

This chapter ends with the fact that Daniel continued to prosper in the place where the Lord had put him during the time of Darius and Cyrus the king.  God can prosper those He wants to prosper, but He does so for His own purposes, not necessarily because we deserve it.  We should note that all through this book Daniel appears to be a very godly and humble man.  Prosperity teachers who stress the point that Daniel prospered must also stress the point that he may not have prospered if he wasn't humble and in Godís will.  Also, it was in the mind of God to use Daniel to accomplish His will.  I don't see faith being the issue here as Prosperity teachers would teach.  

 

Daniel seemed to have had a quiet confidence in God, but it is clear he was not an arrogant man, demanding from God what he thought he should have.   A quick reading of the book of  Proverbs tells us that pride goes before a fall, and that God does not have to respond to our prideful requests, and probably wonít.  This is clearly seen in the book of Daniel itself.  God judged the proud kings in Daniel's day.

 

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