Daniel 6

Thursday Evening Bible Study

January 5, 2006

Daniel 6

:1 It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom one hundred and twenty satraps, to be over the whole kingdom;

Darius organizes the government.  The kingdom would be ruled by “satraps”.

: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.

These three governors would be over the satraps.

: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;

Q.  Why would they want to harm Daniel?  Can you think of any reasons?

The most likely reason could be jealousy.

Perhaps they were prejudiced against Jews.

Maybe they thought Daniel was too old.

Maybe they resented Daniel’s sudden return to government under Belshazzar when they might have possibly worked hard to get to where they were.

:4but they could find no charge or fault, because he was faithful; nor was there any error or fault found in him.


Integrity at work

I think one of the best places we can witness for Jesus is through our workplace.
(1 Pet 2:13-16 NKJV)  Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake, whether to the king as supreme, {14} or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good. {15} For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men; {16} as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God.
I am a firm believer that in most workplaces, this kind of hard work, honesty, and integrity will go far. 
Yet too often, Christians can come across as flakes:



A young man gets engaged to a young woman and goes to meet her parents over dinner. After dinner the father takes the young man into the drawing room to find out his plans for life with his daughter. “So, what are your plans?” The father asks the fiancée. “I am a Biblical Scholar” he replies “A Biblical Scholar. Admirable, but what will you do to provide a nice home for my daughter to live in, as she deserves?” The father asks. “I will study” the young man replies “...God will provide for us.” “And how will you buy her a beautiful engagement ring, such as she deserves?” The father asks. “I will concentrate on my studies, God will provide for us.” the young man replies. “And children” the father asks “how will you support your children?” “Don’t worry sir” the young man replies “God will provide.” The conversation proceeds like this, and each time the father asks a question the young man insists that God will provide. Later, the mother asks about the discussion, “So, how did it go?” The father replies “He has no job and no plans, but the good news is he thinks I’m God.”

Do you understand how a non-believer can think that?  I wonder if sometimes we don’t come across as if our heads are stuck up in the clouds and we have no connection with reality.

I think at the heart is asking ourselves:  “Who do I work for?”
(Col 3:22-24 NKJV)  Bondservants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh, not with eyeservice, as men-pleasers, but in sincerity of heart, fearing God. {23} And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, {24} knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ.

Don’t look for rewards from your boss.  Look for rewards from Jesus.

I think that one of the blessings is that people will more likely listen to what you say.

But sometimes you can’t please everyone.  Sometimes trouble comes because you are a Christian, because you are a God follower.
(1 Pet 4:12-16 NKJV)  Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; {13} but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ's sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. {14} If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified. {15} But let none of you suffer as a murderer, a thief, an evildoer, or as a busybody in other people's matters. {16} Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter.

That seems to be the case with Daniel.  He is suffering not because he hadn’t been doing a good job at work.  He’s suffering because He’s a believer.

Sometimes, no matter how good of a job you do at work, people aren’t going to be happy.
A wealthy businessman hosted a spectacular party in which he had filled his swimming pool with sharks, barracuda, and other assorted dangerous fish. He announced to his guests that he would like to challenge any of them to try swimming across the pool, and he would offer a first prize of either a new home in the mountains, a trip around the world for two, or a piece of his business. No sooner had he made the announcement than there was a splash and a man swam rapidly across the infested waters and bounded up out on the other side. The millionaire said to the dripping man, “That was a stunning performance. What prize do you want?” He answered tersely, “Right now I really don’t care about the prize. I just want to get the name of the turkey who pushed me in.”

Sometimes we have no shortage of people standing behind us ready to help us “swim with the sharks”.

: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.

This is going to sound pretty nice to King Darius.  It makes it sound as if he’s in charge.  It’s a way of kissing up to the boss…

: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."

This is one of the peculiarities about the Medes and Persians – they felt their laws were above all.  Their laws were more powerful than even their kings, even if their kings were the ones who made the laws.  Once a law was made, that was that.

:9 Therefore King Darius signed the written decree.

Sounded good to him.

: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.

Note:  Daniel knew about the decree.

Yet he still went ahead and openly continued his practice of prayer.


A time to disobey

Most of the time we are to obey the laws of the land.
Paul wrote,

(Rom 13:1-2 NKJV)  Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. {2} Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves.

And when Paul wrote this, crazy Nero was the emperor of Rome.

As a general rule, we are to obey the laws of the land.

But there are going to be times when the laws of the land contradict the laws of God.
Peter and John had been arrested for healing a lame man and then telling the people that Jesus had really healed the man.  They were ordered beaten by the religious rulers and told never to tell anyone about Jesus again.
(Acts 5:29 NKJV)  But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: "We ought to obey God rather than men.

There are going to be times when we must disobey man in order to obey God.

I wonder if we aren’t getting closer and closer to this in modern America, when we will be told that we can’t teach everything in the Bible, when we will be told not to say that evolution is wrong or that homosexuality is a sin.  We’re getting close.

:11 Then these men assembled and found Daniel praying and making supplication before his God.

It seems to me that Daniel felt like he needed to pray.  And keep praying.


Do I have to pray?

I find it hard sometimes to get myself to pray.  I wonder how I would respond to a decree that said I couldn’t pray for thirty days.  I wonder if I would think that a law like that might have been a relief.
Jesus felt the need to pray.
Before choosing His twelve disciples:

(Mat 9:37-38 NKJV)  Then He said to His disciples, "The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. {38} "Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest."

After feeding the five thousand:

(Mat 14:23 NKJV)  And when He had sent the multitudes away, He went up on the mountain by Himself to pray. Now when evening came, He was alone there.

It seemed to be a daily thing for Him:

(Mark 1:35 NKJV)  Now in the morning, having risen a long while before daylight, He went out and departed to a solitary place; and there He prayed.

On His last night, knowing what was ahead

(Mat 26:36 NKJV)  Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to the disciples, "Sit here while I go and pray over there."

Do you realize that God wants you to pray?  Do you realize that prayer actually changes things?
A couple of months ago I was becoming aware that my own prayer life was pretty pathetic.  I started to make a list of a couple of people that I wanted to be sure to pray for every day.  I don’t pray for every one in the world every day, but I can pray for a few people every day.  One of the things I thought I should be doing was praying for the people I call my “staff”.  One person in particular had been going through some struggles and I was feeling a bit bad that I hadn’t been praying regularly for this person.  About six weeks later I was thinking about this person and how neat it was to see things happening in their ministry.  And then I remembered how I had added them to my prayer list.  I’m not saying that my awesome, powerful prayers are the reason for the changes, but I wonder if maybe my few pathetic prayers were all they needed to see things turn around.
My sons are on my prayer list.  I have three boys going through their teenage years.  And sometimes it scares me to death.  Sometimes I get worried that my boys are going to grow distant and rebel against the Lord.  I’ve been finding that when I start to regularly pray for a son that I’m beginning to feel distant with, that God will give me an afternoon with that son, or we will do something together, and I realize that God is answering my prayers.
I’m finding that I need to pray.
Yet I still find it hard.  There is something inside of me that just doesn’t like to pray.  But I still need to.
Daniel felt that it was so important to be praying that he was willing to risk his life to do it.


What are you praying for?

Wouldn’t it be cool if we had a little bit of a clue as to what Daniel was praying for?  What was so important that he would risk being arrested and continue his practice of praying three times a day out in the open, facing towards Jerusalem?
I have a suggestion of what Daniel might have been praying for/about?
(Dan 9:1-5 NKJV)  In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the lineage of the Medes, who was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans; {2} in the first year of his reign I, Daniel, understood by the books the number of the years specified by the word of the LORD through Jeremiah the prophet, that He would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem. {3} Then I set my face toward the Lord God to make request by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth, and ashes.

Daniel 9 takes place around the same time as Daniel 6.

It might have happened on a whim, perhaps Daniel just happened across a copy of Jeremiah’s prophecies.  It might have been a direct prompting of God’s Spirit to remember Jeremiah’s seventy years and to put all the pieces together.  It might have been the fact that the Babylonian empire had just fallen and perhaps Daniel began to wonder if things might also change for his own nation.  Whatever the cause, Daniel comes to realize that the time of the Babylonian captivity was coming to an end, and the seventy years were up.

Daniel responds to this knowledge with prayer and especially with confession, confessing the sins of his people before God.

I believe Daniel is doing this because of the promises that God had made to King Solomon when the Temple was built.  Solomon had asked God to honor the Temple by making it a place where people could pray and God would hear.  In part of Solomon’s prayer, he asked God for something that specifically applied to Daniel’s day:

(1 Ki 8:46-50 NKJV)  "When they sin against You (for there is no one who does not sin), and You become angry with them and deliver them to the enemy, and they take them captive to the land of the enemy, far or near; {47} "yet when they come to themselves in the land where they were carried captive, and repent, and make supplication to You in the land of those who took them captive, saying, 'We have sinned and done wrong, we have committed wickedness'; {48} "and when they return to You with all their heart and with all their soul in the land of their enemies who led them away captive, and pray to You toward their land which You gave to their fathers, the city which You have chosen and the temple which I have built for Your name: {49} "then hear in heaven Your dwelling place their prayer and their supplication, and maintain their cause, {50} "and forgive Your people who have sinned against You, and all their transgressions which they have transgressed against You; and grant them compassion before those who took them captive, that they may have compassion on them

God responded to Solomon, saying that He had heard and would honor Solomon’s prayer:

(1 Ki 9:3 NKJV)  And the LORD said to him: "I have heard your prayer and your supplication that you have made before Me; I have consecrated this house which you have built to put My name there forever, and My eyes and My heart will be there perpetually.

And then God promised:

(2 Chr 7:14 NKJV)  "if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.

I think it was these kinds of things that caused Daniel to be so concerned about prayer, about keeping up with his regular practice of prayer and specifically of praying toward Jerusalem.
{4} And I prayed to the LORD my God, and made confession, and said, "O Lord, great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant and mercy with those who love Him, and with those who keep His commandments, {5} "we have sinned and committed iniquity, we have done wickedly and rebelled, even by departing from Your precepts and Your judgments.
(Dan 9:16-19 NKJV)  "O Lord, according to all Your righteousness, I pray, let Your anger and Your fury be turned away from Your city Jerusalem, Your holy mountain; because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and Your people are a reproach to all those around us. {17} "Now therefore, our God, hear the prayer of Your servant, and his supplications, and for the Lord's sake cause Your face to shine on Your sanctuary, which is desolate. {18} "O my God, incline Your ear and hear; open Your eyes and see our desolations, and the city which is called by Your name; for we do not present our supplications before You because of our righteous deeds, but because of Your great mercies. {19} "O Lord, hear! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, listen and act! Do not delay for Your own sake, my God, for Your city and Your people are called by Your name."
So what is it in your life?  Do you have some things that you are concerned about, enough to commit to regular, serious prayer until God should answer?  Do you have things in your life where you are convinced that only God can solve?  Or do you have things in your life where you’ve simply given up on?
Daniel was convinced that he needed to be praying.  He was even willing to risk his life in order to pray for these things.

: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 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.

He was trying to find a legal way of getting around his own law.

: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.

:18 Now the king went to his palace and spent the night fasting; and no musicians were brought before him. Also his sleep went from him.

I get the feeling that Darius really cared about Daniel.

: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?"

: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."

:23 Then 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.

In case you were wondering if maybe the lions weren’t hungry when Daniel was put into their den …

: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.

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


God will take care of you

We laugh at the joke about the young man that simply says, “God will provide”.  But there is a sense in which God does provide when you are doing what you are supposed to be doing.
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego weren’t alone in the fiery furnace.  Daniel wasn’t alone in the lion’s den.
If you are doing bad things and you get into trouble, I imagine that somebody is trying to get your attention.
But when you are doing good things and you get into trouble, God doesn’t want you worrying about the outcome.
(1 Pet 4:14 NKJV)  If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego weren’t even concerned if they died in the fire, because they knew that God was going to take care of them.
(Dan 3:16-18 NKJV)  Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego answered and said to the king, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. {17} "If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. {18} "But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up."
Be men and women of prayer … no matter what …