Journey with Daniel
“Daniel 6”Categories: Journey with Daniel
This is one of the most memorable stories in all of the book of Daniel. Darius is king. Daniel is an old man at this point – likely in his 80’s. Because of his extraordinary spirit Daniel is promoted over all of the Satraps in the Kingdom. It is a position of honor, of rule and authority. It’s as if Daniel was made number two in the land. Well this caught the attention of the other Satraps and they become extremely jealous. Jealousy can lead one to suspicion, to using their words and their actions in evil ways in order to get what they want.
The problem with Daniel was that he was noble, a man of impeccable character and integrity. That’s a problem if you want to find a weakness to expose and exploit (like these Satraps try – v. 4). If they couldn’t catch Daniel morally or ethically, they had to catch him religiously. They knew about his devotion to his God. So they concoct this statute that all the people are to pray only to the king. This would seem unifying (uniting the people under one god rather than many). It would also seem appealing to the pride of the king (describing him as the equivalent of a god). The punishment for breaking this was death by being cast into a lion’s den.
Notice v. 10 – Daniel knew. He knew about the statute. He knew about the consequences. He knew what would happen if he was caught praying. And yet where is Daniel? He is where he has been, on his knees three times a day in prayer to God. Daniel was a man of prayer. A strong prayer life and a strong faith are closely connected. Right is right, no matter what any man, any king, any law will say. Prayer to God is right. Walking with Jesus is right. Reading and speaking the truth of God’s word is right. We obey God rather than man.
Because of his commitment to God, Daniel broke the law and is punished, he is cast into the lion’s den. But that’s not the end of his story. Just as God saved his three friends from the fiery furnace, God saved Daniel from the lion’s den. Do you see the tough lessons from this chapter? We see that sometimes innocent people suffer for doing the right things. Joseph did. David did. Jesus did. You and I will too. We see that God allowed Daniel to go into the lion’s den. He didn’t stop Daniel from being thrown down. He let Daniel spend a night with lions. He let the three young men be cast into the fiery furnace. If we were writing the story we would want God to stop the pain, to take away the pain, to remove the frightful moments we may face – to keep us from the furnace, from the lion’s den. But that’s not how it works. That’s not how faith grows. Peter reminds us that faith is tried by fire (1 Peter 1:7). Those who give their lives to Christ are not promised a life free from storms. What they are promised is a God who will stand with them through the storm.
Standing with God brings friction with the world, but don’t be afraid. Our God has promised victory – not from the pains and sufferings we may experience here in life – but the ultimate victory of life eternal, in His home – free from all pain, all evil, all tears. Do you know what we’ve seen thus far in Daniel? Strong faith, the kind that “shut the mouths of lions” and “quenched the power of the fire” (Hebrews 11:33-34). Faith in a God who is able to deliver His people (Daniel 6:16).
Blessed and holy God, what an honor and privilege to speak to You today. As I’ve read through todays’ reading, men risked death in order to maintain this time of communion with You. It is my prayer today that I can come to see You as Daniel saw You, to trust in You as those faithful Jews in Babylon trusted in You. They faced life threatening moments leaning on You. I know that hardships will arise in my life, that the world will threaten me because I walk with You. Help me in those moments to have a faith and commitment like Daniel to respond with faith, to continue on in what is right, to live a life free from accusation – one that points others to You. You are the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, and Daniel; the God who quenches the fire, the God who shuts the mouths of lions, and I know that no problem, no danger, no storm I could possible face today is too great for You to handle. It is an honor to know and serve You. As the culture around me drifts further from Your ways, Father draw me ever nearer to You.