Reading For Friday Daniel 6:1-28
Even with a new regime, God continued to work for and through his servant which caused these rulers to acknowledge the greatness of the Most High God. Darius organized the kingdom which had been delegated to him by Cyrus. The bureaucracy consisted of 120 satraps who were accountable to three commissioners. A satrap was a kingdom protector, and they were appointed in order that the king "might suffer no loss.” Darius was ensuring that Cyrus would not miss out on any tribute which was due him. Daniel was one of the three commissioners and in a similar fashion, the prophet began to distinguish himself among the king’s administrators. Daniel was elderly at this point in his life, probably in his eighties at this time. King Darius recognized his abilities and had planned to appoint Daniel “over the whole kingdom,” i.e. he was set to become the Prime Minister.
The commissioners and satraps were jealous that a Jew was being considered as the top administrator so; they began seeking a scheme upon which they might fault Daniel with regard to governmental affairs, but they could find no ground of accusation or evidence of corruption in his professional life. Daniel was faithful to his God and his king, and no negligence or corruption was found. His enemies came to the realization that Daniel’s faith was the only point that he might be vulnerable to their attack. They devised a plan in which they would persuade the king to proclaim himself the sole representative of the deity for thirty days. All petitions were to be addressed to him and any person offering a religious appeal to man or god during the thirty days would be executed in the lion’s den. This would place Daniel in an awkward position. The suggestion appealed to the ego of the new king and apparently, he did not hesitate to sign the document making the edict irrevocable. Daniel knew that the document had been signed, and he understood the implications of the new law. He also knew that the king had been manipulated into issuing this edict, which was aimed solely at him. However, Daniel would not alter his prayer disciplines, and he entered the upper story of his house where the windows opened westward toward Jerusalem. Three times each day he prayed there in full view of his enemies. Daniel's enemies had anticipated that the old prophet would continue to make petitions and supplications before his God. They went immediately before the king. Before they accused Daniel, they had the king reaffirm the intent and irrevocability of the edict which he had signed and then these despicable enemies made their accusation. They contemptuously referred to Daniel as one of the exiles of Judah. They charged that Daniel paid no attention to the king or the injunction and they supported this charge with eyewitness testimony that Daniel continued to offer petition three times each day to his God. Darius was distressed at the report and probably realized that he had been used as part of a vendetta against second in command. Apparently the king had until sunset to execute the sentence before he violated the mandate. The commissioners and satraps reappeared in order to force the king’s hand. Darius was forced to take action against Daniel or lose his crown and possibly his life.
Darius reluctantly gave the order to have Daniel cast into the lions’ den. The king declared to Daniel that he hoped that his God would deliver him. A stone was brought and laid over the opening of the den, and it was sealed in such a way that tampering would be impossible. Darius spent a miserable night in his palace, fasting and foregoing any diversions. His mind was tormented, and he did not sleep a wink the entire night. The next morning Darius rushed to the lions’ den, and as he approached the place, he cried out in anguish, “O Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to deliver you from the lions?” The king must have been relieved when Daniel responded from the den. The elderly prophet had survived his night with the wild beasts because God had sent his angel to shut the mouths of the lions. Darius was pleased that Daniel was unharmed and ordered the prophet be brought out. Darius then vented his anger on the nobles that had accused Daniel. The nobles and their families were thrown to the lions and before they reached the bottom, the lions overpowered and crushed them. Because of the lions’ den experience, Darius had reached the same conclusion about God as Nebuchadnezzar had before him. Unfortunately, he made the same mistake thinking that he would be able to legislate allegiance to the Lord. This passage concludes explaining how Daniel prospered in the empire under Darius and Cyrus.
Things To Consider:
- What does the favor Daniel experienced under a new regime teach us about God's sovereignty?
- Why is character so important?
- How was the life of Daniel an apologetic for God?
- What did these men know about Daniel's faith? How do you think they knew?
- What would your peers say about your faith and what kind of testimony would they give concerning your character?
- Can flattery be dangerous? How?
- What does this teach us about perseverance?
- How did Darius feel about Daniel? Why do you think he felt that way?
- Do you feel strongly enough about your friends that you suffer when they suffer?
- How does God vindicate Daniel and how does this vindicate and validate his name and glory?
- Do you think there should be a separation between church and state? Why or why not?