Preventing true worship
Daniel 6 opens with Darius, the new leader in Babylon, appointed by the Medes and Persians, setting governors in charge of his new kingdom. 3 governors in charge of 120 lesser functionaries in order to rule the province. Daniel was one of these three governors, and considered the best of them. Of course, this made the other governors and the lesser functionaries jealous, so they plotted to discredit or remove Daniel in some way. After watching him for some time, they realized the only way to attack Daniel was to somehow attack him through his worship of God (Daniel 6:1-5).
Notice Daniel had done nothing wrong. They were jealous because he was rightfully acknowledged by the king for having intelligence and skill.
So, they came up with a plan. They went to the king, Darius, and basically buttered him up, saying they wanted to make sure everyone realized how amazing he was. They suggested Darius sign a decree that for the next 30 days, no one was allowed to pray to anyone but Darius, and if they did, they were to be thrown into the lions’ den. The Medes and Persians also had a very strict legal system, in which, if something was signed, it could not be unsigned. Laws could not be overturned, remitted, or modified. They were written in stone, as it were. So, Darius, thinking this sounded good, wrote the law (Daniel 6:6-9).
Daniel finds out about the degree, and, as was his habit, he goes home, kneels down and prays, windows open, facing Jerusalem, three times a day. He doesn’t hide, he doesn’t even shut the window. Now the governors and functionaries had him, they caught him in the act. They go straight to the king and basically ask him if he remembers his decree about no one praying to anyone but him for the next 30 days. Of course, they do this to ensure Darius doesn’t relent. Darius confirms their statement and then they tell him about Daniel, how he’s still praying to his God. When Darius finds out, he’s very upset, which himself, that he let his pride blind him. He spends the rest of the day trying to find out how to get around the decree. By nightfall, the governors come again to him to remind him of his duty in following his own laws (Daniel 6:10-15).
Darius is stuck now, so he orders Daniel brought to the lions’ den, but in the process, he tells Daniel that he believes God will deliver Daniel because of his continual service to God. Amazing how Darius became a believer in God through this, enough that he believed God could save Daniel (Daniel 6:16-17).
So, Daniel is in the lion’s den, and Darius spends the night fasting, awake, in silence. He’s so stressed he can’t eat, he can’t sleep, and he doesn’t want to be entertained. Now, you may see this and think that Darius didn’t have much faith in Daniel’s God, but when morning comes, Darius goes to the lions’ den, and calls out to Daniel, asking him if his God had spared him (Daniel 6:18-20). That’s not something you do unless you believe there is a chance of it happening. I’d say Darius had far more faith than many of us.
Of course, Daniel is alive, he tells the king that God sent an angel to close the lions’ mouths, because he had done nothing wrong. Daniel is taken out of the den, and Darius, in turn, throws those who plotted against Daniel into the lions’ den. The governors, the functionaries, their children and wives. But, I guess the angel left when Daniel did, because the lions’ mouths weren’t shut anymore, and they all died horribly being eaten by the lions (Daniel 6:21-24).
Then Darius makes another degree, that everyone is to respect the God of Daniel, and Daniel continues to serve the king (Daniel 6:25-28).
Daniel’s relationship with God saved him in a time of need, it gave him life. In the same way, extending this to our spiritual battle with a spiritual Babylon, we’re told that our relationship with God will give us eternal life (John 17:3). So, how do we built this relationship? Well, Daniel had a habit of prayer. We learn from Daniel 6 that from a young age, Daniel prayed no less than 3 times a day, and I doubt these were simple, rote prayers. I believe Daniel invested heavily in his relationship with God, and it shows in his life.
So, step one is to have a habit of prayer, of talking to God. That’s half of it. The second half is to listen. In that way, we can have communication with God. We speaking to Him through prayer, and He speaking to us, through His word. We are called to know the scriptures from a young age as well (2 Timothy 3:15), that they will make us wise in the ways of salvation through faith because, after all, the Bible is inspired by God, and it’s useful for doctrine, for rebuking, for correcting, and instruction in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:16). Why? So that we will be equipped for all our good works (2 Timothy 3:17).
Next post we’re going to get deep into prophecy again. This time Daniel has a dream, and you can just imagine how crazy that’s going to be. Remember that outline prophecy in Daniel 2? Well, we’re going to see it filled in with some more detail, and get some further confirmations of our previous interpretations. And then, we’re going to get into identifying who the beast of Revelation is, because it’s already loosed in this world, and has been for a long time. It’s hundreds of years old already and still living strong and easily recognizable once you start adding up all the clues.
Want to know what it is? Well, don’t miss the next post then.