“Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime.” – Daniel 6:10
God had great favor on Daniel, even from his childhood. This favor was very evident to all around him and was a great testimony of the God whom he openly, relentlessly, and continually served in the midst of Babylon. Surrounded day and night by a worldly hedonistic pagan culture, Daniel kept himself apart from it with continual prayer, fasting, and submission to the word and will of God, and all knew it for a burning flame such as he could not be hid in this darkest of places.
By today’s standards, and certainly by the standards of his day, you might call Daniel a religious fanatic. Yet God did fantastic things for him, and through him changed a King and a nation. Of course such unashamed faithfulness to God does a bit more then draw God’s favor to you, it also draws the attacks of the enemy, and the jealousy of men. This was surely the case for little Daniel. The princes of the region (under the influence of the devil) became very jealous of Daniels favor and blessings. So they got together and began to plot and scheme how they might destroy him.
Envy (especially of the anointing / God’s favor) will lead (according to scripture) to gossip, slander, malice, manipulation, lies, hatred, and can even go as far as murder (either spiritual or physical). In fact, James 3:16 tells us that envy, if allowed to take root in a heart, will grow into strife, and can bare the fruits of “every evil work.” This was certainly the case with these princes and rulers. They knew that they could not find fault with Daniel unless it be His obedience to God. So they brought a decree to the King that no one make a petition to any other King or God for 30 days.
Playing on the Kings Pride, he agreed. When vile, deceitful, envious people want to trick you into coming into agreement with their evil agendas, they will do it with flattery. They will work your pride against you, against others, and even against those you love. They will make it seem like they are for you and want to help you, all the while they are seeking to destroy all that you love and hold dear.
The King, blindsided by the flattery of this decree, did not think it through and hastily signed it. This brings us to our opening passage. Daniel knew about the decree, yet was ever faithful to his God and ceased not to pray to Him daily, as he had before. The princes, knowing this would be the case, then ran and told the King that Daniel (whom he favored) had broken the decree and though the King desired a way to excuse Daniel from this law, he could not. A law once spoken, could not be broken. Therefore, the King did something very unexpected in his desperation to see Daniel saved. Being inspired by Daniel’s faithfulness and having the testimony of God’s evident and tangible favor upon him continually, the King made a decision to do himself, that which the enemy had gone to such lengths to stop Daniel from doing… Having no other option, King Darius put his trust in Daniel’s God, fasted, and prayed.
“Then the king commanded, and they brought Daniel, and cast him into the den of lions. Now the king spake and said unto Daniel, Thy God whom thou servest continually, he will deliver thee. And a stone was brought, and laid upon the mouth of the den; and the king sealed it with his own signet, and with the signet of his lords; that the purpose might not be changed concerning Daniel. Then the king went to his palace, and passed the night fasting: neither were instruments of musick brought before him: and his sleep went from him.” – Daniel 6:16-18
Daniel did nothing himself, but to stay true to God. He continued to serve God with all his heart and wavered not when his earthly authorities came against his heavenly one. He chose to trust in God and take his side and allow the greater authority to show forth it’s dominion over the lesser. He did not compromise even a little, but went right on serving God in obedience the same as before the order was given and trusted in God for whatever may come from it, even if it killed him. However, what it really did was allow God to position him to prove the unmatched power of his God unto the saving of a King and a people, and further prove God’s approval of him.
“Then the king arose very early in the morning, and went in haste unto the den of lions. And when he came to the den, he cried with a lamentable voice unto Daniel: and the king spake and said to Daniel, O Daniel, servant of the living God, is thy God, whom thou servest continually, able to deliver thee from the lions? Then said Daniel unto the king, O king, live for ever. My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions’ mouths, that they have not hurt me: forasmuch as before him innocency was found in me; and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt. Then was the king exceeding 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 manner of hurt was found upon him, because he believed in his God.” – Daniel 6:19-23
In the end, because Daniel stood firm on God’s word in faith, he was delivered, the King got saved, his enemies were destroyed, and the nation was changed as a new decree when forth for all to worship Daniel’s God. Note that in all of this, Daniel did nothing but stand in faith. He did not argue, debate, or defend himself. He did not fuss or fight. He just kept on serving God in every way that he had before and trusted in the salvation of the Lord, no matter how it came, and come it did!
God used it all for His glory and still is to this day, yet none of it would have happened had Daniel given in to the decree of this lesser authority over the wishes of the Greater one. If Daniel had sought more to please men then to please God. Had Daniel, succumb to fear of punishment and faltered in his faith, none of it would have happened, none would have been saved by it, God would have had no glory in it, and the faith of millions for a thousand generations would not have been stirred by it. The pivotal moment in this historical and heroic event was not an instinct to fight, or a reaction to flee, but a decision to stand. A decision to stand his ground, to stand on God’s word, to stand in faith in the face of both men and lions and see what fantastic and impossible things God could do.
“Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the (Rhema) *word of God: Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Holy Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints;” – Ephesians 6:13-18