What price will you pay for your faith (Daniel 6) - September 1st 2013

    The book of Daniel covers many years. When Daniel went to Babylon (Daniel 1), he was probably a teenager. By chapter six he was in his eighties. Babylon had fallen to the Persians and a new leader was appointed over Babylon—Darius. Darius redesigned the government, eliminating the autocratic rule of Nebuchadnezzar and creating shared governance. He chose Daniel as his first in command. Daniel had experience, knowledge of the people and land, and excellent character. Even those characteristics could not keep people from talking about leaders. But integrity could show the charges brought against them were false.

    Other administrations and governors jealously sought to remove Daniel. The only way they could accuse him was in relation to his faith (v. 6). We need to remember, doing right is not a guarantee that everything will go right. These men created a scheme to get rid of Daniel.

    The jealous leaders went to the king with a false statement. The royal administrators, prefects, satraps, advisers and governors have all agreed that the king should issue an edict and enforce the decree that anyone who prays to any god or man during the next thirty days, except you, O king, shall be thrown into the lion’s den…(v. 7)

    Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before…(v. 10)

    Daniel was forced to decide what he would do. He decided he was willing to die in obedience to God’s Word rather than live in disobedience to God’s Will. For years, he had refined his character and commitment in his prayer room. Once again, he returned to the place where he met with God to set the direction of his life.

    How do you set the direction of your life?

    Daniel knelt in the posture of humility. He saw no need to tell God what to do or to cry on God’s shoulder about the ugliness being prepared for him. He needed to tune his heart with God’s heart. In that small room he had refined his big view of the great God. He laid his ego at the door, knelt before his God to learn more about his identity with God, and let God strengthen his courage. 

    Long ago, he had learned how to question the decisions he faced. 
    • Is there a commandment to follow?
    • Is there a principle to follow?
    • Is there an action to take?
    When he faced the lions’ den, he found his answers in Exodus 20:3.

    Daniel’s accusers watched him. They went back to trap the king in their shameful nest. The king was tied and bound to his own foolishness. He was forced to take Daniel to the lion’s den. With a wishful prayer he parted from this man of God. May your God whom you serve continually, rescue you! (v. 16)

    The stone was placed over the mouth of the den and sealed with the king’s seal and the administrators’ seals. (v. 17) The king retired to a fretful night. The first thing we see the next morning is the king racing to the lion’s den to call out to Daniel. Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to rescue you from the lions? (v. 20) Daniel responded O king, live forever! My God sent his angel and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight. Nor have I ever done any wrong before you, O king. (v.21, 22) Daniel spoke of God as my God. He had developed a personal relationship with God in the quiet of his prayer room. His life gave testimony to the fact that God’s people are not promised an easy road. Like his three friends, he knew God does not give the same kind of deliverance in every situation. (Daniel 3:17, 18) Still, Daniel had the confidence to trust God to see him through whatever crisis he faced.

    The story ends with the king joyfully freeing Daniel. The accusers met the fate they had wished for Daniel. And the king praised the living God. As we exit the story, we are confronted with the question: What would I have done in such a circumstance? The answer may lie in the way we are cultivating our relationship with our Lord right now. How real is your prayer life? Do you sort through life’s issues with God now? If so, you will probably stand true when the testing time comes.