Sunday 6 March 2016

Daniel 6 Commentary: God Delivered Daniel From The Lions' Den

We continue our study on the book of Daniel. Last time we studied Daniel 5 (Handwriting on the Wall) but now we are moving to Daniel chapter 6.

Whenever I think of religious liberty and freedom of conscience my mind is drawn to the Christian and other religious minorities in the Middle East who are under threat from Islamic extremists. 

It is sad to see that there are some people who think they have a right to force others to believe like they do.

It breaks my heart to see people being persecuted for their religious beliefs whether Christian or otherwise.

No one has a right to force others to believe as they do.

In Daniel 6 we face another religious liberty issue during the time of the Medes and Persians. 

This is a continuation of the historical part of the book of Daniel before the book goes back to prophecies from Daniel 7 to the end.

Background to Daniel Chapter 6

In Daniel 6:1-3 we see that Daniel has quickly risen in the ranks to be one of the top most officials in the Medo-Persian Empire administration. 

The bible says that he was promoted "because an excellent spirit was in him."

We can only assume that this meant that he was wise, knowledgeable, faithful and wise in  carrying out official business. 

Unfortunately his success invited jealous from his fellow top civil servants i.e. the governors and satraps. 

Ancient kingdoms are no different from modern governments in that intrigues happened then and still happen now.

The governors and satraps spied on Daniel to discover something that they could use to bring him down. 

Unfortunately for them they found out that Daniel was innocent and righteous in every aspect.

The only vulnerability they could find was in his religion. 

How does the book of Daniel 6:4-8 describe the Governors and Satraps on one hand and the king on the other?

The governors and satraps are depicted as full of envy and ambition. 

It is because of this they wanted to get rid of Daniel who was hindering their progression in the affairs of the empire. 

We also find that the governors and satraps had murderous intentions especially against anyone interfering with their business. 

I guess Daniel being pure and incorruptible was an obstacle to them and they wanted to get rid of such an individual.

The satraps and governors decided to use Daniel's religion against him in order to further their own interests

On the other hand we find that the king was someone who was easily flattered. 

He was quite naive in not seeing that the proposed decree to forbid anyone from praying to any God was done to further their own interests.

Daniels Reaction To The Decree (Daniel 6:10)

Daniel regarded prayer as very important in his life and he was constantly in prayer to his heavenly father. 

No matter the circumstances he turned to God for help as seen in previous chapters of Daniel. 

There was no way he could be stopped from praying. To him prayer was like breathing. He simply could not do without it.

It is inspiring to all of us to see this man of God arranging time for prayer in spite of his many duties and the stresses that that responsibility definitely brought on him. 

Through prayer God's blessings were on him. It was because of prayer that he managed to accomplish all that he did.

Daniel had a special place that he retreated to at specific times to talk to his father in heaven. 

In spite of the decree Daniel continued his prayer at the same place that he frequented.

It would have been a denial of his faith if he had changed the format and timing of his prayer life. 

He continued as if nothing had happened, as if there was no decree. He had nothing to hide. 

Everybody had to know that he acknowledged the God of heaven as the supreme authority over and above any earthly authority.

Daniel in The Lions' Den

The trap is now set and the governors and satraps spy on Daniel knowing that he would still continue praying at the exact place and time like before. 

They then report their finding that Daniel was praying to God contrary to the king's decree.

The king finally realises that he is now been set up and tries to save his faithful servant Daniel. 

Unfortunately the laws of the Medes and Persians were unchangeable. Even the king could not change laws and decrees that he himself had enacted.

The governors pressured the king to follow through and have Daniel executed since their laws and decrees were indissoluble.

The king being both judge and king reluctantly carries out the sentence and Daniel is thrown into the lions's den. 

The door is sealed with the kings seal as the governors did not want the King to later save Daniel. 

The king could only hope that God would save His servant and is stricken with sorrow on losing his friend and faithful servant.

Fortunately God intervenes and shuts the mouths of the lions and the king releases him as the law did not demand death but rather to be thrown into the lions' den.

Daniel's liberation from the lion's den unfortunately also meant the death of his enemies as they are thrown in the lions den.

Because of Daniels faithfulness and liberation from the lions' den the God of heaven was made known in the empire. Even the king acknowledged Him.

This story teaches us that even though we go through our own "lions' den" God is still with us no matter what happens.

I end with EGW comment on this chapter: "The experience of Daniel reveals that a person in business is not necessarily designing and self-serving. God may instruct such a person at every step. Daniel had like passions as ourselves, yet the Bible describes him as without fault. His business transactions, even under the closest scrutiny of his enemies, were found to be without flaw. He was an example of what every businessperson may become with a converted heart." 

Below is a video bible study on Daniel chapter 6 as presented by Ty Gibson and James Rafferty as seen on 3ABN

Click here to for the next study: Daniel chapter 7


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