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Daniel in the Lion's Den
Scripture: Daniel 6:1-27; John 19:7; Matthew 27:62-...
Track 6 of 12 in the Daniel: A Life Without Compromise series
Running time: 1 hour, 05 minutes, 13 seconds.
Darius put in charge of his kingdom an honest man. Having a Jew over you to give account, especially over money, that was probably a hard thing for men who were dishonest and wanting gain from their evil actions to deal with. This honest guy has to go.

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Mike Nobis Speaker: Mike Nobis
Sunday School Teacher, Former Elder at Madison Park Christian Church. Mike is President of JK Creative Printers & Mailing in Quincy, IL. He is married to Pam and has three children, Tom, Tyler and Jennifer. Mike has three grandchildren: Ryne, Ivy and Alicia.

View all sermons by this speaker.

Daniel in the Lion’s Den

Can someone tell me what déjà vu is? How many of you have had this happen to you before? How weird is that experience? When it happens you just know what is coming because you have seen this before. I am not sure when it happens to me that it is an event that has already happened and the present event is exactly the same or if it is an event that was new and I saw the images earlier in my life. But when it happens, you know exactly what is happening.

Déjà vu refers to a state wherein a person feels certain (cognitive judgment) that he or she has previously seen or experienced something that is actually being encountered for the first time. Sigmund Freud believed the feeling corresponded to the memory of an unconscious daydream. Answers.com

Chapter 6 of Daniel is sort of a déjà vu in the scriptures. What we are about to study seemed to happen before. In fact, Chapter 6 sort of explains a little bit how things happened in Chapter 3 when the three friends of Daniel were thrown into the fiery furnace. The scheme used on Nebuchadnezzar is going to be used on Darius. What is fascinating, the scheme works both times but Darius is not as gullible as Nebuchadnezzar was. He is however forced to follow through with an order that was obviously a set-up. The scheme worked but those who produced it pays a heavy price.

Before we get too far, I want you all to understand that the layout of Daniel is not written in chronological order. The actual order is as follows:

1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 8, 5, 9, 6, 10, 11, 12

I will remind everyone of this as we go farther into Daniel. In fact, there are events we already studied that have other parts of the story to them. The Book of Daniel is famous for its visions and predictions. They come later in Daniel but in reality, the visions are interspersed between the main events we already studied.

Last week in our lesson we saw a major transition take place. 23 years after the death of Nebuchadnezzar, as Daniel predicted in the vision he interpreted for Nebuchadnezzar, the kingdom of Babylon falls and the Medes and Persians come to power. In Chapter 3 the focus was on the three friends of Daniel and their refusal to bow down and worship the idol set up by Nebuchadnezzar. At that time the question was, where was Daniel? In Chapter 6, it will be Daniels turn to refuse to worship an idol and he too will have to face death. The question this time is, where are Daniels three friends? Many scholars assume that they are dead due to the advanced age of Daniel.

Daniel 6:1-3 It pleased Darius to appoint 120 satraps to rule throughout the kingdom, with three administrators over them, one of whom was Daniel. The satraps were made accountable to them so that the king might not suffer loss. Now Daniel so distinguished himself among the administrators and the satraps by his exceptional qualities that the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom.

Whatever happened to Daniels popularity after the death of Nebuchadnezzar, there is no question that Daniel is back and God is working through him. This time Daniel will be the #2 man behind King Darius. Darius was very aware that there will be leaders who will try to steel from the kingdom. Daniel was put in such a high position because Darius knew he was an honest man and could be trusted. He also knew that Daniel would not tolerate corruption in his government.

Darius was an interesting person. He was a true leader and was very successful. Darius spent his early years as king putting down revolts in Media, Persia, and Egypt. After solidifying his power in the Middle East, he set out to reconquer the Scythians and Greeks who had rebelled under his predecessor. He was successful in this venture until the Battle of Marathon in 490 B.C. From that time the kingdom began a gradual regression until finally conquered by Alexander the Great in 331 B.C.

In the vision of Nebuchadnezzar, the head of gold represented the Babylonian Empire; it was the best and strongest. The next empire was the Persians. From what we know of how Darius ruled his kingdom, what made his 2nd best to Nebuchadnezzar’s? Nebuchadnezzar was an absolute monarch. He controlled everything. Darius put his kingdom under the rule of several people.

True or False: There is nothing worse than to have a man of integrity running a country.

If this is true, then what are the consequences? If false, what are the consequences?

Daniel 6: 4-9 At this, the administrators and the satraps tried to find grounds for charges against Daniel in his conduct of government affairs, but they were unable to do so. They could find no corruption in him, because he was trustworthy and neither corrupt nor negligent. Finally these men said, “We will never find any basis for charges against this man Daniel unless it has something to do with the law of his God.” So the administrators and the satraps went as a group to the king and said: “O King Darius, live forever! 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 to you, O king, shall be thrown into the lions’ den. Now, O king, issue the decree and put it in writing so that it cannot be altered—in accordance with the laws of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be repealed.” So King Darius put the decree in writing.

Darius put in charge of his kingdom an honest man. If you are someone dishonest, it is not a good thing to have an honorable man over you. If you remember, the reason for the three presidents over all the 120 leaders was to make sure there was an accounting of everything. Having a Jew over you to give account, especially over money, that was probably a hard thing for men who were dishonest and wanting gain from their evil actions to deal with. This honest guy has to go.

What were the areas they looked into to prove he was unfit to lead the kingdom? If you were put to this scrutiny, how many of you would pass the test? Since they couldn’t find anything wrong with Daniel’s leadership, what tactic did they use? Falsehood

What are the parts of this falsehood?
• Deception that all the leaders were unified in this idea.
• They used flattery. All prayers be made to the king honoring his as a god.

Why do you think they used prayer as the weapon to bring Daniel down? How could Darius fall for this obvious scheme? Prayer was an important practice, not only for Daniel but also for the Persians and their gods. The enemy knew Daniel’s practices concerning prayer and prayer was important for the Persians as well making it look like this whole idea was centered on religious worship.

Daniel 6:10-11 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. Then these men went as a group and found Daniel praying and asking God for help.

If you were in this situation, would you go out and deliberately pray in front of people when it was declared wrong or would you be a little more discrete? How far would you take this? How bold would you be?

What is really fascinating about this practice, Solomon anticipated the captivity to take place sometime after his life was over. He actually stated that if the nation were to be carried off into captivity, to help the nation remember their temple and their God, they were to face toward the city when they prayed. Daniel wasn’t in defiance praying out in the open, his prayers were done in a manner that he had done all his life.

Daniel had a serious decision to make. In prayer, he prayed to God for help when he was caught by all the evil leaders doing something he wasn’t to do.

Daniel 6:12-17 So they went to the king and spoke to him about his royal decree: “Did you not publish a decree that during the next thirty days anyone who prays to any god or man except to you, O king, would be thrown into the lions’ den?” The king answered, “The decree stands—in accordance with the laws of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be repealed.” Then they said to the king, “Daniel, who is one of the exiles from Judah, pays no attention to you, O king, or to the decree you put in writing. He still prays three times a day.” When the king heard this, he was greatly distressed; he was determined to rescue Daniel and made every effort until sundown to save him. Then the men went as a group to the king and said to him, “Remember, O king, that according to the law of the Medes and Persians no decree or edict that the king issues can be changed.” So the king gave the order, and they brought Daniel and threw him into the lions’ den. The king said to Daniel, “May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!” A stone was brought and placed over the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the rings of his nobles, so that Daniel’s situation might not be changed.

Knowing who Darius was and how powerful he was, how dangerous is it to fool the king and have him find out about it? How dangerous is pride? In the name of pride, how far will we go in order to save face? Wouldn’t it be better to admit that a mistake was made rather than following an unwise rule that was obviously wrong?

The royal edict was irrevocable. Everyone concerned knew it especially Darius. Daniel was condemned by the laws of man, but a different set of laws were involved. The Persian law could not be altered but God’s law trumps all human laws. There are so many examples in the Bible when God’s laws run up against human law and human law is overpowered by God.

John 19:7 The Jews insisted, “We have a law, and according to that law he must die, because he claimed to be the Son of God.”

How did God’s law trump the human law cited by the Jews? Do you think Daniel and his faith had an effect on Darius? Darius was stuck and couldn’t change what was to happen. What help did Darius turn to?

The king said to Daniel, “May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!”

I think it is interesting how puny man thinks he can out think God. In this case with Daniel, in order to make sure Daniel was not allowed to leave, the kings seal was placed as though that would prevent anyone from help Daniel survive. The same was true with Jesus when he was buried.

Matthew 27:62-66 The next day, the one after Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate. “Sir,” they said, “we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first.” “Take a guard,” Pilate answered. “Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how.” So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard.

Did the precautions of the Jews work? Why not?

Daniel 6:18-23 Then the king returned to his palace and spent the night without eating and without any entertainment being brought to him. And he could not sleep. At the first light of dawn, the king got up and hurried to the lions’ den. When he came near the den, he called to Daniel in an anguished voice, “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to rescue you from the lions?” Daniel answered, “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.” The king was overjoyed and gave orders to lift Daniel out of the den. And when Daniel was lifted from the den, no wound was found on him, because he had trusted in his God.

What was the difference between Nebuchadnezzar’s pronouncement of judgment on Daniel’s and Darius’. How did Darius really feel about what he had to do? Why?

What is ironic about throwing Daniel in a den of lions? Daniel’s God, his Messiah was named the Lion of Judah. Sometimes in scripture lions were used as symbols of Satan and evil. But also God was symbolized as the Lion because of his great strength and superiority. Daniel. Daniel spent the night with the symbols of his God.

Daniel 6:24-27 At the king’s command, the men who had falsely accused Daniel were brought in and thrown into the lions’ den, along with their wives and children. And before they reached the floor of the den, the lions overpowered them and crushed all their bones. Then King Darius wrote to all the peoples, nations and men of every language throughout the land: May you prosper greatly! “I issue a decree that in every part of my kingdom people must fear and reverence the God of Daniel. “For he is the living God and he endures forever; his kingdom will not be destroyed, his dominion will never end. He rescues and he saves; he performs signs and wonders in the heavens and on the earth. He has rescued Daniel from the power of the lions.”

Do you think that Daniel gloated over his victory? Why?

This was a tragic event and the consequences were severe. According to Oriental law, even the family was killed along with the evil person who attempted murder. In Jewish law, only the person responsible was put to death.

What does the decree of the king tell us about him as a person and his feelings for the Jewish people?