See notes below on Daniel a Man of Integrity
Introduction: One of the most familiar stories in the Bible is found in Daniel 6 which picks up where Da 5:31-note left off with Darius the Mede beginning his reign. Just as God had predicted through the dream He gave Nebuchadnezzar, the head of gold, Babylon, was removed and the body and arms of silver, the Medo-Persians, now have been established as the dominant world empire (Da 2:21-note, Da 2:32-note, Da 2:39-note) Judah has been in exile 70 years in Babylon (Da 9:2-note). Daniel is an old man in his 80's (Chronological Structure of Daniel). This chapter marks the end of the "historical" (or narrative) section of Daniel and prepares us for the great prophecies in Daniel 7-12, prophecies that form the "back bone" or foundation for all other Biblical prophecies dealing with the last days that precede and terminate in the Second Coming of the Messiah.
Judah's 70 years of captivity (God's hand of discipline for idolatry -2Chr 36:14, 15, 16. Ezek 8:5-16- and failure to keep the Sabbaths for the land - 2Chr 36:21, Lev 25:4) ended in 539BC just as God had prophesied through Jeremiah…
behold, I will send and take all the families of the north, 'declares the LORD,' and I will send to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, My servant, and will bring them against this land (Note: This teaches the important and at times confusing principle regarding God's use of evil -- At this time Nebuchadnezzar was a violent, ruthless, evil despot. God is not the source of evil, but He is able in His sovereign rule and His omnipotence to utilize evil to accomplish His purposes), and against its inhabitants, and against all these nations round about; and I will utterly destroy them, and make them a horror, and a hissing, and an everlasting desolation. 10 'Moreover, I will take from them the voice of joy and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the sound of the millstones and the light of the lamp. 11 'And this whole land shall be a desolation and a horror, and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years. 12 'Then it will be when seventy years are completed I will punish the king of Babylon and that nation (Note: Fulfilling the prophecy in Daniel 2 that the Head of Gold would be followed by the body and arms of silver, Medo-Persia),' declares the LORD, 'for their iniquity (Same prophecy in Isa 13:17), and the land of the Chaldeans; and I will make it an everlasting desolation. (Jer 25:9, 10, 11, 12)
For thus says Jehovah, ‘When seventy years have been completed for Babylon, I will visit you and fulfill My good word to you, to bring you back to this place. (Je 29:10)
How would God fulfill His promise in Jeremiah to bring them back to Judah and Jerusalem? Through His prophet Isaiah 44 some 150 years earlier God had given the following promise…
Confirming the word of His servant, and performing the purpose of His messengers. It is I who says of Jerusalem, 'She shall be inhabited!' And of the cities of Judah, 'They shall be built.' And I will raise up her ruins again (Note that this was prophesied BEFORE the fall of Jerusalem and Judah - God promises to rebuild even before He allows them to be destroyed!). "It is I who says to the depth of the sea, 'Be dried up!' And I will make your rivers dry. It is I who says of Cyrus (Who had not even been born!), 'He is My shepherd! And he will perform all My desire.' (Pr 21:1) And he (Cyrus) declares of Jerusalem, 'She will be built,' And of the temple, 'Your foundation will be laid.'" (Isa 44:26, 27, 28)
I have aroused him (King Cyrus) in righteousness and I will make all his ways smooth; He will build My city (Jerusalem) and will let My exiles go free (after 70 years of Babylonian captivity), without any payment or reward,” says the Lord of hosts. (Is 45:13).
How was Cyrus to be God's shepherd to lead His sheep, Judah, back to the Promised Land after 70 years of exile? In 539BC (538BC according to the Cyrus Cylinder - see below) God had Cyrus issue a decree (and Persian decrees as we find out in Daniel 6 are irrevocable and binding!), the scribe Ezra recording…
Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah, the LORD (Jehovah) stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he sent a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and also put it in writing, saying:
“Thus says Cyrus king of Persia, ‘The LORD, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and He has appointed me to build Him a house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Whoever there is among you of all His people, may his God be with him! Let him go up to Jerusalem which is in Judah and rebuild the house of the LORD, the God of Israel; He is the God Who is in Jerusalem. Every survivor, at whatever place he may live, let the men of that place support him with silver and gold, with goods and cattle, together with a freewill offering for the house of God which is in Jerusalem.’ (Ezra 1:1, 2, 3, 4, cp additional details were added to this public proclamation in a "Memorandum" - see Ezra 6:2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12)
Archaeology has substantiated the Biblical record (as if the Word of Truth needed any validation!) with the discovery of the famous Cyrus cylinder written in 538BC. On this cuneiform cylinder Cyrus recorded his capture of Babylon and his program of repatriating the conquered peoples to their homelands writing..
From [Babylon] to Aššur and (from) Susa, Agade, Ešnunna, Zamban, Me-Turnu, Der, as far as the region of Gutium, the sacred centers on the other side of the Tigris, whose sanctuaries had been abandoned for a long time, I returned the images of the gods (See Cyrus' words in Ezra 6:5 - "utensils of the temple of God"), who had resided there [in Babylon], to their places [including Jerusalem] and I let them dwell in eternal abodes. I gathered all their inhabitants and returned to them their dwellings.
Donald Campbell writes that Daniel 6
sets before us the example of a man who possessed the "invisible means of support," the "inner resources" that gave purpose to his life, molded his conduct, and sustained him in adversity. Contemporary man would do well to study again this well-known episode and learn the secrets of living happily in a stress-filled society. (Campbell, D. Daniel God's Man in a Secular Society - well written, practical, recommended)
Daniel 6:1-28 are numbered Da 6:2-29 in the Aramaic text.
Recall the 2 major divisions of the book of Daniel…
TWO DIVISIONS OF
|DANIEL 1-6||DANIEL 7-12|
|J Vernon McGee||The Historic Night
with Prophetic Light
|The Prophetic Light
in the Historic Night
|Precept Ministries||Living Out a — Biblical Worldview||Gaining Understanding — of the Time of the End|
|John Phillips||Daniel and
His Personal Friends
His People's Future
|Irving Jensen||Mainly Historical: 6 Historical Narratives||Mainly Predictive:
4 Apocalyptic Visions
|Irving Jensen||Daniel Interprets
The maps below demonstrate the increased geographic size of the Medo-Persian Kingdom…
|THE HEAD OF GOLD:
|Daniel 2:37, 38
|THE BREAST AND ARMS OF SILVER:
Daniel in the Lions' Den, Da 6:1-28
Da 6:1-3 The Position of Daniel,
Da 6:4-9 The Plot Against Daniel,
Da 6:10-11 The Prayer of Daniel,
Da 6:12-17 The Prosecution of Daniel,
Da 6:18-28 The Protection of Daniel,
Warren Wiersbe entitles this chapter "Liars, Laws, and Lions"
Daniel 6 instructs us about remaining faithful when the pressure is on.
Rob Salvato summarizes Daniel 6…
Favored, Framed, Faithful, Fed, Freed!
Darius - Who is this Darius? Darius the Mede ruled from 539-525BC and thus overlapped with the rule of Cyrus (539-530BC). Although it is by no means a consensus, many scholars identify Darius the Mede Gubaru, a general in Cyrus' army who led the forces into Babylon. Note in the table below Darius the Mede is not to be confused with Darius I (the Great).
THE RULERS OF THE
Xerxes I (Ahasuerus)
Darius the Mede (?Gubaru)
Satraps (translated in other versions as "governors" = ICB, "princes" = KJV) - Name given the governors of the provinces of the Median and Persian empires. The title of the viceroys who governed the provinces of the Persian Empire (Ezra 8:36; Esther 3:12; 8:9; 9:3; Da 3:2; 6:1; etc.). The viceroys or vassal rulers were entrusted with governance of the provinces in the Persian empire. This satrap represented the authority of the king in civil and military matters, and supplied the means for maintaining the king’s sovereignty over the whole empire. Satrap is related to the Persian word meaning "protector of the realm." The satrap was usually chosen from the Persian nobility, often from the royal family. One of his important functions was to collect the tribute (taxes), a role which might tempt him to "dip into the king's coffers." (cp phrase "might not suffer loss.")
ISBE adds that…
The satrap was virtually a king; he had his own court and absolute civil authority, and he answered directly to the “great king.” To ensure the satrap’s loyalty to the king, other officials who answered directly to the king were appointed to work alongside the satrap: a secretary (who handled all official correspondence), a chief financial officer (who collected taxes), and a commander of the armed forces. In addition, inspectors known as “the eyes and ears of the king” might appear at any time to check on conditions in the provinces. Judea, a part of (Bromiley, G. W.. The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Revised. Volume 4:345. Wm. B. Eerdmans)
Wikipedia says that…
The satrap was the head of the administration of his province, and found himself surrounded by an all-but-royal court; he collected the taxes, controlled the local officials and the subject tribes and cities, and was the supreme judge of the province before whose "chair" (Nehemiah 3:7) every civil and criminal case could be brought. He was responsible for the safety of the roads (cf. Xenophon), and had to put down brigands and rebels. (Satrap - Wikipedia)
Whitcomb writes that…
Once again, critics insist that they have found a historical blunder in the book of Daniel. The ancient Greek historian Herodotus (III, 89) states that Darius I divided the empire into only twenty satrapies. So, we are told, the author of the book of Daniel must have been thinking of the 127 provinces in the days of King Xerxes, son of Darius I (Esther 1:1). But one look at the biblical text reveals that it is the critics who have committed the blunder at this point. The book of Daniel says nothing of "satrapies" or "provinces." It states that 120 "satraps" were set over the kingdom, namely, "the kingdom of the Chaldeans" (Da 9:1). A "satrap" was a Persian official who could rule over a large province or over a small group of people.' This would harmonize well with the "Nabonidus Chronicle," which states that Gubaru installed sub-governors in Babylon immediately after the fall of the city to the armies of Cyrus. Thus, the statement of Daniel 6:1 has nothing whatsoever to do with the division of the Medo-Persian empire into satrapies or provinces that took place during the later administrations of Darius I and Xerxes. (Daniel- Bible Commentary - Everyman's Bible Commentary)
Ray Pritchard reminds us of why this chapter is so important to modern believers reasoning that…
we learn the secret of Daniel’s success. Somehow he managed to survive and thrive in a spiritually hostile environment. That point is a good place to begin because Christians live in a world of spiritual hostility where the temptation to compromise our faith is with us every day. The world doesn’t want its conscience pricked and doesn’t reward those who dare to stand up for what they believe. In some parts of the world, standing up for Christ means suffering and death. In America (and in most countries in the West) it means ostracism, ridicule, scorn, being left out and perhaps being passed over. It often leads to tension at home and on the job. The book of Daniel tells us how to live for God in a hostile environment. His example shows us that it can be done but not without discomfort. If you don’t compromise, you are sure to come into trouble sooner or later. The story of Daniel and the lion’s den reminds us that there is a spiritual battle raging all around us. The devil himself is like a roaring lion who would devour us if he could (1Pe 5:8-note). Therefore, it should not surprise us if the devil has an army of supporters whose major call in life is to harass us, trick us, and trip us up if they can. You can tell a lot about a person by the quality of his enemies. Daniel must have been a good man because he had the right kind of enemies. The people who hated him were no friends of God. They came after his faith because they could find no fault in him, and they had no answer for what he believed. (How to Tame Lions - Dr. Ray Pritchard - January 2000)
Be in charge of the whole kingdom - The New American Bible renders this interpretatively as "to safeguard his interests" which is a reasonable interpretation in view of the next statement that "the king might not suffer loss." (Da 5:2) Such a position would be responsible to prevent loss from military revolts, tax evasion, fraud, etc
The inferiority (Da 2:39) of this second kingdom of silver to the first kingdom of gold is at once noticeable. Nebuchadnezzar's rule in Babylon was one of absolute monarchy. It was autocratic. He refused to share authority with anyone, being sole dictator in his kingdom. Whom he would he put to death, and whom he would he kept alive. But under King Darius there was a change. This second world empire was not an absolute monarchy. King Darius had the government in his kingdom well organized, setting over it one hundred and twenty princes, (Lehman Strauss Commentary – The Prophecies of Daniel)
Government Employee - Daniel 6
The prophet Daniel worked for the government for many years. If all those who worked for the government or for business had these qualities, the world would be a better place in which to live.
DANIEL WAS A MAN OF CHARACTER - Da 6:1-3
He had an "excellent spirit".
DANIEL WAS A MAN OF CONSISTENCY - Da 6:4-9
He was faithful. There was no accusation possible against the man, unless he was accused about his God. His enemies plotted to undermine him by putting him in a position of possible compromise concerning his God.
DANIEL WAS A MAN OF CONVICTION - Da 6:10-15
Daniel continued to worship his God in spite of the threat of persecution.
He continued to do what was right!
DANIEL WAS A MAN OF CONSCIENCE - Da 6:16-22
After being falsely accused and spending the night in the lion's den, Daniel still had a clean conscience. He could honestly say, "Oh King I have done no hurt."
DANIEL WAS A MAN OF COURAGE - Da 6:23
He had believed in his God and stood firm for Him.
Some questions to stimulate study and discussion…
How does Daniel 6:1, 28 relate to Daniel 5:30, 31? Daniel 6 picks up where Daniel 5 stopped - Fall of Babylon, rise of Medo-Persian empire
How does Daniel 6:1, 28 to Da 2:32, 38, 39? Fulfillment of prophecy of gold giving way to silver, which he said would be inferior.
What does this say about God? His word is sure and does not fail (Josh 21:45, 23:14, Lk 1:37, Lk 1:37ASV). His prophecies and promises will be fulfilled
How old was Daniel? 70 years plus his age when taken captive in 605BC - At least 80yo or older.
How does Daniel's life example relate to Heb 12:1? He is still running with perseverance the race which God set before him, leaving an example for all believers of every age to imitate (Heb 6:11, 12). So many begin well but finish poorly.
What do we learn from Daniel 6 about his married life? Fact that Da 6:24 says wives and children were thrown in the lion's den with the accusers but were not thrown in with Daniel (Da 6:16)
Why are we surprised that Daniel was one of three commissioners? He had been the third ruler in Babylon and the second ruler Belshazzar had been slain (Da 5:30). Why not Daniel? As noted below God's man is immortal until God's purpose for his life is accomplished!
Daniel 6:2 and over them three commissioners (of whom Daniel was one), that these satraps might be accountable to them, and that the king might not suffer loss. (of : Da 2:48,49 5:16,29 1Sa 2:30 Pr 3:16) (that : Mt 18:23 Lk 16:2) (and the : Ezra 4:22 Es 7:4 Pr 26:6 Lk 19:13-27 1Co 4:2)
Of whom Daniel was one (KJV rendering gives a slightly different sense - "of whom Daniel was first") - Daniel presumably was in the party room the night of the overthrow of Babylon and had been given a purple robe and a gold necklace which would cause him to stand out as royalty, not to mention that he was now the third ruler in Babylon! And yet Daniel survived. God's man is immortal until God has fulfilled His purposes in and through that man. God never leaves Himself without a witness, whether in positions of power or in the lower echelons of society.
Wiersbe - Today, wherever you find dedicated believers living and working with unbelievers, you will often see the same forces at work that are described in this chapter, whether in families, churches, corporations, or governments. It’s certainly a commendable thing when people possess character so impeccable that they can’t be accused of doing wrong except in matters relating to their faith. (Wiersbe, Warren: Be Resolute (Daniel)- Determining to Go God's Direction).
Daniel 6:3 Then this Daniel began distinguishing himself among the commissioners and satraps because he possessed an extraordinary spirit, and the king planned to appoint him over the entire kingdom. (Extraordinary: Da 5:12,14 9:23 Ge 41:38-41 Neh 7:2 Pr 3:3,4 17:27 Ec 2:13)
Then - (Always stop interrogate expressions of time like "then") When? When his behavior was compared and contrasted with these other men. Darius recognized that Daniel was a rare jewel, a man of integrity among a crooked and perverse generation. Integrity as someone has said "is the first step in true greatness." (C. Sommons)
Distinguishing (05330)(nesah) is an Aramaic verb meaning to exhibit or show a difference. The Hithpaal force is brought out in a reflexive usage (distinguishing himself). When one is distinguished he is identified as different and distinct. This is the only use in the Scriptures.
It is worth noting that one of the meanings of the corresponding Hebrew word (nasah - 05329 - to be pre-eminent) is brightness or brilliance! Indeed, Daniel's spirit shone brightly in the darkness reminiscent of Paul's exhortation to believers "to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world." (Phil 2:15-note)
Webster's 1828 says distinguish means "to ascertain and indicate difference by some external mark. The farmer distinguishes sheep by their ears. To separate one thing from another by some mark or quality." Daniel was separated from the other commissioners and satraps by his excellent spirit.
Extraordinary (03493) (yattir) is an Aramaic adjective designating something as excellent, outstanding. superior. In Nebuchadnezzar's dream in Da 2:31 the statute was described as "large and of extraordinary (yattir) splendor."
The Septuagint (Lxx) translates excellent in Da 6:3 with the adjective perissos which speaks of that which exceeds the usual expectation and thus is extraordinary or remarkable (Jesus used perissos in John 10:10 to describe His desire that we might have "life and have it abundantly (perissos)".
Yattir is used 8x in Daniel - Da 2:31; 3:22; 4:36; 5:12, 14; 6:3; 7:7, 19
Reputation is what men think you are, while character is what God knows you are. Daniel was both. He was not a hypocritical "OT Pharisee". Daniel knew the truth that what a man is in the sight of God (Pr 15:3), is what a man truly is!
Integrity (from "integer" = the whole of anything, a whole number not a fraction - think "whole character" not a fraction of one!) speaks of the unimpaired state of one's mind and heart, of moral soundness and purity, of incorruptness, of uprightness, of honesty. Just as we would talk about a whole number, so also we can talk about a whole person who is undivided. A person of integrity is living rightly, not divided, nor being a different person in different circumstances. A person of integrity is the same person in private that he or she is in public. Integrity has the same root word as does the word integrated. A leader of integrity has taken the principles that govern his life, internalized them, and integrated them into every area of his life. Integrity is not like a weathervane that changes direction with every shift of the social winds, as Daniel will soon dramatically demonstrate.
What you see is what you get
Congruency between what you verbalize and what you practice. Your "life" matches your "lips"! (Does mine?) cp Jesus' advice - Mt 23:2,3) The essence of integrity is to be on the inside what we appear to be on the outside. Secret indulgences undermine integrity. Public and private behavior are the same. Integrity is what you do when you’re unaware that you’re children are looking and listening. Integrity is who we really are on the inside. A popular book was entitled "Who Are You When Nobody’s Looking?" (This is obviously a secular book because we as believers know that God is ALWAYS looking - Pr 15:3
See also - Ge 16:13 Dt 11:12 21:9 2Chr 6:20 Ps 33:18 Ps 34:15, Ps 113:6, Ps 139:2,3, Job 34:21, 31:4, Pr 5:21 Jer 16:17, 23:24, 32:19 Zech 4:10 Heb 4:13 1Pe 3:12 Ge 6:8.
- Omniscience of God
- Pr 15:3 The Omnipresence of God - Charles Simeon
- William Arnot on Proverbs 15:3, 11 The All-Seeing
- Proverbs 15:3 In Depth Commentary on site
Newton notes that "Integrity describes a person whose thoughts and private behavior are consistent with their outward profession. The Christian leader with integrity is a person whose heart is set on loving and obeying God, no matter what the cost." (Newton, G. C. Growing toward spiritual maturity. Biblical essentials series. Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway Books.)
A simple definition of integrity is doing what you say you will do. Does this describe me?
The measure of a man's character is what he would do if he knew he never would be found out. (see also Judgment Seat of Christ)
1828 Webster's - Integrity comprehends the whole moral character, but has a special reference to uprightness in mutual dealings, transfers of property, and agencies for others. (How's your "integrity quotient"?) Integrity is an unimpaired condition or soundness, adherence to a code of moral values, and the quality or state of being complete and undivided. See also honesty. Integrity means soundness, completeness, honesty.
John MacArthur says that…
Integrity (from the Latin word integer, “entire”) may be defined as the condition or quality of being undivided. It describes those who adhere to their ethical or moral standards without hypocrisy or duplicity. People with integrity lead lives that are one with their stated convictions; they what they preach.” They are honest, sincere, and incorruptible. In biblical terms, those with integrity are “above reproach”—a quality that is to characterize all believers (Php 2:15-note; 1Ti 5:7), but especially elders (1Ti 3:2; Titus 1:6, 7-note).
The Bible stresses the value of integrity by condemning hypocrisy. Jesus repeatedly denounced the religious leaders of His day as hypocrites (Mt. 6:2-note, Mt 6:5-note, Mt 6:16-note; Mt 15:7; 22:18; Lk 12:1, 56; 13:15). Matthew 23 records His blistering malediction on the scribes and Pharisees for their lack of integrity, because “they say things and do not do them” (Mt 23:3). After a series of curses, each introduced by the phrase “woe to you” (Mt 23:13, 14, 15, 16, 23, 25, 27, 29), and after repeatedly denouncing them as hypocrites, Jesus concluded with a stern rebuke: “You serpents, you brood of vipers, how will you escape the sentence of hell?” (Mt 23:33). (MacArthur, J: 2Corinthians. Chicago: Moody Press) (Or see his sermon A Ministry of Integrity which discusses Biblical examples like Job and David)
Also Recommended (click following link to read chapter 1 in preview mode): The Power of Integrity Building a Life Without Compromise
Integrity - Study the 27 uses of the English word integrity in the NAS - Ge 20:5, 6; Jdg 9:16, 19; 1Kgs 9:4; 1Chr 29:17; Job 2:3, 9; 4:6; 8:20; 27:5; 31:6; Ps 7:8-note; Ps 15:2-note; Ps 25:21-note; Ps 26:1-note, Ps 26:11-note; Ps 41:12-note; Ps 78:72-note; Ps 101:2-note; Pr 2:7; 10:9; 11:3; 19:1; 20:7; 28:6; Amos 5:10
Fathers and mothers (but especially us as fathers for we are accountable to God to be the godly leaders of our families) read (and heed) Solomon's advice (something that he seems to himself have failed to heed! Witness his son - 1Ki 11:43, 12:7,8, 13)…
A righteous man who walks in his integrity
How blessed are his sons after him.
WHAT TO LEAVE YOUR CHILDREN - by C H Spurgeon (From Faith's Checkbook on Proverbs 20:7)
ANXIETY about our family is natural, but we shall be wise if we turn it into care about our own character. If we walk before the Lord in integrity, we shall do more to bless our descendants than if we bequeathed them large estates. A father’s holy life is a rich legacy for his sons.
The upright man leaves his heirs his example, and this in itself will be a mine of true wealth. How many me may trace their success in life to the example of their parents!
He leaves them also his repute. Men think all the better of us as the sons of a man who could be trusted, the successors of a tradesman of excellent repute. Oh, that all young men were anxious to keep up the family name!
Above all, he leaves his children his prayers and the blessing of a prayer-hearing God, and these make our offspring to be favored among the sons of men. God will save them even after we are dead. Oh, that they might be saved at once!
Our integrity may be God’s means of saving our sons and daughters. If they see the truth of our religion proved by our lives, it may be that they will believe in Jesus for themselves. Lord, fulfill this word to my household!
Chuck Colson exaggeratedly (albeit rightly) said "The three most important ingredients in Christian work are integrity, integrity, integrity."
It’s a fact of life that you never know when your integrity will be tested. But is is also true that integrity shines brightest against the backdrop of adversity. People may doubt what you say, but they will always believe what you do.
Satan does not need to accomplish much to destroy integrity. Because integrity has to do with wholeness, even a small chink destroys it. Integrity is a true 24/7 concept. Consistently right choices create (or reveal) integrity. One evil choice creates a fault line of potential catastrophe.
A person of integrity is unimpeachable. He or she stands by principles no matter what the consequences. In fact integrity can cost you a relationship, reputation, promotion, job, even your life.
Do you speak the truth (Biblical truth in love) no matter what people want to hear? That's integrity.
"In our society, those whose lives are marked by moral soundness, uprightness, honesty, and sincerity are usually thought of as people of integrity. However, society’s standards often fall far short of God’s. Spiritual integrity calls for the highest possible standard of behavior and requires supernatural resources available only to those who trust in Him." (John MacArthur)
Seek to have a life that bears scrutiny.
Do you have singleness of heart, of mind, of vision, of purpose? That's integrity. Paul said it this way "one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Php 3:13,14) Integrity manifest a single heart, a single mind, a single eye, a single focus - ONE THING - Integrity presses on toward the goal!
People of biblical integrity tend also to be people with unashamed boldness.
Integrity enjoys God's favor (cp Da 1:9) for He delights in granting special grace and favor to those whose hearts are set on pleasing Him
1Chr 12:33 describes men "with an undivided heart" where undivided heart in Hebrew literally = they were without a heart and a heart! That's Biblical integrity!
Integrity practices what it preaches! If your enemies were out to get you, and did an audit of your lifestyle, could they find room to criticize you? Daniel’s life of utmost integrity was such that his enemies could find nothing with which to accuse and besmirch him! Why did Daniel's enemies know he would defy the King’s law in Daniel 6:10ff? Because Daniel was a man of integrity—he was consistent -- He did not pray to show his integrity, he prayed because of his integrity.
If you had to write your epitaph, what would you say? In fact you are "writing your epitaph" today with the choices you make and by the way you live out those choices. Your friends and family will remember you for something, what will it be? May our earnest desire be that when we are laid to rest our life will have earned the epitaph—He/she was a man/a woman of Integrity. True be told, when it is all said and done, integrity is all that really counts.
The Bible teaches that a believer's integrity is never for sale and never to be sacrificed.
"A person with integrity is one whose thoughts, beliefs, words, and actions are all in perfect harmony. For the Christian, integrity involves having every area of life in submission to the truth of God’s Word, with nothing inconsistent or out of sync. A person with integrity is not like Talkative in Pilgrim’s Progress, who was described by those who knew him as a saint abroad but a devil at home." (John MacArthur)
"What enables a person to persevere is integrity. Integrity means that we are able to live without compromising what God has made us to be. Integrity enables us to stay on course, instead of panicking and bailing out. Integrity is strengthened through repeated tests. The trials God sends purge us of sin and enable us to mature in integrity." (R C Sproul)
Integrity in leadership is inseparable from humility in leadership… Ultimately, our integrity in personal ministry comes from daily honesty with Christ. Don’t depend on someone else to keep you ethical. - Scott Morton
THE POWER TO LIVE WITH INTEGRITY
Where does the power to live with integrity come from according to…
Horace Greeley - Fame is a vapor, popularity an accident, riches take wings, those who cheer today may curse tomorrow, only one thing endures—character.
The Puritan writer Thomas Watson might as well have said the following of Daniel - The plainer the diamond the more it sparkles. The plainer the heart is the more it sparkles in God's eyes. (Does you heart "sparkle" in His eyes? cp 2Chr 16:9)
A clear conscience is a prime benefit of integrity, and it enables one to stand firm when the storms of life come upon us. If your heart does not condemn you, but affirms you, you can be a tower of strength for "The man of integrity walks securely" (Pr 10:9) where the Hebrew for "securely" means safety, security, place of refuge; feeling of trust, assurance, without concern, confidence. A person of integrity will have a good reputation and not have to fear that he or she will be exposed or found out. Integrity provides a safe path through life.
Lose all rather than lose your integrity, and when all else is gone, still hold fast a clear conscience as the rarest jewel which can adorn the bosom of a mortal… Serve God with integrity, and if you achieve no success, at least no sin will lie upon your conscience. Spurgeon - Morning and Evening.
There is an evangelistic magnetism in integrity (Think of the effect of Daniel on the lives of King Nebuchadnezzar and King Darius) Every day we rub shoulders with people who are watching. Here in Daniel 6 we see that some are watching who the become jealous, but others are attracted to what they observe. When Christ is our life and He is living through us (think of integer = one - Christ is in us, we are in Covenant with Him, we are "one" with Him, and when we walk in integrity, that "oneness" with Christ becomes obvious to others!), we become an aroma of life to some but an aroma of death to others (see 2Cor 2:14, 15, 16). The integrity of a believer's life will demonstrate to the lost world whether Christianity is true or false. They make value judgments about us by our attitudes and actions. Have we made the right choices? Remember we may be the "only Bible" those around us will ever read! What is the "Gospel" according to __________ (your name here)? In other words, people around us often judge the truthfulness of Christianity by its affect in our lives. If they see Christians as duplicitous, as hypocrites, etc, they may not go any further in their investigation of the gospel.
Jesus is the supreme model of integrity. His enemies, even in their flattery, could only declare, "Teacher, we know you are a man of integrity. You aren’t swayed by men, because you pay no attention to who they are; but you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth" (Mk 12:14). So one thing integrity means is that we speak the truth no matter what people want to hear.
Christ is our ultimate model of integrity. He could declare "I and the Father are one" (John 10:30). His will was so integrated with the will of His Father that there was no division of mind or heart (think "integer") Believers have been redeemed and are in the oneness of the New Covenant relationship that we are also to be so integrated, to be conformed to the image of God in Christ.
A few words describing the opposite of integrity beginning with "d" = devious, deceitful, dissembling, doubletalk, double-minded, duplicitous, dishonest, double-dealing, deceptive, delusive, defrauding! The opposite of integrity is corruption (Daniel was incorruptible). This person lives in contradiction; without an integrating core one’s conduct is marked by a host of "d" words!
A few words that are synonymous with integrity = conscientious, honest, principled, true, honorable, noble, just, scrupulous, upright, blameless, aboveboard, forthright, straightforward, open, authentic, trustworthy, incorruptible, moral, upstanding, fair-minded.
One tiny piece of dirt in the carburetor can prevent a powerful otherwise well tuned truck from successfully climbing a mountain. This is a rather small impurity but it is all-important in making the ascent. In the same way, one tiny lapse in our integrity can have a great impact on our spiritual trek.
Daniel began distinguishing himself - Why? Because he possessed an extraordinary spirit. Do you your work with excellence as unto the Lord, as if He were the One "inspecting" your work? (see Col 3:17-note, Col 3:23, 24-note = How is this possible? We need to obey the command to let the Word of Christ dwell in us richly! Col 3:16-note, which relates to being filled with the Spirit, Eph 5:18-note, which relates to doing our doing our work heartily).
MacArthur suggests that "God wanted Daniel in this place of influence to encourage and assist in the Jews’ return to Judah, since the return was made in Cyrus’s first year (539–537BC)." (Daniel: God's Control over Rulers and Nations)
David a man after God's own heart prayed for integrity in Ps 86:11 and also asked that his integrity be examined, tried and tested (!) in Psalm 26…
Teach me Thy way, O LORD; I will walk in Thy truth; Unite my heart to fear Thy name. (Note: NIV, NRSV = "give me an undivided heart")
Vindicate me, O Lord, for I have walked in my integrity, and I have trusted in the Lord without wavering. Examine me, O Lord, and try me; Test my mind and my heart. (Ps 26:1, 2) (Verbs in red are imperatives = commands)
Wiersbe comments: Integrity means that your life is whole, that your heart is not divided. Jesus said, "No one can serve two masters" (Mt. 6:24-note). That's integrity. Duplicity means trying to serve two masters. Our Lord also said that nobody can look in two directions at the same time. If your eye is single, then your body is full of light. But if your eye is double, watch out. The darkness is coming in (Mt. 6:22,23-note). If you look at the darkness and the light simultaneously, the darkness crowds out the light. (Warren Wiersbe. Prayer, Praise and Promises).
This same idea of an undivided heart is found in these verses - Mt 6:24-note, Jas 1:6-note, Jas 4:8-note Lk 16:13; cp. 1Ki 18:21; 2Ki 17:41; Ga 1:10] David prays for a single-mindedness, a single focus, a heart not focused with one "eye" on the world's delectables and the other on the heaven's divinity. (cp Jesus' desire that our "eye be single, [and then] thy whole body shall be full of light." Mt 6:22-note)
Several OT characters are designated persons of integrity: Noah (Gen. 6:9); Abraham (Ge 17:1); Jacob (Ge 25:27); Job (Job 1:1, 8; 2:3); and David (1Kings 9:4).
The integrity of (George) Washington was incorruptible. His principles were free from the contamination of selfish and unworthy passions. His real and avowed motives were the same. His ends were always upright, and his means pure. He was a statesman without guile, and his professions, both to his fellow-citizens and to foreign nations, were always sincere. No circumstances ever induced him to use duplicity. He was an example of the distinction which exists between wisdom and cunning; and his manly, open conduct, was an illustration of the soundness of the maxim, "that honesty is the best policy." (Hall, V. M George Washington : The Character and Influence of One Man. San Francisco: Foundation for American Christian Education)
It is interesting that Jesus did not use the word "integrity" but he did use terms and phrases that are virtually synonymous when he called for purity of heart (Mt. 5:8), singleness of purpose (Mt. 6:22), and purity of motive (Mt. 6:1-6).
Do you refuse to compromise with the enemy when you’re under stress? That's integrity.
Do you fulfill your commitments, and are you devoted to your duties? That's integrity
Are you in constant, untiring pursuit of truth? Do you, in short, "ring true"? That's integrity
When you die and people file out of the church after your memorial service, will they comment, "He said what he meant and meant what he said"? Will they say, "You knew where he stood," or "You could trust him," or "You could count on him"? Will someone say, "He had integrity"?
Ten elements that make up personal integrity—and the Bible personalities who exemplified them—are honesty (Daniel), compassion (Boaz), wisdom (Solomon), self-control (Timothy), joy (Paul), trust (Abraham), faithfulness (Caleb and Joshua), balance (Mary and Martha), sexual purity (Joseph), and endurance (Job).
"People of integrity can be trusted to be faithful. If they promise something, they will do it. Their actions are built on high moral principles. Their words are not spoken for gossip, spreading rumors, tearing others down, or for distorting the truth. People of integrity discover what pleases God—then they do it. Christians with integrity are committed both to hearing God’s Word and to doing what it says." (Ted Engstromm)
In his book I Surrender, Patrick Morley writes that the church’s integrity problem is in the misconception "that we can add Christ to our lives, but not subtract sin. It is a change in belief without a change in behavior." He goes on to say, "It is revival without reformation, without repentance."
Maintenance of personal integrity calls for us to be diligent to watch over our hearts - Pr 4:23 - See Commentary on Proverbs 4:23
G. K. Chesterton spoke to the need to discipline ourselves for godliness (1Ti 4:7, 8-note) by guarding our hearts writing that…
Morality, like art,
consists in drawing a line somewhere.
If we would be men and women of integrity we would be wise to continually let the words of David as be the sincere prayer of our heart…
The late esteemed Baptist preacher Adrian Rogers once asked…
Does character count? It does if there is a God in glory - a God Who helped our founders establish this nation, and Who has sustained this nation and brought us thus far. (Read his entire answer = Does Character Count)
Pray for revival
Prepare for survival
Get ready for arrival!
Integrity leaves a legacy for one's children to follow in our steps.
A righteous man who walks in his integrity-- How blessed are his sons after him. (Pr 20:7).
Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will stand before kings. He will not stand before obscure men. (Pr 22:29)
Comment: Remember that this is a proverb, not a promise, and your good work in the Lord's sight (Who will reward you in this life and/or the next) may not always be perceived as "good" in the eyes of your pagan peers or superiors. Irregardless to how men respond, we need to heed Paul's command…
Whatever you do, do your work (present imperative = command to make this our habitual practice… LIKE DANIEL!) heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men; knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve (cp Da 6:20 "servant of the living God"!). (Col 3:23, 24-note)
Integrity Will be Tested - A pastor preached a sermon on honesty one Sunday. On Monday morning he took the bus to get to his office. He paid the fare, and the bus driver gave him back too much change. During the rest of the journey, the pastor was rationalizing how God had provided him with some extra money he needed for the week. But he just could not live with himself, and before he got off the bus he said to the driver, "You have made a mistake. You’ve given me too much change." And he proceeded to give him back the extra money. The driver smiled and said, "There was no mistake. I was at your church yesterday and heard you preach on honesty. So I decided to put you to a test this morning." Integrity - one's deeds match one's words!
Dr W H Houghton, pastored the Calvary Baptist Church in NYC and later served as president of Moody Bible Institute. When Dr. Houghton became pastor of the Baptist Tabernacle in Atlanta, a man in that city hired a private detective to follow Dr. Houghton and report on his conduct. After a few weeks, the detective was able to report to the man that Dr. Houghton’s life matched his preaching. As a result of Houghton's faithful life, a life of integrity, that man became a Christian.
Wesley Pippert offers the following wise advice:
One of the most effective disciplines I know is not to do something that first time — for repetition will come far easier… Not doing something for the first time is a tremendous bulwark against not doing it later. As moral philosopher Sissela Bok has said in her book, Lying (New York: Pantheon, 1978, p. 28),
It is easy to tell a lie but hard to tell only one.
Discipline will help us avoid the guilt that we often experience by dabbling in things we shouldn’t.
An important fruit of discipline
Few things are more important than whether one has a good reputation, a “good name.” Not all people are gregarious or outgoing. Not all people are sought after or loveable. But everyone can have integrity. Integrity flows more out of a disciplined character than a daring personality. (From Letters to Graduates - Myrna Grant) (This quote is from a book I would highly recommend by Kent Hughes - see Google excerpt from Hughes on Integrity - Disciplines of a Godly Man - see also excerpt below from same source - enter page 123 for Chapter 10 - "Discipline of Integrity")
THE DAY AMERICA Told the Truth, a new book based on an extensive opinion survey which guaranteed the anonymity of the participants, reveals an alarming crisis of integrity in America. Only 13 percent of Americans see all Ten Commandments as binding on us today. Ninety-one percent lie regularly — at home and at work. In answer to the question, “Whom have you regularly lied to?” the statistics included 86 percent to parents and 75 percent to friends. A third of AIDS carriers admit to not having told their lovers. Most workers admit to goofing off for an average of seven hours — almost one whole day — a week, and half admit that they regularly call in sick when they are perfectly well… The truth is, American culture is in big trouble. The colossal slide of integrity (especially masculine ethics) has grim spiritual, domestic, and political implications which threaten the survival of life as we know it.
But for the Christian, the most chilling fact is this: there is little statistical difference between the ethical practices of the religious and the nonreligious. Doug Sherman and William Hendricks, in their book Keeping Your Ethical Edge Sharp, note Gallup’s statistics that 43 percent of non-church attenders admit to pilfering work supplies, compared to 37 percent of attenders. Seventeen percent of the unchurched use the company phone for long-distance personal calls, but 13 percent of those who attend worship do likewise. But is this true of real Christians? we may ask. Sherman and Hendricks answer yes. The general ethical conduct of Christians varies only slightly from non-Christians, with grand exceptions, of course. Sadly, Christians are almost as likely as non-Christians to:
• Falsify their income tax returns.
• Commit plagiarism (teachers especially know this).
• Bribe to obtain a building permit — “That’s the way business is done.”
• Ignore construction specs.
• Illegally copy a computer program.
• Steal time.
• Commit phone theft.
• Exaggerate a product.
• Tell people what they want to hear.
• Selectively obey the laws.
My great-grandfather, Daniel Bell, Jr., was scrupulously honest. Here is what one of his sons wrote about his integrity. One time, we took Daniel to the lumberyard with us. Our little four-year-old daughter, Ruth, picked up a small scrap of wood. As we left, Daniel asked Ruth where she got the piece of wood. She replied, "I found it on the floor." He then asked,
"Did you pay for it?" "No," she replied. "Did you work for it?" "No." "Did anyone give it to you as a gift?" "No." "Well, then, if you have not paid for it and if it was not a gift and if you have not worked for it and you took it, that is stealing. Now you go back into the lumberyard and return it."
Ruth has never forgotten this lesson in honesty.—Tricia Truax, Durham, North Carolina (Discipleship Journal 104: March/April, 1998)
EYES OF INTEGRITY - When friends at the pool teasingly told my husband that a beautiful blond was coming his way, they were amazed that he didn’t turn to look.
"Aren’t you going to look?" they asked him.
Dan joked that his wife wouldn’t let him.
"But it is your wife!" they laughed.
Dan’s obedience to Mt. 5:28 and his consistent modeling of Christ’s love for His church have made Jesus’ pure and unfailing love ever more real to me. —Julie A. Bailey, Carlsbad, California (Discipleship Journal 104: March/April, 1998)
Psalm 101 - The Walk of Integrity
• Integrity loves the Lord and His justice. Psalm 101:1-note
• Integrity lives a blameless life. Psalm 101:2-note
• Integrity keeps its eyes from evil. Psalm 101:3-note
• Integrity protects itself from the perverse. Psalm 101:4-note
• Integrity silences gossip and slander. Psalm 101:5-note
• Integrity seeks fellowship with God’s faithful and wisdom from the wise. Psalm 101:6-note
• Integrity denounces deceit and dishonesty. Psalm 101:7-note
• Integrity confronts those who compromise. Psalm 101:8-note
(From June Hunt's excellent resource - Biblical Counseling Keys on Dating) (Notes are from Spurgeon's Treasury of David)
I. INTEGRITY OF A PERSON (Proverbs 11:1-9)
A. Integrity in Business (Proverbs 11:1)
B. Integrity and Humility (Proverbs 11:2, 3)
C. Integrity and God’s Judgment (Proverbs 11:4, 5, 6)
D. Integrity and God’s Deliverance (Proverbs 11:7, 8, 9)
II. INTEGRITY OF A COMMUNITY (Proverbs 11:10-14)
A. City Celebrates (Proverbs 11:10, 11)
B. Damage of Careless Accusals (Proverbs 11:12, 13)
C. Nation Adrift (Proverbs 11:14)
A. Satan Hates Integrity
B. The Hard Choice for Integrity
(Adapted from King James Version Standard Lesson Commentary)
Related resource: Proverbs 11:1 Honesty is the Best Policy
Integrity of Hearts not Walls! - In ancient China, the people desired security from the barbaric hordes to the north. So they built the Great Wall of China. It was too high to climb over, too thick to break down, and too long to go around. Security achieved! The only problem was that during the first hundred years of the wall’s existence, China was invaded three times. Was the wall a failure? Not really—for not once did the barbaric hordes climb over the wall, break it down, or go around it. How then did they get into China? The answer lies in human nature. They simply bribed a gatekeeper and then marched right in through a gate. The fatal flaw in the Chinese defense was placing too much reliance on a wall and not putting enough effort into building character into the gatekeeper.
Wholehearted Dedication - Any task we do as Christians should be done with wholehearted dedication, for God is never satisfied with a halfhearted effort. H. A. Ironside learned this early in life while working for a Christian shoemaker. Young Harry’s job was to prepare the leather for soles. He would cut a piece of cowhide to size, soak it in water, and then pound it with a flat-headed hammer until it was hard and dry. This was a wearisome process, and he wished it could be avoided. Harry would often go to another shoe shop nearby to watch his employer’s competitor. This man did not pound the leather after it came from the water. Instead, he immediately nailed it onto the shoe he was making. One day Harry approached the shoemaker and said, “I noticed you put the soles on while they are still wet. Are they just as good as if they were pounded?” With a wink and a cynical smile the man replied, “No, but they come back much quicker this way, my boy!” Young Harry hurried back to his boss and suggested that perhaps they were wasting their time by drying out the leather so carefully. Upon hearing this, his employer took his Bible, read Colossians 3:23-note to him, and said, “Harry, I do not make shoes just for the money. I’m doing it for the glory of God. If at the judgment seat of Christ I should have to view every shoe I’ve ever made, I don’t want to hear the Lord say, ‘Dan, that was a poor job. You didn’t do your best.’ I want to see His smile and hear, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant!’” It was a lesson in practical Christian ethics that Ironside never forgot! - H. G. Bosch (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
In all the daily tasks we do,
The Bible helps us clearly see
That if the Work is good and true,
We’re living for eternity.
In God’s eyes it is a great thing
to do a little thing well.
Little Things Count (cp Da 1:8) - The story has been told of a bank employee who was due for a good promotion. One day at lunch the president of the bank, who happened to be standing behind the clerk in the cafeteria, saw him slip two pats of butter under his slice of bread so they wouldn’t be seen by the cashier. That little act of dishonesty cost him his promotion. Just a few pennies’ worth of butter made the difference. The bank president reasoned that if an employee cannot be trusted in little things he cannot be trusted at all. (Illustrations for Biblical Preaching)
Charles Simeon in a sermon on Job 23:10 (see commentary) discusses a great benefit of personal integrity…
A consciousness of their own integrity is a rich source of consolation to them in a trying hour—There are times and seasons when almost all the other springs of comfort seem dried up: sometimes it may be painful even to reflect upon God (Ps 77:3-note). Job acknowledges in the context, that God’s “presence was a trouble to him:” but knowing that God was acquainted with his heart, he could yet appeal to him respecting his own integrity: and from this source he derived a pleasing satisfaction, an encouraging hope. St. Paul, under a daily and hourly expectation of martyrdom, experienced much joy in the same thought (2Co 1:8,9,10,11,12): nor shall we find it a small consolation to us, under any trials we may be called to endure. (The Upright Person's Comfort Under Afflictions)
Lord's Prayer - A minister parked his car in a no-parking zone in a large city because he was short of time and couldn’t find a space with a meter. So he put a note under the windshield wiper that read: “I have circled the block ten times. If I don’t park here, I’ll miss my appointment. Forgive us our trespasses.” When he returned, he found a citation from a police officer along with this note: “I’ve circled this block for ten years. If I don’t give you a ticket, I’ll lose my job. Lead us not into temptation. (Illustrations for Biblical Preaching)
Integrity of Lincoln - Throughout his administration, Abraham Lincoln was a president under fire, especially during the scarring years of the Civil War. And though he knew he would make errors of office, he resolved never to compromise his integrity. So strong was this resolve that he once said, "I desire so to conduct the affairs of this administration that if at the end, when I come to lay down the reins of power, I have lost every other friend on earth, I shall at least have one friend left, and that friend shall be down inside of me." Today In The Word
Truth and Integrity - Our relationship with an ever-faithful God demands an ever-faithful life from his people. Others should be able to bank on our promises and entrust to us any important matter, with no further thought. We need to be known for our integrity as Tiffany’s is known for jewelry. We are called to be moral absolutists in a society of moral relativists. We need to be responsible and to act responsibly. We need to integrate our faith in the God we trust with a personal integrity that can always be trusted. (Hurley, V Speaker's sourcebook of new illustrations Dallas: Word Publishers)
Warren Wiersbe in his book The Integrity Crisis (referring to the church in America) writes that
"In order to understand integrity, we must first realize that two forces are at work in our world today: (1) God is putting things together; and (2) sin is tearing things apart. God wants to make us integers; Satan want to make us fractions… Integrity is to personal or corporate character what health is to the body or 20/20 vision is to the eyes. A person with integrity is not divided (that's duplicity) or merely pretending (that's hypocrisy). He or she is "whole"; life is "put together," and things are working together harmoniously. People with integrity have nothing to hide and nothing to fear. Their lives are open books. They are integers!… Jesus made it clear that integrity involves the whole person: the heart, the mind, and the will. The person with integrity has a single heart. He doesn't try to love God and the world at the same time (Mt 6:24-note). His heart is in heaven (THINK OF DANIEL PRAYING 3X A DAY) and that's where his treasure is (Mt 6:21-note)… An integrated person takes the command seriously "You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart (Mt 22:37). The person with integrity also has a single mind, a single outlook ("eye") that keeps life going in the right direction. After all, outlook helps to determine outcome; "a double minded man [is] unstable in all his ways" (Jas 1:8-note)… Jesus also said the person with integrity has a single will; he seeks to serve but one master… The first duty of every soul is to find not its freedom but its Master! Once you find your Master, Jesus Christ, you will find your freedom… for "if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed" (Jn 8:36). No one can successfully serve two masters. To attempt to do so is to become a fractional person, and a fractional person does not have INTEGRITY! Instead he is someone with a divided heart, a divided mind, a divided will." (Warren W Wiersbe - The Integrity Crisis, 1988).
Commissioners and satraps - KJV renders it "presidents and princes".
Extraordinary (excellent, preeminent, exceptional) - This is a key Aramaic word in this "Gentile" (Da 2-7) section of Daniel (Da 2:31, 3:22, 4:36, 5:12, 5:14, 6:3, 7:7, 7:19). In the previous chapter we observed that King Nebuchadnezzar had appointed Daniel chief of the magicians, conjurers, Chaldeans, and diviners because of his extraordinary spirit (Da 5:11, 12). Enduring excellence for his 80+ years! What a testimony!
Weekday Christians - A young man was being interviewed for a position in a small business firm. He had a neat appearance and made a good impression on the owner. He had also prepared an excellent résumé in which he listed his pastor, his Sunday school teacher, and a church deacon as references. The owner of the business studied the résumé for several minutes, then said, "I appreciate these recommendations from your church friends. But what I would really like is to hear from someone who knows you on weekdays."
Sorry to say, there is a sharp contrast between the way some Christians act in church and how they behave in the world. The principles they profess on Sunday should be practiced every day. Daniel was an ideal model in his relationship with both God and man. He did not live by a double standard. His daily conduct was consistent with his spiritual values. His enemies tried to find some charge against him, but no fault could be found (6:4). His walk in the world was in harmony with his walk with God. Would our church friends be shocked if they observed our actions and heard our speech at our job or in our home? A good Sunday Christian will also be a good weekday Christian. — Richard De Haan
Consistency! How much we need
To walk a measured pace,
To live the life of which we speak
Until we see Christ's face.
A hypocrite is a person who is not himself on Sunday.
Peter exhorts us as believers to live a "Danielesque" lifestyle and…
Keep (present tense = continually, as your lifestyle) your behavior (anastrophe) excellent (kalos) among the Gentiles (How? go back to 1Pe 2:11-note to note one way!), so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers (Note: Exactly what they did to Daniel - accused him of breaking the Persian law!), they may on account of your good deeds (word study), as they observe them, glorify (doxazo) God in the day of visitation (episkope). (1Pe 2:12-note)
and keep (present tense = continually, as your lifestyle) a good conscience (suneidesis) (How? By keeping your behavior excellent) (Why?) so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile (epereazo) your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame (Kataischuno). (1Pe 3:16-note, see also 1Pe 4:14, 15,16, 17-note)
Jerry Bridges says that Daniel challenges each by "setting the bar high" noting that for NT believers…
Godlike character is both the fruit of the Spirit as he works within us and the result of our personal efforts (Ed: God's sovereignty/man's responsibility). We are both totally dependent upon His working within us and totally responsible for our own character development (cp God's practical "definition" of the New Covenant - Ezek 36:27)… Though the power for godly character comes from Christ, the responsibility for developing and displaying that character is ours. (Amen or Oh my!)
King planned to appoint him - Like Pharaoh with Joseph because "no one (was) so discerning and wise as" Joseph (Ge 41:38, 39, 40, 41).
Over the entire kingdom - He was in effect the "president elect" (elected by Darius). Whether his co-presidents knew this is doubtful. Daniel seems to always rise to the top and even as Babylon ceased to be the leading world empire, he was for a very short time the third leading ruler in Babylon! (Da 5:29) It is certainly evidence of the good hand of Jehovah upon this man's life for it would be unusual (potentially even dangerous) to appoint a leader in a defeated kingdom to a post of power, not to mention the hesitancy to make such an appointment because of his age.
Daniel 6:4 Then the commissioners and satraps began trying to find a ground of accusation against Daniel in regard to government affairs; but they could find no ground of accusation or evidence of corruption, inasmuch as he was faithful, and no negligence or corruption was to be found in him. (began trying: Da 3:8 Ge 43:18 Judges 14:4 Ps 37:12,13,32,33 Pr 29:27 Ec 4:4 Jer 18:18,23 20:10 Mt 26:4 27:18 Lk 20:20 22:2 ) (but: 1Sa 18:14 19:4,5 22:14 Lk 23:14,15 Jn 19:4 2Co 11:12 Php 2:15 1Ti 5:14 Titus 2:8 1Pe 2:12, 3:16, 4:14,15,16)
Commissioners (sarekayya from sarak = "high official") - Translated presidents in other versions like KJV, ESV.
Lehman Strauss - The promotion and primacy of Daniel marked the beginning of some real trouble for this godly old sage. The twin sins of envy and jealousy, stirred by the devil in the hearts of the other members of the king's cabinet, aroused those men to plot evil against Daniel. Their anticipated gain through graft and other dishonorable means would be in jeopardy as long as Daniel held the number one post in the king's cabinet. Then, too, they could not stand having this foreigner, and a Hebrew at that, in the position of superiority over them. (Lehman Strauss Commentary - The Prophecies of Daniel)
Began trying to find a ground of accusation against Daniel - Why? Daniel was targeted because he was successful and he was godly. Lesson? Doing right is no guarantee everything will go right. Daniel like his three friends in Daniel 3 had become the target of envy/jealousy in the new Persian government. Beloved, we all do well to quickly confess and repent of the deadly sin of jealously which Solomon says "is severe (cruel) as Sheol (the grave)" (Song 8:6)! As someone has well said jealousy is the raw material of murder (cp Ge 4:6, 7, 8, cp Da 6:16). The man of integrity can become a target for those who lack integrity.
Faithful (0540)(aman corresponding to the Hebrew verb aman = to believe) is an Aramaic verb meaning to trust in, to put one’s faith in someone or something. Used 3x in the Bible, Da 2:45 (of the trustworthiness of the dream interpretation), Da 6:4 (Daniel's personal trustworthiness) and Da 6:23 (of Daniel's faith or trust in his God.). The Lxx translates aman with pistos which in the passive sense describes persons as trustworthy and dependable, the opposite of dishonest. Of God as faithful (Heb 10:23).
Negligence - Webster's 1828 = Habitual omission of that which ought to be done, or a habit of omitting to do things, either from carelessness or design. Negligence is usually the child of sloth or laziness, and the parent of disorders in business, often of poverty.
Corruption - Webster's 1828 = perversion or deterioration of moral principles; loss of purity or integrity. A departure from the original or from what is pure or correct. Debasement; taint; or tendency to a worse state. "Keep my honor from corruption." (Shakespeare)
Daniel reminds us of Paul who declared "In view of this (Acts 24:14, 15), I also do my best to maintain always a blameless conscience both before God and before men." (Acts 24:16)
Thomas Brooks - Envy, it tortures the affections, it vexes the mind, it inflames the blood, it corrupts the heart, it wastes the spirits; and so it becomes man's tormentor and man's executioner at once.
Keep the historical/Biblical context in mind. Although we cannot state the date with certainty, it would have been some time around the events of Daniel 6 that King Cyrus was looking favorably on the request of the Jews for release or had already issued such a decree as recorded in Ezra 1:2,3, 4 (Ezra 1:1 = "first year of Cyrus king of Persia" = 539BC)
Lehman Strauss - Dr. Walter L. Wilson told how a good and godly Christian gentleman was confronted by a man who berated him and accused him of things which were false. The saint of God stood patiently until his accuser had finished, after which he bowed his head and prayed, "Father, I thank Thee that these accusations against me are not true." (Lehman Strauss Commentary – The Prophecies of Daniel)
Alexander Maclaren rightly notes…
however unobtrusive and quiet a Christian person’s life may be, there will be some people standing close by who, if not actually watching for his fall, are at least by no means indisposed to make the worst of a slip, and to rejoice over an inconsistency…
Be content to be tried by a high standard, and do not wonder, and do not forget that there are keen eyes watching your conduct, in your home, in your relations to your friends, in your business, in your public life, which would weep no tears, but might gleam with malicious satisfaction, if they saw inconsistencies in you. Remember it, and shape your lives so that they may be disappointed (Ed: And even better so your Lord will not be disappointed!).
If a minister falls into any kind of inconsistency or sin, if a professing Christian makes a bad failure… , what a talk there is, and what a pointing of fingers! We sometimes think it is hard; it is all right. It is just what should be meted out to us. Let us remember that unslumbering tribunal which sits in judgment upon all our professions, and is very ready to condemn, and very slow to acquit. (Daniel 6:5 A Tribute from Enemies)
They could find no ground of accusation or evidence of corruption - Daniel's integrity was beyond question. Why? He was faithful or trustworthy.
No spots on Daniel's life! Daniel practiced "pure" religion for James says…
This is pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father, to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep (tereo) in the present tense = continually, as your habitual practice) oneself unstained (aspilos) by the world (kosmos). (Jas 1:27-note)
Maclaren writes that…
The world is a very poor critic of my Christianity, but it is a very sufficient one of my conduct. It may not know much about the inward emotions of the Christian life, and the experiences in which the Christian heart expatiates and loves to dwell, but it knows what short lengths, and light weights, and bad tempers, and dishonesty, and selfishness are. And it is by our conduct, in the things that they and we do together, that worldly men judge what we are in the solitary depths where we dwell in communion with God. It is useless for Christians to be talking, as so many of them are fond of doing, about their spiritual experiences and their religious joy, and all the other sweet and sacred things which belong to the silent life of the spirit in God, unless, side by side with these, there is the doing of the common deeds which the world is actually able to appraise in such a fashion as to extort, even from them, the confession, ‘We find no occasion against this man.’…
If we call ourselves Christians, we are bound, by the very name, to live in such a fashion as that men shall have no doubt of the reality of our profession and of the depth of our fellowship with Christ. It is by our common conduct that they judge us. And the ‘Christian Endeavourer’ needs to remember, whether he or she be old or young, that the best sign of the reality of the endeavour is the doing of common things with absolute rightness, because they are done wholly for Christ’s sake.
It is a sharp test, and I wonder how many of us would like to go out into the world, and say to all the irreligious people who know us, ‘Now come and tell me what the faults are that you have seen in me.’ There would be a considerable response to the invitation, and perhaps some of us would learn to know ourselves rather better than we have been able to do. ‘We shall not find any occasion in this Daniel’—I wonder if they would find it in that Daniel—‘except we find it concerning the law of his God.’ There is a record for a man! (Daniel 6:5 A Tribute from Enemies)
Some questions to stimulate study and discussion…
What stands out about Daniel (Da 6:3)? His extraordinary spirit. His exceptional excellence!
How does the world respond to a "Daniel-like" spirit? Some like Darius may choose to reward such spirit with worldly success. Others as shown in Da 6:4ff become jealous and seek ways to destroy a person of integrity. When we stand for Jesus, all that hates Him will stand against us (cp Jn 16:33)
What word summarizes Daniel? Faithful (trustworthy) = A man of Integrity, incorruptible, not negligent
A Sunday Morning Hypocrite - A young man was being interviewed for a position in a small business firm. The applicant had a neat appearance and made a good impression on the owner. He had also prepared an excellent resume in which he listed, as references, his pastor, his Sunday school teacher, and a church deacon. The owner of the business studied the resume for several minutes, then said, "I appreciate these recommendations from your church friends. But what I would really like is word from someone who knows you on weekdays." Sorry to say, in too many instances there is a striking contrast between the behavior of Christians in church and out in the world. The principles we hear preached on Sunday should be practiced all week. A good Sunday Christian will also be a good weekday Christian. —R. W. De Haan (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
A HYPOCRITE IS A PERSON
WHO IS NOT HIMSELF ON SUNDAY.
Works That Witness - Daniel's life revealed the reality of his faith. He conducted himself so honorably in his high office that Darius "gave thought to setting him over the whole realm" (Da 6:3).
The other presidents and princes, however, were jealous and began to devise means of getting rid of Daniel. But hard as they tried, they could find nothing in his life to use against him. The Bible says that "he was faithful; nor was there any error or fault found in him" (Da 6:4).
What a record! What a testimony! He was loyal and conscientious on the job--all the while giving God first place. Daniel's life was so far above reproach that his enemies had to create a situation in which his commitment to God would come into conflict with his government position.
Would we stand up under close examination like this? Are we so faithful in our work that our fellow employees could "find no charge or fault" in us? It's commendable to witness for Christ. But consider the influence of a godly life and a job so faithfully performed that others could find no fault. That would silence the critics and glorify God.
Like Daniel, our behavior should be blameless (cp "Integrity"). Then we too will have works that witness! — Richard De Haan (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
The task Your wisdom has assigned,
Lord, let me cheerfully fulfill;
In all my works Your presence find,
And prove Your good and perfect will. --Anon.
When you do your work faithfully,
your faith will be seen at work.
Daniel 6:5 Then these men said, "We will not find any ground of accusation against this Daniel unless we find it against him with regard to the law of his God." (1Sa 24:17 Es 3:8 Jn 19:6,7 Acts 24:13,14,15,16,20,21)
Not find any ground of accusation - Daniel had kept himself unstained by the pagan, idolatrous, immoral world (kosmos - see word study) in which he lived (cp Jas 1:27-note) Besides being jealous, these men may well have sought his demise because of his integrity and incorruptibility which restricted their opportunities to siphon funds from the king's revenue that came in from the provinces.
Wiersbe - It’s certainly a commendable thing when people possess character so impeccable that they can’t be accused of doing wrong except in matters relating to their faith. (Wiersbe, Warren: Be Resolute (Daniel)- Determining to Go God's Direction).
Henry Morris - What a testimony and example for believers. No wonder his contemporary, Ezekiel, ranked him with Noah and Job as the most godly of men (Ezekiel 14:14). (Defender's Study Bible Notes)
Paul applies the OT principle of "set apart" (holy) living (like Daniel) to believers commanding us…
Do (present imperative = command to make this our lifestyle. God commands it so that means He will enable it beloved!) all (how many) things without grumbling or disputing (Why?) that you may prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God (see 1Jn 3:1-note, 1Jn 3:2-note, 1Jn 3:3-note above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world (The world is watching you just like they were watching Daniel) (Php 2:14,15-note).
Comment: How is it humanly possible to do even "some" things without grumbling, much less "all things"?! You guessed it… it is not humanly possible but it is superhumanly possible! Read the verses in the immediately preceding context (Php 2:12-note, Php 2:13-note) and you will note that it is God's indwelling Spirit (implied) in us that gives us (1) the desire NOT to grumble and (2) the power NOT to grumble! I (in my own strength) can't NOT grumble. God never said that I could. But He can (in and through me) and He has always said He would! But note it is not "Let go and let God" but "Let God and go!" (His power, my part - His sovereignty, my responsibility!) Praise His Spirit's all sufficient grace in Christ (cp 1Co 15:10-note, 2Cor 3:5, 6-note, 2Cor 12:9-note, 2Co 12:10-note)!
Unless we find it against him with regard to the law of his God - How did they know this? Their conclusion makes it clear that Daniel did not hide his faith in the one true God. They knew he was a strict monotheist, and therefore planned to ensnare him by forcing him to refuse to worship other gods and continue worshiping His God.
He was not ashamed to be seen praying to his God. Am I ashamed or at least "self conscious" about offering even a simple prayer in a restaurant before I eat my meal?
The life that counts must toil and fight,
Must hate the wrong and love the right,
Must stand for truth, by day, by night—
This is the life that counts.
Alexander Maclaren writes…
note the very unfavorable soil in which a character of singular beauty and devout consecration may be rooted and grow. What sort of a place was that court where Daniel was? Half shambles and half pigsty. Luxury, sensuality, lust, self-seeking, idolatry, ruthless cruelty, and the like were the environment of this man. And in the middle of these there grew up that fair flower of a character, pure and stainless, by the acknowledgment of enemies, and in which not even accusers could find a speck or a spot. There are no circumstances in which a man must have his garments spotted by the world. However deep the filth through which he has to wade, if God sent him there, and if he keeps hold of God’s hand, his purity will be more stainless by reason of the impurity round him.
You will always find that people who have any goodness in them, and who live in conditions unusually opposed to goodness, have a clearer faith, and a firmer grasp of their Master, and a higher ideal of Christian life, just because of the foulness in which they have to live. It may sound a paradox, but it is a deep truth that unfavourable circumstances are the most favourable for the development of Christian character. For that development comes, not by what we draw from the things around, but by what we draw from the soil in which we are rooted, even God Himself, in whom the roots find both anchorage and nutriment. And the more we are thrown back upon Him, and the less we find food for our best selves in the things about us, the more likely is our religion to be robust and thorough-going, and conscious ever of His presence. Resistance strengthens muscles, and the more there is need for that in our Christian lives, the manlier and the stronger and the better shall we probably be. Let no man or woman say, ‘If only circumstances were more favourable, oh, what a saint I could be; but how can I be one, with all these unfavourable conditions?
Ah, brother, if the ideal’s being realised depends on circumstances, it is a poor affair. It depends on you, and he that has vitality enough within him to keep hold of Jesus Christ, has thereby power enough within him to turn enemies into friends, and unfavourable circumstances into helps instead of hindrances. Your ship can sail wonderfully near to the wind if you trim the sails rightly, and keep a good, strong grip on the helm, and the blasts that blow all but in your face, may be made to carry you triumphantly into the haven of your desire. Remember Daniel, in that godless court reeking with lust and cruelty, and learn that purity and holiness and communion with God do not depend on environment, but upon the inmost will of the man (Ed: And the utmost grace of God!). (Daniel 6:5 A Tribute from Enemies)
“If you were arrested for being a Christian,
would there be enough evidence to convict you?”
With regard to the law of his God - The only way to "catch" Daniel would be to devise a plot wherein he was forced to chose between obedience to God and obedience to Medo-Persian law. Daniel didn't care if the whole world differed from him, for he knew God's Word and knew the right thing to do and not to do! He knew that he had to act on his convictions (a firmly held belief or opinion; the state of being convinced of error or compelled to admit the truth; the state of being convinced or convicted by conscience) We must be careful to make sure our beliefs are properly grounded. But once we are certain of that, we should be like Daniel, who not only had convictions but the courage to stand for them. When you are tempted to compromise your principles, don't give in. Dare to be a Daniel!
The life that counts must toil and fight,
Must hate the wrong and love the right,
Must stand for truth, by day, by night--
This is the life that counts.
C H Spurgeon understood this verse based on his personal experience - Blackmailers once sent C. H. Spurgeon a letter to the effect that if he did not place a certain amount of money in a certain place at a certain time, they would publish some things in the newspapers that would defame him and ruin his public ministry. Spurgeon left at that station a letter in reply: “You and your like are requested to publish all you know about me across the heavens.” He knew his life was blameless in the eyes of men and, therefore, they could not touch his character. (Illustrations for Biblical Preaching)
As an aside it is interesting that the light of Jehovah shone brightly through Daniel and that everyone knew who he worshipped. And as is always the case, we see that most tried to suppress the light, whereas a few (one, King Darius in this chapter) acknowledged the light (Could we see him in heaven? We'll have to wait to see!). Shifting metaphors from light to fragrances, this response to Daniel is the response of every man to the truth, Paul writing…
But thanks be to God, who always leads us in His triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place. For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing; to the one an aroma from death to death, to the other an aroma from life to life. And who is adequate for these things? (2Co 2:14,15, 16)
Daniel 6:6 Then these commissioners and satraps came by agreement to the king and spoke to him as follows: "King Darius, live forever! (assembled together : or, came tumultuously, Da 6:11 Ps 56:6 62:3 64:2-6 Mt 27:23, 24, 25 Lk 23:23, 24, 25 Ac 22:22,23) (King: Da 6:21 2:4 3:9 5:10 Neh 2:3 Acts 24:2)
Commissioners and satraps - A group of about 122 men which may well have impressed King Darius when they made their appeal. Darius failed to notice that Daniel was not in the group and it cost him dearly! As a believer perhaps in a completely pagan environment, have you have felt like everyone was opposed to you? Remember that you plus God is a majority regardless of the numbers arrayed against you!
Came by agreement - This was clearly a "plot" but not an orderly one! The Aramaic verb regash primarily signifies to be in tumult, to be restless, to be turbulent, to assemble in a throng so that the picture it conveys is that of a "mob scene", not an orderly gathering. "Rabble rousers" comes to mind!
The Aramaic word for "by agreement" is regash which is closely related to the Hebrew word ragash which means to be in commotion or to rage against used in Psalm 2…
Why are the nations in an uproar (ragash), and the peoples devising a vain thing?
Comment: Ragash denotes the uproar and plotting of the wicked against the righteous. Think of the picture of a lynch mob gathering together to mete out their brand of justice. Note in Psalm 2 that the wicked are coming against the LORD and His Messiah (Mashiyach)!
Daniel 6:7 "All the commissioners of the kingdom, the prefects and the satraps, the high officials and the governors have consulted together that the king should establish a statute and enforce an injunction that anyone who makes a petition to any god or man besides you, O king, for thirty days, shall be cast into the lions' den. (All : Da 6:2,3 3:2,27) (have consulted : Ps 2:2 59:3 62:4 83:1-3 94:20 Mic 6:5 Mt 12:14 26:4 Mk 15:1 Jn 12:10 Ac 4:5-7,26-28) (he shall : Da 3:6,11 Ps 10:9 Na 2:12)
All… have consulted together - An unholy conspiracy! A flagrant falsehood! This was an outright lie (like their father the devil - Jn 8:44, Ge 3:1,2,3,4,5). Daniel had not been consulted. We know because of his subsequent actions. He would have never approved of this 30 day "law" calling for petitioning of a man. They are "massaging" the King's ego!
Pritchard observes that these wicked men tricked Darius into passing "a 30-day law forbidding anyone to pray except to Darius himself. In effect, they said, “O king, how would you like to be God for a month?” Sure, why not? That appealed to his pride. (Ed: cp flattery) Why not be God for a month? It might be fun. So Darius signed the law, knowing that it could not be repealed, not even by himself. He had no idea that Daniel was the intended target. Meanwhile the satraps are chortling together. They knew Daniel would break the law. That is, they knew Daniel would keep on praying just as he had always done. Daniel was a victim of his own integrity. He was predictably faithful to God. If he had been a flaky believer, this evil plot would never have worked. His troubles came not from his weakness, but from his strength. (How to Tame Lions - sermon by Dr. Ray Pritchard - January 2000)
Makes a petition - Literally "requests a request” which in context are clearly of a religious nature and thus are not petitions any general (general requests) but specifically petitions in the form of prayer. They thought that they had discovered Daniel's "Achilles heel". They did not understand the depth of this man's integrity (or perhaps they did and knew this would cost him his life for he would rather die than compromise).
Makes a petition to any god besides you - Since they are going to Darius with their petitions, he is functioning as an intermediary or a priest if you will. They knew that prayer to anyone other than Jehovah would be a form of idolatry. In short, these pernicious plotters know that Daniel will never agree to this law because he is a man of impeccable integrity.
MacArthur takes it a step further suggesting that "Ancient kings were frequently worshiped as gods. Pagans had such inferior views of their gods that such homage was no problem." (Ed: This is possible and if so would amount to flagrant idolatry, of worshiping and serving the creature rather than the Creator Who is blessed forever. Amen - Ro 1:25-note)
Any god or man besides you - They flattered Darius with the idea that he could be "god for a month"! They were appealing to Darius' pride, a good place to appeal, for he fell for the flattery. Flattery is the art of telling a person exactly what he thinks of himself which explains why it is so effective!
Whitcomb comments that "James A. Montgomery, by no means an orthodox scholar, states that "G. Behrmann's position is an entirely sensible one, that the implication of the story means a petition of religion (not, with A. A. Bevan, any kind of request), and that this one king was to be regarded for the time being as the only representative of Deity."… (Regarding the significance of the lion's den) The official form of execution under Darius the Mede is said to be "the lions' den," whereas in the days of Nebuchadnezzar it had been the "furnace of blazing fire" (Da 3; cf. Jer 29:22). The historical significance of this change is that the state religion of MedoPersia, namely, Zoroastrianism, involved the worship of Atar the fire-god.' Thus, for the Medo-Persians to have used a furnace of fire as a means for destroying criminals would have appeared sacrilegious. Such details, introduced quite incidentally into the narrative, provide further confirmation of the historicity of the sixth chapter of Daniel. (Ibid)
Wiersbe writes that "It has well been said that flattery is manipulation, not communication, and in his pride, Darius succumbed to the flattery of evil men. “For there is no faithfulness in their mouth; their inward part is very wickedness; their throat is an open sepulcher; they flatter with their tongue” (Ps. 5:9). (Wiersbe, Warren: Be Resolute (Daniel)- Determining to Go God's Direction).
Spurgeon commenting on Ps 5:9 gives a picturesque description of those who flatter - "A smooth tongue is a great evil; there are human anteaters that with their long tongues covered with oily words entice the unwary and make their gain thereby."
Daniel 6:8 "Now, O king, establish the injunction and sign the document so that it may not be changed, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which may not be revoked." (establish: Es 3:12 8:10 Isa 10:1) (according : Da 6:12, Da 6:15 Es 1:19 8:3) (may not be changed: Mt 24:35)
Law of the Medes and Persians, which may not be revoked - Nebuchadnezzar had absolute power with no such restriction that he could not revoke a law. The interesting fact is that the devotion of the Medes and Persians to established laws eventually made it difficult for their government to function efficiently. They found themselves swamped in a bureaucratic quagmire due to the profusion of their laws and this fact appears to be the main reason the MedoPersian form of government was termed inferior to that of Nebuchadnezzar, the absolute dictator of Babylon, whose slightest word was law. (Da 2:38, 39).
Lehman Strauss - Even if a king passed the death sentence upon one of his subjects, and later evidence led him to the conclusion that he erred in passing the sentence, he was unable to reverse his decision. (Lehman Strauss Commentary – The Prophecies of Daniel)
Whitcomb injects a historical reference noting that "The book of Daniel is accurate in listing the Medes first because, in spite of the fact that the emperor, Cyrus, was a Persian, the bulk of his army at this time was still Median. Only a dozen years earlier he had conquered and absorbed the numerically superior Median army of the aging and corrupt King Astyages (550BC) into a new and vastly superior MedoPersian military unit. Two generations later, however, the Persian domination of the Medes had become almost complete, so that in the days of king Xerxes (Ahasuerus) (486-465BC) the Persian element could be mentioned first (Esther 1:19-note, etc., though not in Esther 10:2-note)." (Ibid)
In the book of Esther which takes place during the reign of Ahasuerus, we see a similar reference to the the Persian laws…
If it pleases the king, let a royal edict be issued by him and let it be written in the laws of Persia and Media so that it cannot be repealed, that Vashti may no longer come into the presence of King Ahasuerus, and let the king give her royal position to another who is more worthy than she. (Es 1:19-note).
Historian Will Durant affirms the irrevocable nature of Persian laws noting that "it was a proud boast of Persia that its laws never changed, and that a royal promise or decree was irrevocable. In his edicts and judgments the king was supposed to be inspired by the god Ahura-Mazda himself; therefore the law of the realm was the Divine Will, and any infraction of it was an offense against the deity." (Our Oriental Heritage)
Therefore - see term of conclusion for the value of observing and interrogating this term.
Signed the document - Compare There this Persian practice in Esther 1:19, 8:8 where a seal guaranteed the validity of the decree.
Injunction (0633)(esar) means a decree, in this context a royal decree, used 6x in Daniel 6 - Dan 6:7-9f, 12-13, 15. Webster says injunction is "a writ granted by a court of equity whereby one is required to do or to refrain from doing a specified act." The Lxx translates esar with dogma which is "a formal statement concerning rules or regulations that are to be observed." (BDAG)
Strauss - As the presidents (commissioners) and princes left the king's presence, they doubtless felt that their scheme was a success, and soon Daniel would be dead. But they failed to see that they were not attacking an ordinary man but the chosen and anointed servant of the Most High God, who said, "Touch not Mine anointed, and do My prophets no harm" (1Chronicles 16:22). The law of the Medes and Persians might not be subject to change, but those wicked men had yet to reckon with the mighty Lawgiver. (Ibid)
Daniel 6:10 Now when Daniel knew that the document was signed, he entered his house (now in his roof chamber he had windows open toward Jerusalem); and he continued kneeling on his knees three times a day, praying and giving thanks before his God, as he had been doing previously. (when : Lk 14:26 Ac 4:17-19) (windows : 1Ki 8:30,38,44,48, 49, 50 2Ch 6:38 Ps 5:7 Jon 2:4 Heb 4:16) (kneeling: 1Ki 8:54 2Ch 6:13 Ezra 9:5 Ps 95:6 Lk 22:41 Ac 7:60 9:40 20:36 Ac 21:5 Eph 3:14) (three : Da 6:13 Ps 55:17 86:3 Ac 2:1,2,15 3:1 10:9) (giving: Ps 34:1 Php 4:6 Col 3:17 1Th 5:17,18 Heb 13:15) (as he: Neh 6:11 Ps 11:1,2 Mt 10:28-33 Lk 12:4-9 Ac 4:18,19,29 Ac 5:20,29,40-42 20:24 Php 1:14,20 Rev 2:10,13)
Lying Conspirators Spying
(Click to enlarge)
Now when Daniel knew the document was signed - Test time Daniel! He understood the truth that every trial in life is a test of one's character. As a result, not only was Daniel not dissuaded from his devotion, but he even had a desire to immediately seek the face of God. Prayer is a good place to go when we find ourselves being tempted. Daniel's continual communion with the living God kept him prepared for unexpected testing.
Adam Clarke - He saw what was designed, and he knew Whom he served. (cp Paul in his last letter knew Whom he had believed! - 2Ti 1:12-note)
What does this say about Daniel? He was a man of courage, conviction and commitment. Lord, make me like Daniel. Amen
Showers rightly remarks that Daniel "was not a fair-weather friend who would serve God only when personally convenient or when there was no price to pay. He was convinced that his daily relationship with God should take precedence over the will of man… Once again he was doing what was right and trusting God for the results. "(Showers, R. E. The Most High God- A Commentary on the Book of Daniel - Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry)
Character is tested by what one does when we think no one else sees (but Pr 15:3-note). Daniel did not pray to be seen, but he was seen when he prayed. He did not debate or hesitate. He prayed like he had always done.
Strauss - He must choose between loyalty to God or loyalty to the king. Here we need to recall that it was on the basis of "the law of his God" (Da 6:5) that his enemies plotted against him. Our Lord said, "Render therefore unto Caesar the things which be Caesar's, and unto God the things which be God's (Luke 20:25). The Apostle Paul wrote, "Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God" (Ro 13:1). The Apostle Peter added, "Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; Or unto governors" (1Pe 2:13). The child of God must bear in mind that the law of God supersedes the law of man. Whenever man's law runs counter to God's law, the child of God has but one choice. It was voiced by Peter when he said, "We ought to obey God rather than men" (Acts 5:29) (Ibid)
Spurgeon - Daniel did not deliberate for a single minute. When we know our duty, first thoughts are the best. I greatly admire one feature in Daniel’s decision. He did not alter his accustomed habit in any single particular. Without disguise and without parade he pursued the even tenor of his way. He does not appear to have taken council of his friends, or to have summoned his servants, and charged them not to let any intruder come in. Neither did he adopt any measure to escape his enemies. Not one jot of anxiety did he betray. His faith was steadfast, his composure unruffled, his conduct simple and artless… It might be asked, perhaps, “Should not Daniel obey the king?” Certainly kings’ laws are to be respected; but any law of man that infringes the law of God is, ipso facto, null and void at once. It is the duty of every citizen to disregard every law of earth which is contrary to the law of heaven. So Daniel felt that the risk of being put into a den with lions was nothing to the risk of being put into hell, and he chose the smaller risk, and in the name of God he went straight on. Look at John Bunyan when they bring him up before the magistrates and tell him he must not preach! “But I will preach,” said he, “I will preach to-morrow by the help of God.” “But you will be put in prison again.” Never mind, I will preach as soon as I get out.” “But you will be hanged, or kept m prison all your life.” “If I lie in prison,” said he, “till the moss grows upon my eyelids, I can say nothing more than this, that with God’s help, I will preach whenever I get a chance.” Do not tell me that these are non-essentials. To men who will follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth, even the opening or the shutting of a window, if need be, is essential. Be jealous over what are called “trifles.” They may be mere straws, but they show which way the wind blows.
Pritchard asks "So what do you do when you discover that your enemies have passed a law aimed at one person, and you are that person? It’s like walking around with a bull’s eye on your shirt. How you respond at that point tells a great deal about your character. Daniel 6:10 reveals the secret of his greatness… It was Dietrich Bonhoeffer who said, “When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die.” And Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., changed the face of America with these words: “If a man hasn’t discovered something that he will die for, he isn’t fit to live.” Daniel had discovered something worth dying for, which is why he kept on praying when others would have quit. Since he wasn’t afraid to die, he had the courage to live for God in a hostile pagan world. (How to Tame Lions - sermon by Dr. Ray Pritchard - January 2000)
As Campbell writes Daniel "was not a man who served God only when there was no price to be paid. (Ibid)
Paul reminds that we can withstand the temptation to compromise when the test comes because
"No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man (cp Daniel); and God is faithful (even as He was to Daniel), Who will not allow you to be tempted (tested - peirazo) beyond what you are able, but with the temptation (test) will provide the way (not "a way" but the specific way) of escape also, (Why? Not to escape the test per se but… ) that you may be able to endure it. (1Co 10:13-note)
Someone has well said that a man's character is accurately measured by his reaction to life's inequities. What is Daniel's reaction to "equity", to "unfair" treatment? Do you see the lesson for us who would seek to imitate Daniel's victorious life (" imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises" - Heb 6:11, 12-note)? Then let us lean hard on God's grace so that we might be enabled to "pray (present imperative = a lifestyle of prayer is commanded! Only possible as we yield to the filling of the Spirit Who gives us the desire and the power to pray) without ceasing" (1Th 5:17-note)
If one's conduct is the overflow of one's doctrine, then Daniel's conduct speaks volumes about the holiness of his doctrine. What we believe should always affect how we behave. When Daniel's "belief was challenged", he knelt in prayer. How do I respond when I "challenged" to disobey God's Word?
Daniel's loyalty to God over government reminds us of Peter's allegiance to God and his compulsion to preach Christ crucified even to the perpetrators (But note that it was after he was filled with the Holy Spirit [see before = Mt 26:69-75] - Here's the after = Acts 2:2-4, 4:8, Ep 5:18-note)…
But Peter and the apostles answered and said, "We must obey God rather than men… 40 And they took his advice; and after calling the apostles in, they flogged them and ordered them to speak no more in the name of Jesus, and then released them. 41 So they went on their way from the presence of the Council, rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to suffer shame for His Name. (Acts 5:29, 40, 41)
Windows open to Jerusalem (Compare 1Kings 8:33, 35, 38, 48) - Notice that Daniel did not open the window to deliberately defy the king's injunction but his window was routinely open when he prayed.
T. De Witt Talmage - Daniel at the window is not standing and looking out, he is kneeling and looking out. Daniel found that a man can see farther on his knees than on tiptoe. There is another Jerusalem toward which you and I will do well to keep our windows open. It makes one heavenly-minded to think much of heaven. (Ed: And for those who believe in the Millennium as I do, to pray for the earthly Jerusalem in which the returning Righteous One reigns for one thousand years!)
Adam Clarke - When the Jews were in distant countries, in prayer they turned their faces towards Jerusalem; and when in Jerusalem, they turned their faces towards the temple. Solomon, in his prayer at the dedication of the temple, 1 Kings 8:48, had entreated God to hear the prayers of those who might be in strange lands, or in captivity, when they should turn their faces towards their own land, which God gave unto their fathers; and towards the city which he had chosen, and the house which was dedicated to his name. It was in reference to this that Daniel turned his face towards Jerusalem when he prayed.
1Kgs 8:48-52 if they return to Thee with all their heart and with all their soul in the land of their enemies who have taken them captive, and pray to Thee toward their land which Thou hast given to their fathers, the city which Thou hast chosen, and the house which I have built for Thy name; then hear their prayer and their supplication in heaven Thy dwelling place, and maintain their cause, and forgive Thy people who have sinned against Thee and all their transgressions which they have transgressed against Thee, and make them [objects of] compassion before those who have taken them captive, that they may have compassion on them. (for they are Thy people and Thine inheritance which Thou hast brought forth from Egypt, from the midst of the iron furnace), that Thine eyes may be open to the supplication of Thy servant and to the supplication of Thy people Israel, to listen to them whenever they call to Thee.
He continued kneeling… praying and giving thanks before God - Daniel was too old to begin compromising now, but this story does make the point that we will never be too old or too "spiritually mature" that we won't be tempted to compromise! Let us stay alert, watching and praying like Daniel (cp Mt 26:41-note). Daniel’s prayers were bold, obedient (knew the document was signed), consistent (as he had done previously), humble (kneeling), thankful (cp 1Th 5:18-note), filled with petition (request) and supplication (earnest entreaty) (Da 6:11).
Rosscup notes that Daniel "knelt as was natural as a supplicant respectful and submissive before a sovereign, a minister before the Majesty he served." (Rosscup, J. E. An Exposition on Prayer in the Bible: Igniting the Fuel to Flame Our Communication with God)
Careful for nothing, prayerful for everything, thankful for anything. - Dwight Lyman Moody (1837-1899)
Daniel was not a "spiritual sprinter" but one of God's marathon men, who began young by purposing in his heart not to be defiled by the king's choice food (Da 1:8-note) and he continued to run with endurance until the end, refusing to obey the law that would result in disobedience to God. The writer of Hebrews exhorts his tremulous readers…
Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us (eg, Daniel's faith and faithfulness and the story of his deliverance from the lion's den), let us also lay aside every encumbrance, and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus (cp Daniel fixed his face like flint toward Jerusalem, giving priority to prayer), the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1-note, Heb 12:2-note)
Dear persevering believer, one who is pressing onward, toward the goal (Php 3:14-note), may others never have to say of us…
You were running well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? (Gal 5:7)
Matthew Henry - The life of a Christian is a race, wherein he must run, and hold on, if he would obtain the prize. It is not enough that we profess Christianity, but we must run well, by living up to that profession. Many who set out fairly in religion, are hindered in their progress, or turn out of the way. It concerns those who begin to turn out of the way, or to tire in it, seriously to inquire what hinders them.
What about one's posture in prayer? Do you need to kneel? God is interested not so much in the position of our body as in the position of our heart. A humble heart is a dependent heart which in turn bows to God and is thereby in the best position to receive God's grace (Jas 4:6). When one knows how to kneel in prayer he has no problem standing firm against opposition in the strength of the Lord.
Strauss - I am somehow of the persuasion that this is the position best suited to prayer, especially private prayer. Luke reminds us that in the garden our Lord "kneeled down, and prayed" (Luke 22:41). The first recorded martyr of the Christian Church, when in his dying moments, "kneeled down" (Acts 7:60). When Peter came to where the dead body of Dorcas lay, he "kneeled down, and prayed" (Acts 9:40). When Paul gathered with the Ephesian elders on the dock at Miletus, "he kneeled down, and prayed with them all" (Acts 20:36). Then as he concluded his visit to Tyre, Luke says, "we kneeled down on the shore, and prayed" (Acts 21:5). Our Lord said, "And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men" (Mt 6:5). (See Luke 18:11.) I am not suggesting that prayer, in order to be effectual, must be offered on one's knees. I have met some bedridden saints who engaged in daily intercessory prayer. But what a blessed sight it must have been to see the aged prophet of God kneeling in sweet communion with his Lord! Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego were standing when everyone else in the empire was kneeling before Nebuchadnezzar's image, and God honored them because they would not kneel. Now the people in Darius' empire were standing before a man, but God was about to honor one lonely saint who was kneeling before Him. (Ibid)
Miller - Daniel knelt to pray (cf. 1Kgs 8:54; Ezra 9:5; Ps 95:6), but sometimes prayers were offered while standing (cf. Ge 18:22ff.; 1Sa 1:26; Lk 18:13; Mt 6:5). Praying with hands spread out toward heaven also was common (cf. Ezra 9:5). (Miller, S. R. Vol. 18: Daniel. The New American Commentary. Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers)
Martyn Lloyd-Jones once said that "Man is at his highest and greatest when upon his knees he comes face to face with God."
Praying and giving thanks - Not grumbling. Not complaining. Not trying to negotiate with God. But giving thanks, even though he knows that his next appointment will be the lion's den! (cp 1Thes 5:18-note, Php 4:6-note, Php 4:7-note). Notice in the NT that thanksgiving is associated with Spirit filling (cp Ep 5:18-note, Ep 5:19, 20-note)
Spurgeon - DANIEL’S PRAYERFULNESS WAS THE SECRET OF HIS POWER. Daniel was always a man of prayer. If you saw him great before the people, the reason was because he was great before his God. He knew how to lay hold of divine strength, and he became strong. He knew how to study divine wisdom, and he became wise. We are told that he went to his house to pray. This showed that he made a business of prayer, and finding it neither convenient to his circumstances nor congenial to his mind to pray in the midst of idolaters, he had chosen to set apart a chamber in his own house for prayer. It is well to have, if we can have, a little room, no matter how humble, where we can shut to the door, and pray to our Father who is in heaven, who will hear and answer. He was in the habit of praying thus three times a day. Perhaps he thought that this was prudent economy, for, if he had so much to do, he must pray the more; as Martin Luther said, “I have got so much to do to-day that I cannot possibly get through it with less than three hours of prayer.” So, perhaps, Daniel felt that the extraordinary pressure of his engagements demanded a proportionate measure of prayer to enable him to accomplish the weighty matter he had on hand. A singularity in his manner is noticeable here. He had been in the habit of praying with his windows open towards Jerusalem. Thus openly did he ignore the decree! With such a royal courage did he lift his heart above the fear of man, and raise the conscience above the suspicion of compromise. He loved Jerusalem, and his prayers were for it. Hence he looked that way in his prayer. And I think also he had an eye on the altar. We worship with our eye to Christ. Oh, for Daniel’s prayerful spirit!
God’s Word contains our marching orders for being on prayer patrol. Some of them are:
will lead to praying fervently.
Strauss - In difficult circumstances what course shall the godly take? Look up and thank God for every blessing (cp Nebuchadnezzar at the end of 7 years humiliation - Da 4:34-note). Daniel was a man who possessed the rare combination of courage and gratitude. It is easier to thank God for past blessings than to thank Him before the answer to our prayer comes. But in the heart of the man of God the element of praise is never absent, even under the pressure of impending danger. We are spiritually poor if we fail to find our place on our knees before the Lord, praising Him, even in the midst of life's sorest trials. (Ibid)
Commit to pray and intercede—
The battle's strong and great is the need;
And this one truth can't be ignored:
Our only help comes from the Lord.
Maclaren comments that…
The plot goes on the calculation that, whatever happens, this man may be trusted to do what his God tells him, no matter who tells him not to do it. And so on that calculation the law, surely as mad a one as any Eastern despot ever hatched, is passed that, for a given space of time, nobody within the dominions of this king, Darius, is to make any petition or request of any man or god, save of the king only. It was one of the long series of laws that have been passed in order to be broken, and being broken, might be an instrument to destroy the men that broke it. It was passed with no intention of getting obedience, but only with the intention of slaying one faithful man, and the plot worked according to calculation. What did it matter to Daniel what was forbidden or commanded? He needed to pray to God, and nothing shall hinder him from doing that. And so, obediently disobedient, he brushes the preposterous law of the poor, shadowy Darius on one side, in order that he may keep the law of his God…
If earthly authorities command what is clearly contrary to God’s law, a Christian is absolved from obedience, and cannot be loyal unless he is a rebel. That is how our forefathers read constitutional obligations. That is how the noble men on the other side of the Atlantic, fifty years ago, read their constitutional obligations in reference to that devilish institution of slavery. And in the last resort—God forbid that we should need to act on the principle—Christian men are set free from allegiance when the authority over them commands what is contrary to the will and the law of God.
But all that does not touch us. But I will tell you what does touch us. Obedience to God needs always to be sustained—in some cases more markedly, in some cases less so—but always in some measure, by disobedience to the maxims and habits of most men round about us. If they say ‘Do this,’ and Jesus Christ says ‘Don’t,’ then they may talk as much as they like, but we are bound to turn a deaf ear to their exhortations and threats…
And for us, in our little lives, the motto, ‘This did not I, because of the fear of the Lord,’ is absolutely essential to all noble Christian conduct. Unless you are prepared to be in the minority, and now and then to be called ‘narrow,’ ‘fanatic,’ and to be laughed at by men because you will not do what they do, but abstain and resist, then there is little chance of your ever making much of your Christian profession.
These people calculated upon Daniel, and they had a right to calculate upon him. Could the world calculate upon us, that we would rather go to the lions’ den than conform to what God and our consciences told us to be a sin? If not, we have not yet learned what it means to be a disciple. The commandment comes to us absolutely, as it came to the servants in the first miracle, ‘Whatsoever He saith unto you’—that, and that only—‘whatsoever He saith unto you, do it.’ (Daniel 6:5 A Tribute from Enemies)
His roof chamber he had windows open - John MacArthur writes that "in those days there was very frequently on the top of a house a kind of a little upper room, we see them even in the New Testament time, a place of retreat and they didn't have glass windows. What they did was put a lattice work over the windows and they would let them be open and the warmth of the area of Babylon, which is a very hot place, and the breeze could blow through and cool them. And so he would go up there and through the lattice work he would be visible and he would face toward Jerusalem because that's where the longing of his heart was, the people of God and the city of God which symbolized God to him. And he would pray, no doubt, for the peace of Jerusalem (Ps 122:6), the restoration of the city and whatever else was in his heart, the confession of sin and anything else and he did it just the way he always did it… perseverance (in prayer, prioritization of prayer!). (Daniel in the Lions' Den Grace to You)
Toward Jerusalem - The site of the Holy Temple, where prior to its destruction the Shekinah cloud had manifested the glory of Jehovah. To be sure the glory had departed in 586BC just before the Temple was destroyed (cp Ezek 11:23-note), but God had promised to return (Ezek 43:2). He had also promised to restore Jerusalem (Jer 29:10, 14). Jerusalem was still the city of God.
As an aside it is interesting that Muslims pray toward Mecca five times a day.
Daniel could have closed the windows. Daniel could have prayed in another room. Daniel could have been more discreet. But Daniel was a man of integrity with uncompromising devotion to His great God who had been so faithful to him for 80+ years.
Daniel took seriously Solomon's prayer that spoke of prayer toward Jerusalem. After completing the Holy Temple in Jerusalem (1Ki 8:10, 11, 12, 13, 14), Solomon spoke a prophetic prayer to Jehovah…
When they sin against You (for there is no man who does not sin) and You are angry with them and deliver them to an enemy, so that they take them away captive to the land of the enemy, far off or near; 47 if they take thought in the land where they have been taken captive, and repent and make supplication to You in the land of those who have taken them captive, saying, ‘We have sinned and have committed iniquity, we have acted wickedly’; 48 if they return to You with all their heart and with all their soul in the land of their enemies who have taken them captive, and pray to You toward their land which You have given to their fathers (Alludes to the unconditional irrevocable Abrahamic Covenant), the city which You have chosen (Jerusalem), and the house which I have built for Your name; 49 then hear their prayer and their supplication in heaven Your dwelling place, and maintain their cause, 50 and forgive Your people who have sinned against You and all their transgressions which they have transgressed against You, and make them objects of compassion before those who have taken them captive, that they may have compassion on them (1 Ki 8:46-51, cp Jonah 2:4 where he was even in a belly of a fish!)
Paul writes the balancing Biblical principle regarding disobedience to the government…
Let every person be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore he who resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. (Ro 13:1,2-note)
Scripture makes one exception to the charge to be subject to the government and that is when obedience to civil authority would require disobedience to God’s Word (Ex 1:17 Da 3:16, 17, 18 Da 6:7,10 Acts 4:19, 20, 5:28, 29).
The psalmist laments…
If I forget you, O Jerusalem, may my right hand forget her skill. May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth If I do not remember you, If I do not exalt Jerusalem Above my chief joy. (Ps 137:5, 6).
Young's Literal translation of Psalm 5:7 reads…
And I (David), in the abundance of Thy kindness, I enter Thy house, I bow myself toward Thy holy temple (no actual temple at that time but Hebrew word also used of the tabernacle 1Sa 1:9; 3:3) in Thy fear.
Three times a day - Daniel had prioritized prayer and a daily pattern. Recall he was one of 3 commissioners (presidents) and could have easily rationalized that he was simply too busy to pray! We need to imitate Daniel (Heb 6:12). We need to make it a priority because if we don't, prayer will soon be squeezed out of our busy schedule. How much priority did Daniel give to prayer? Prayer was so important to Daniel that he was willing to die rather than give up his right to pray to God! Now, that's a picture of commitment!
If you want to know how to pray in the hard times,
pray in the easy times.
Related Resources on Prayer:
- Pithy Prayer Phrases
- Prayer Quotes
- Prayer Devotionals and Illustrations
- Prayer Hymns and Poems
- Spurgeon's Gems on Prayer
- Guide to Praying for Missionaries
David had a similar pattern of prayer. Knowing who these men are (Daniel and David), what does this say about the role of prayer in the life of one who would desire to also be a man after God's own heart (Acts 13:22)?
As for me, I shall call upon God, and the LORD will save me. Evening and morning and at noon, I will complain and murmur (strong word meaning make a loud noise), and He will hear my voice. (Ps 55:16, 17)
Spurgeon comments: Often but none too often. Seasons of great need call for frequent seasons of devotion. The three periods chosen are most fitting; to begin, continue, and end the day with God is supreme wisdom. Where time has naturally set up a boundary, there let us set up an altar stone. The psalmist means that he will always pray; he will run a line of prayer right along the day, and track the sun with his petitions. Day and night he saw his enemies busy (Psalms 55:10), and therefore he would meet their activity by continuous prayer.
And cry aloud. He would give a tongue to his complaint; he would be very earnest in his pleas with heaven. Some cry aloud who never say a word. It is the bell of the heart that rings loudest in heaven. Some read it, "I will nurse and murmur;" deep heart thoughts should be attended with inarticulate but vehement utterances of grief. Blessed be God, moaning is translatable in heaven. A father's heart reads a child's heart.
And he shall hear my voice. He is confident that he will prevail; he makes no question that he would be heard, he speaks as if already he were answered. When our window is opened towards heaven, the windows of heaven are open to us. Have but a pleading heart and God will have a plenteous hand.
Daniel's spirit reminds us of Polycarp, one of the Early Church fathers who was threatened with martyrdom in Smyrna if he did not reproach Christ. He replied,
Eighty and six years have I served Him, and He never did me any injury. How then can I blaspheme my King and Savior? (Ibid) (Ed: It is ironic that "Polycarp was burned at the stake for refusing to burn incense to the Roman Emperor." - Wikipedia)
Daniel's priority list had fellowship with God at the top. This explains in large measure the godly life and character of this man. What is at the top of your priority list?
Leon Wood expounds on Daniel's prayer life noting that "To have maintained such a demanding prayer schedule as this, even apart from continuing it now in the face of penalty, required great discipline of life. In his position as president, Daniel carried heavy responsibility, with much work to do. Under such demands the temptation to neglect this sort of prayer-program was no doubt strong, especially since he had to return home each noon for the purpose, while keeping on also with the morning and evening occasions. But Daniel had maintained it, apparently recognizing the priority of this faithful contact with God. He continued the same in the face of the unfair decree. (Commentary on Daniel Leon Wood - Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1973, page 163)
As he had been doing previously - If Daniel was 85 yo this would be over 95,000 prayers (at 3x/day)! Talk about a hard habit to break! Remember he knew the law had been signed so he knew that his prayer was his "death warrant" for the lion's den! As noted above, as one of 3 commissioners, he would have been very busy with worldly affairs, but he was never too busy to tend to his heavenly affairs. How about you? Are you too busy to pray? If you answered "Yes", then you are simply too busy!
Safe on Your Knees - A group of amateur climbers were scaling part of the Matterhorn mountain near Zermatt, Switzerland. As they came to a narrow, hazardous passage, about to make a turn, a gust of wind swept down on them. The experienced guide, knowing the danger this posed for the group, quickly shouted, "Get down on your knees! You are safe only on your knees!"How true this is in the Christian life as well. We are safe only as we are continually in fellowship with our Lord in prayer. As Paul wrote, "Pray continually" (1 Thessalonians 5:17).See: Joshua 5:14; 1 Chronicles 16:11; Daniel 6:10-See commentary on Daniel's "Obedient Disobedience" in Prayer; Ephesians 6:18 - (6,000 Plus Illustrations for Communicating Biblical Truths.)
Are You Too Comfortable When You Pray? William R. Newell says kneeling is a good way to pray because it is uncomfortable. Daniel prayed on his knees (Daniel 6:10-note). Jim Elliot said, “God is still on His throne, we’re still His footstool, and there’s only a knee’s distance between!” He also said, “That saint who advances on his knees never retreats.”—Elisabeth Elliot, Shadow of the Almighty
Grass on Your Path -In one region of Africa, the first converts to Christianity were very diligent about praying. In fact, the believers each had their own special place outside the village where they went to pray in solitude. The villagers reached these “prayer rooms” by using their own private footpaths through the brush. When grass began to grow over one of these trails, it was evident that the person to whom it belonged was not praying very much. Because these new Christians were concerned for each other’s spiritual welfare, a unique custom sprang up. When ever anyone noticed an overgrown “Prayer path,” he or she would go to the person and lovingly warn, “Friend, there’s grass on your path!” - R W De Haan (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
Plan To Pray - "Evening and morning and at noon I will pray." (Psalm 55:17) - I have an appointment with my dentist to have my teeth cleaned and checked. I’m confident that I’ll get a good report on the condition of my teeth and gums because I floss every morning and brush two or three times every day. I have built it into my daily schedule. I have to confess that it wasn’t always that way. I knew that I should pay better attention to my dental hygiene— and I intended to. But I seldom got it done because I didn’t have a plan for it. The result: growing gum disease that led to extensive and uncomfortable surgery. I won’t let that happen again! Many things in life are like that— including prayer. Mature Christians know that unless they plan to pray, it will not happen. Daniel set specific times for prayer (Dan. 6:10). And David followed a schedule for prayer, as Psalm 55:17 indicates. I realize that following a regular program does not guarantee effective praying. And I know it can easily become a stiff formality. Even so, we must devise a plan for praying— and stick with it. Otherwise, despite our best intentions, we will pray very little. Failure to establish good spiritual habits will lead to poor spiritual health. Plan to pray! - PUTTING IT INTO PRACTICE: When is the best time for you to pray each day? Set aside that time as an appointment with God. Then ask God to help you keep your commitment. David Egner
Plan your praying, then pray your plan.
Getting Into The Habit - Daniel . . . knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed, . . . as was his custom. (Daniel 6:10) The family car is packed to the limit. The kids have their books, tapes, and games. The car-top carrier clearly signals to all observers that our family is taking a trip. But before we leave the driveway, we always stop and pray—asking God for safety and for family unity on our trip. It’s a habit. Prayer habits are helpful tools to remind us of our dependence on God. Perhaps you have some habits of your own. Before you eat, you pray. Maybe before the kids leave for school, you pray. Before they go to bed, you pray. Developing prayer habits can be of tremendous help to those of us who want to develop a close relationship with the Lord but find that the busyness of the day squeezes out the time we had hoped to spend with Him. When we designate different activities of the day before or after which we always pray, we’ll help to assure ourselves of regular communication with our Creator. That could become empty ritual, but it doesn’t have to be—it can be a time of rich fellowship with our Lord. David, who wrote Psalm 55, said that he prayed in the morning, noon, and evening (Ps 55:17). Daniel prayed three times a day (Daniel 6:10). Like them, we would be wise to develop prayer habits. They’re great ways to make prayer an integral, constant part of our daily lives. PUTTING IT INTO PRACTICE: Do you have regular times of prayer each day? If not, when could you set aside time to focus your thoughts on God and talk to Him? To make the most of your time, take time to pray. Dave Branon
Pigeon Walk - Have you ever wondered why a pigeon walks so funny? It's so that it can see where it's going. Because a pigeon's eyes can't focus as it moves, the bird actually has to bring its head to a complete stop between steps in order to refocus. So it proceeds clumsily--head forward, stop, head back, stop.
In our spiritual walk with the Lord, we have the same problem as the pigeon: We have a hard time seeing while we're on the go. We need to stop between steps--to refocus on the Word and the will of God. That's not to say we have to pray and meditate about every little decision in life. But certainly our walk with the Lord needs to have built into it a pattern of stops that enable us to see more clearly before moving on.
Daniel's practice of praying three times a day was an essential part of his walk with God. He realized that there's a certain kind of spiritual refocusing that we can't do without stopping. His stops gave him a very different kind of walk--one that was obvious to those around him.
What about us? At the risk of being thought of as different, as Daniel was, let's learn this valuable lesson from the pigeon: "Looking good" isn't nearly as important as "seeing well." — Mart De Haan (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
There is a blessed calm at eventide
That calls me from a world of toil and care;
How restful, then, to seek some quiet nook
Where I can spend a little time in prayer.
Time in Christ's service requires time out for renewal.
F B Meyer in Our Daily Walk - Our Prayer Life - Dan. 6:10
THE CHOSEN hour. It was at the time when Daniel's enemies appeared to have accomplished his downfall and death--"when the writing was signed '--that this heroic statesman knelt down and prayed, and gave thanks to God. These are times when prayer is the only way out of our perplexities. George Muller said: "Our very weakness gives opportunity for the power of the Lord Jesus Christ to be manifested. That blessed One never leaves and never forsakes us. The greater the weakness, the nearer He is to manifest His strength; the greater our necessities, the more have we ground to rely on it that He will prove Himself our Friend. This has been my experience for more than seventy years; the greater the trial, the greater the difficulty, the nearer the Lord's help. Often the appearance was as if I must be overwhelmed, but it never came to it, and it never will. More prayer, more faith, more exercise of patience, will bring the blessing. Therefore our business is just to pour out our hearts before Him; and help in His own time and way is sure to come."
The chosen direction. "His windows open towards Jerusalem." There the Holy Temple had stood, and the Altar of Incense; there God had promised to put His Name and meet His people. When we pray, our windows must be open towards our blessed Lord, who ministers for us in Heaven, mingling the much incense of His intercession with the prayers of all mints (Heb. 7:25; Rev. 8:3).
The chosen attitude. "He kneeled upon his knees." It is most appropriate to kneel before God in homage and worship. St. Paul bowed his knees, even though his hands were chained, to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ (Eph 3:14). But we can pray also as we walk, or sit, or ride. Nehemiah flashed a prayer to the God of Heaven before he answered the king's question, but he also prayed before God day and night. Let us contract the habit of praying and giving thanks three times a day. At even, morning, and noon, let God hear your voice.
Thee we would be always blessing,
Serve Thee as Thy hosts above;
Pray, and praise Thee without ceasing
Glory in Thy perfect love. AMEN.
Planned Neglect - Daniel ... knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God. (Da 6:10) In her book A Practical Guide to Prayer, Dorothy Haskin tells about a noted concert violinist who was asked the secret of her mastery of the instrument. The woman answered the question with two words: "Planned neglect." Then she explained, "There were many things that used to demand my time. When I went to my room after breakfast, I made my bed, straightened the roam, dusted, and did whatever seemed necessary. When I finished my work, I turned to my violin practice. That system prevented me from accomplishing what I should on the violin. So I reversed things. I deliberately planned to neglect everything else until my practice period was complete. And that program of planned neglect is the secret of my success." This same principle can be helpful as we plan a daily quiet time with the Lord. Unless we discipline ourselves and make a deliberate effort, trivial things will keep us from establishing a consistent devotional life. Let's give our time with the Lord top priority by "planned neglect" of things of lesser value. He deserves first place in our lives. —R. W. De Haan
A Practical Guide to Prayer By Dorothy Haskin
1. PRAYING IN PUBLIC
2. THE KEY TO PRAYER
3. GOD'S WORD IN THE QUIET TIME
4. PRAYER IN THE PRIVATE TIME
6. PRAYER FOR OTHERS
7. FAMILY PRAYERS
8. TABLE GRACE
9. PRAYER PARTNERS
10. THE SECRET OF HIS PRESENCE
OBEY GOD OVER MEN…
BUT CHEERFULLY ACCEPT THE CONSEQUENCES!
Came by agreement - Unified in their evil hearts and their evil intent.
Found Daniel - They found him breaking the law of the land! See comments in previous verse on Acts 5:29. Daniel was much like the 86 year old martyr Polycarp Bishop of Smyrna, who before being burned at the stake in 155AD was given one last chance to deny Christ publicly before just before they lit the fire. Polycarp in quiet assurance and with steady voice said:
Eighty-six years have I served Him,
He's never done me any harm,
why should I forsake Him now?
Miller - Corrie ten Boom broke the law of Germany when she hid Jews from the Nazis during World War II, but she would have broken a higher law had she not tried to prevent the murder of innocents. Today Christians are being called upon to make difficult ethical choices. (Ibid)
Making petition (asking) and supplication (asking for mercy) before his God - "Before" (Aramaic = in front of!) is an awesome and beautiful reminder that all prayer is as if the petitioner is kneeling directly in front of God's throne of grace (Heb 4:16-note)! Daniel could have closed his windows or gone somewhere else to pray. He could have done this if he had been unbelieving and frightened, but in fact Daniel knew that when a man feared the LORD he did not have to fear man.
Daniel looked away from his circumstances and instead choose to focus on His omnipotent God, Who is strong enough and is able to deliver if that be His will.
Faithfulness in prayer gets Daniel in the lion's den, whereas for many of us unfaithfulness in prayer is what gets us in the lion's den (so to speak)!
One wonders if some of the content of Daniel's prayer might not have been similar to the prayer Paul recommends for all believers to pray…
First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, in order that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. (1Ti 2:1,2)
Supplication - Humble, earnest request as by one begging on bended knee.
EBC - Daniel could not compromise. For him the issue was whether he was going to please man or obey God. Daniel had to choose between loyalty to his Lord and obedience to a sinful government commanding him to perform idolatry. So he was willing to risk his life for the Lord, trusting him for deliverance even as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego had been delivered years before. (Gaebelein, F, Editor: Expositor's Bible Commentary OT 7 Volume Set: Books: Zondervan Publishing)
Daniel 6:12 Then they approached and spoke before the king about the king's injunction, "Did you not sign an injunction that any man who makes a petition to any god or man besides you, O king, for thirty days, is to be cast into the lions' den?" The king replied, "The statement is true, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which may not be revoked." (they : Da 3:8-12 Ac 16:19,24 24:2-9) (Da 6:8 Es 1:19)
Did you not sign - They need to make certain the fate of Daniel is sealed with the King's signature. At least they thought it was sealed! Little did they know that they were in fact sealing their eternal fate! (Da 6:24) They did not know God's warning in 1Chr 16:22 = “Do not touch My anointed ones, and do My prophets no harm.”
The king replied - Notice how they got him first to reaffirm his own law before they told him of Daniel's disobedience. They were cunning and crafty like their father Satan (Ge 3:1, Jn 8:44).
The law of the Medes and Persians - This emphasizes that Darius the Mede was not an independent ruler over Babylon.
John Phillips writes that "The rigidity of the Medo-Persian law was not always a bad thing. Later, in the days of Ezra, the adversaries of Judah wrote letters to Ahasuerus, the Persian king, slandering the Jews and endeavoring to have a decree signed to prevent the Jews from continuing with the work of reconstruction. They succeeded (Ezra 4:1-24). Later, the decree of Cyrus was found, the original document that led to the repatriation of the Jews in the Promised Land. That changed the whole picture. The original decree had to stand. The law of the Medes and Persians guaranteed that. Then Darius threw the weight of his administration behind the original decree and added clauses that greatly helped the continuation of the work in Israel (Ezra 5:1-6, 15)." (Exploring the Book of Daniel)
Daniel 6:13 Then they answered and spoke before the king, "Daniel, who is one of the exiles from Judah, pays no attention to you, O king, or to the injunction which you signed, but keeps making his petition three times a day." (Daniel: Da 1:6 2:25 5:13) (Da 3:12 Es 3:8 Ac 5:29 17:7)
Daniel… one of the exiles from Judah - It has been 70 years and these evil men choose not to refer to Daniel as one of the commissioners, instead disrespectfully, disdainfully referring to him as if he were a stranger and foreigner in their midst and from a conquered people on top of that!
Showers - They carefully pointed out that Daniel was a conquered foreigner—a Jew—thereby insinuating that his disobedience had been prompted by political unfaithfulness. (Ibid)
Pays no attention to you - They focused on Daniel's supposed disrespect of the king rather than on his devotion to his God.
This accusation is similar to that made against Daniel's 3 friends.
There are certain Jews whom you have appointed over the administration of the province of Babylon, namely Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego. These men, O king, have disregarded you; they do not serve your gods or worship the golden image which you have set up." (Da 3:12-note)
Daniel 6:14 Then, as soon as the king heard this statement, he was deeply distressed and set his mind on delivering Daniel; and even until sunset he kept exerting himself to rescue him. (Da 3:13 Mt 27:17-24 Mk 6:26 Lk 23:13-21 Jn 19:7-12) (2Sa 3:28,29)
Then - He knew he had been trapped like a rat in a cage! His best man's life was now in jeopardy and he was partially responsible.
He was deeply distressed ("It was greatly displeasing to him") (Lxx = lupeo = caused to have severe mental and emotional distress, vexed) - He now recognized that he had been deceived by the lies of these jealous, anti-Semitic officials.
Why was Darius so distressed with a sense of urgency? As Keil points out "the sentence was carried out, according to Oriental custom on the evening of the day in which the accusation was made." (Daniel Commentary)
EBC has a novel comment regarding Darius' attempts to rescue Daniel - He may have thought of ways of protecting him from the lions, perhaps by overfeeding them or by covering Daniel with armor. Such schemes would have been interpreted as subterfuges undermining the king's own law. (Expositor's Bible Commentary: Zondervan)
Daniel 6:15 Then these men came by agreement to the king and said to the king, "Recognize, O king, that it is a law of the Medes and Persians that no injunction or statute which the king establishes may be changed." (Recognize: Da 6:8,12 Es 8:8 Ps 94:20,21)
Came by agreement - Emphasizes this was a plot, a conspiracy.
Injunction… may be changed - They wanted to reinforce the seriousness of the king's own decree. They knew he was deeply distressed and probably feared he might even break the law of the Medes and the Persians.
Daniel 6:16 Then the king gave orders, and Daniel was brought in and cast into the lions' den. The king spoke and said to Daniel, "Your God whom you constantly serve will Himself deliver you." (the king: 2Sa 3:39 Pr 29:25 Jer 26:14 38:5 Mt 14:8-10 27:23-26 Mk 6:25-28 15:14,15 Jn 19:12-16 Ac 24:27 25:9,11 Ro 13:3) (God : Da 6:20 3:15,17,28 Job 5:19 Ps 37:39,40 91:14-16 118:8,9 Isa 43:2 Ac 27:23,24)
NIV renders this verse as if Darius were offering a prayer or better yet, perhaps it was a way of expressing his feeble hope of the possibility of deliverance
"May your God, Whom you serve continually, rescue you!" (ESV, NLT, CSB, RSV also renders it in the form of a prayer. Lxx translation does not take the form of a prayer).
You constantly serve - The original Aramaic verb form emphasizes continual action. The Lxx translates with latreuo in the present tense (continually carries out his religious duties in a spirit of worship.)
Lion's den - Keil describes it this way "It consisted of a large square cavern under the earth, having a partition wall in the middle of it which is furnished with a door which the keeper can open and close from above. By throwing in the food, he entices the lions from one chamber into the other and then having shut the door, they enter the vacant space for the purpose of cleaning it. The cavern is open above, its mouth being surrounded by a wall of a yard and a half high over which one can look down into the den." (Daniel Commentary)
Your God… will deliver you (Lxx = exaireo = literally means will take you out, to rescue from danger - even as Peter was rescued by His angel Acts 12:11, cp Jesus' promise to Paul to rescue him - Acts 26:17, Gal 1:4-note) - This is certainly his human hope ("hope so") but it is not necessarily an expression of assurance or faith because the king later asks "has your God… been able to deliver you?" Faith says "He is able".
Daniel 6:17 A stone was brought and laid over the mouth of the den; and the king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the signet rings of his nobles, so that nothing would be changed in regard to Daniel. (La 3:53 Mt 27:60-66 Ac 12:4 16:23,24)
How did Daniel respond to this life threatening situation? We know that he had prayed and so his heart was prepared, but we cannot say otherwise for the text is silent. Although for a man in his 80's who has served so faithfully, one cannot help but wonder that not only did he have no fear, but that he was likely even ready to go home (cp 2Co 5:6-note , 2Cor 5:8-note). We'll ask him when we meet in the presence of our LORD!
King sealed (Lxx = sphragizo = of sealing believers secure in their salvation - Eph 1:13-note, Eph 4:30-note) it with his own signet ring and with the signet rings of his nobles - For security, to assure there would be no covert rescue or escape. Any attempt to open the lion's den would be detectable by a broken seal (cp seal in Eph 1:13). This event reminds us of another tomb that was "made… secure" (Mt 27:60,66) by the Roman authorities, but to no avail for our Lord Jesus Christ came forth alive, even as Daniel came forth alive (some see Daniel's coming forth as a foreshadowing of the resurrection)!
Daniel 6:18 Then the king went off to his palace and spent the night fasting, and no entertainment was brought before him; and his sleep fled from him. (and passed : 2Sa 12:16,17 19:24 1Ki 21:27 Job 21:12 Ps 137:2 Ec 2:8 Isa 24:8,9 Am 6:4-6 Jon 3:3-9 Rev 18:22) (instruments : or, table) (and : Da 2:1 Es 6:1 Ps 77:4)
NO MIRTH FOR
His sleep fled - His conscience was not clear. His heart was burdened. Sleep was fleeting for the king while Daniel slept like a baby. Man's best rest (king's palace) contrasted with God's best rest (in the Lion's den or wherever, but with the presence of the Lord and with a clear conscience - that is real rest - Study "Rest" in Scripture). As Pritchard says "it is better to be a child of faith in a lion’s den than to be a king without God in a palace."
Break of day - literally at the brightness of the dawning, as soon as the sun was visible, he was off to the lion's den!
Then - After a fitful night of tossing and turning.
Went in haste - Surely wondering as he ran to the den "Is Daniel's God really able to deliver"? (Da 6:16).
Daniel 6:20 When he had come near the den to Daniel, he cried out with a troubled voice. The king spoke and said to Daniel, "Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you constantly serve, been able to deliver you from the lions?" (is : Da 6:16,27 3:15,17,28,29) (serve : 1Chr 16:11 Ps 71:14-18 73:23 119:112 146:2 Pr 23:17,18 Ho 12:6 Lk 18:1 Ac 6:4 Ro 2:7 Col 4:2 1Th 5:17,18 Jas 1:25) (able : Da 3:17 Ge 18:14 Nu 11:23 14:15,16 Jer 32:17 Lk 1:37 2Co 1:10 2Ti 1:12 4:16, 17, 18 Heb 7:25 Jude 1:24)
With a troubled voice - It is ironic that the king's royal surroundings and his troubled conscience afforded him a far less comfortable night of rest than that of Daniel who had a completely clear conscience (Da 6:22, 2Ti 1:3-note) sleeping with the lions and fellowshipping with the Angel of God! God does have a fascinating sense of humor.
Daniel servant (Lxx = doulos) of the living God - Would it be that all God's children would be known by this title! And would it be that all God's children lived so that the unbelievers around them recognized their God as "the living God." Daniel's life of integrity was a shining light in the midst of a dark work and Darius recognized the difference. Some have commented that although there is no Biblical evidence that King Darius ever became a believer, that possibility is not inconceivable considering the "aroma of life" (cp 2Cor 2:14, 15, 16) to which he was exposed. I agree. Won't heaven be an interesting place! Some who you never thought will be there. And sadly some you surely thought would be there won't be!
You constantly serve - Repeat of Da 6:16. Clearly Darius recognized Daniel's loyalty to His God. Daniel's consistent work ethic toward God is another mark of his integrity.
Living God - This is amazing that this pagan king referred to God as living! One This phrase is found 28x in Scripture (Dt 5:26; Josh 3:10; 1Sa 17:26, 36; 2Kgs 19:4, 16; Ps 42:2; 84:2; Isa 37:4, 17; Jer 10:10; 23:36; Da 6:20, 26; Hos 1:10; Mt 16:16; 26:63; Acts 14:15; Ro 9:26; 2Cor 3:3; 6:16; 1Ti3:15; 4:10; Heb 3:12; 9:14; 10:31; 12:22; Rev 7:2). Living God sometimes is used to contrast the Lord with lifeless idols (see, e.g., Deut 5:26; Josh 3:10; Isa 37:17,18)
Your God - Like Nebuchadnezzar before him, Darius has a reasonable respect for God, but does not acknowledge Him as his God (as we think Nebuchadnezzar finally did after humbling his heart in Daniel 4).
Your God… able to deliver (cp the testimony of the 3 friend in Da 3:17 "God… is able") - Daniel did not know that rescue would be forthcoming. Courage and steadfastness in faith motivated him to continue his walk with God by faith not by sight.
Pritchard writes that Darius. "recognized the genuineness of Daniel’s faith and though he did not believe himself, he hoped that Daniel’s God would deliver him."
EBC- Notice the emphasis on Yahweh as the "living" God; clearly the king regarded Daniel's fate as a test of whether his God was really alive or just an unproved supposition, like all the deities the non- Jews worshiped. If the Hebrew God really existed, he would preserve his faithful servant from death; and if anyone deserved well from his God, it was Daniel, who would not stop worshiping even on pain of death. (Gaebelein, F, Editor: Expositor's Bible Commentary OT 7 Volume Set: Books: Zondervan Publishing)
O king, live forever! - Daniel still in the lion's den was in better composure than was the king safe above the den.
While this is a common idiomatic way of addressing kings, one cannot help but think it conveys more from the heart of Daniel than simply "Good morning, king"! In fact, what is ironic, even humorous about his greeting? Daniel a "dead man" in the den is alive, asking (in a sense) for eternal life for a pagan king (the real dead man - Eph 2:1)! Interesting!
Why does God give us stories like Daniel 6, David and Goliath, Israel trapped at the Red Sea with Pharaoh pursuing, the walls of Jericho falling down, etc? Paul answers it this way…
For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. (Ro 15:4)
God records these stories to stir up faith in our hearts. Then when we find ourselves facing the giants or the lions or the impossible "Red Sea" obstacle, we can cry out to Jehovah for deliverance, knowing that He is able to deliver us. Remember that when God allows us to go through one of these difficult stormy situations, He always has a purpose. Some storms are sent for correction (discipline) as with Jonah, some storms are for instruction as with the disciples, and some storms are sent that we might be used to bring glory to the Most High God as in the case of the miraculous deliverance of Daniel from the Lion's den.
Like a River Glorious
Stayed upon Jehovah
Hearts are fully blessed,
Finding as He promised
Perfect peace and rest.
So here's the question we each need to ponder - Is my God able to deliver me? The answer depends on who your God is - Is your god "Plenty" (money)? Is your god "Pleasure"? Is your god "Power"? Jesus is the only God who can truly deliver…
Hence, also, He is able to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. (Hebrews 7:25-note)
Daniel 6:22 "My God sent His angel and shut the lions' mouths and they have not harmed me, inasmuch as I was found innocent before Him; and also toward you, O king, I have committed no crime." (My God : Da 6:20 2Sa 22:7 Ps 31:14 38:21 118:28 Mic 7:7 Mt 27:46 Jn 20:17 Jn 20:18) (hath sent : Da 3:28 Nu 20:16 2Ch 32:21 Ps 34:7 Isa 63:9 Ac 12:11 27:23) (hath shut : 1Sa 17:37 Ps 91:11-13 2Ti 4:17 Heb 11:33) (forasmuch : Da 6:23 Ps 18:19-24 26:6 84:11 Isa 3:10 Ac 24:16 2Co 1:12 1Jn 3:19-21) (and also : Ge 40:15 1Sa 24:9-11 26:18 Ps 7:1-4 Ac 25:8-11)
Another mark of a man of integrity - Daniel (as in the past) makes it a priority to give God the glory for his deliverance (a good pattern for all His children) (cp Da 2:27, 28; Da 4:25; Da 5:21, 22, 23, cp Ps 115:1-note)
My God sent His angel - While this could be a created angel, it is possible that it is the Angel of the LORD. In Da 3:28-note we read a similar phrase that God "sent His Angel and delivered His servants who put their trust in Him" (cp Da 3:25-note). In that context, we concluded that the Angel was very likely the Angel of the LORD, the preincarnate appearance of Christ. And in Da 6:23 the king states Daniel's delivery (like the 3 Hebrew boys) was related to the fact that he had trusted his God.
There is an interesting parallel passage in Paul (in some of the last words he wrote before he was poured out as a drink offering -2Ti 4:6-note) -
2 Timothy 4:17-note But the Lord stood with me and strengthened me, so that through me the proclamation might be fully accomplished, and that all the Gentiles might hear; and I was rescued out of the lion's mouth.
S R Miller asks - Who was the “angel” who spent the night in the den with Daniel? He may have been a member of the angelic host, but it is more likely that this heavenly being was the divine angelic messenger, the Angel of the LORD (cf. Ge 16:11, 12, 13, 14; 22:15, 16; Ex 3:2, 3, 4; Jdg 6:11-26; 13:13-23; 1Chr 21:16, 17, 18). Although the LXX (but not the Lxx of Theodoret) interpreted the text to mean that “God” saved Daniel from the lions, Lacocque comments, “It is nothing other than the very presence of God, as the LXX has well understood.” The angel was evidently visible to Daniel, and it is comforting to think of the faithful old prophet spending the night in fellowship with the Lord during this trying ordeal. (Ibid)
David writes that…
Speaking of the created angels the writer of Hebrews asks rhetorically…
Are they not all ministering spirits, sent out to render service for the sake of those who will inherit salvation? (Hebrews 1:14-note)
I was found innocent before Him - A perfect illustration of Daniel's very name = "God is my Judge" and the Supreme God overturned the accusation against Daniel!
Daniel 6:23 Then the king was very pleased and gave orders for Daniel to be taken up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den and no injury whatever was found on him, because he had trusted in his God. (was : Da 6:14,18 Ex 18:9 1Ki 5:7 2Ch 2:11,12) (because : Da 3:25,27,28 1Ch 5:20 2Ch 20:20 Ps 37:40 118:8,9 146:3, 4, 5, 6 Pr 18:10 Isa 26:3 Mk 9:23 Heb 11:33)
No injury whatever - Complete, total deliverance by Jehovah, just as with his 3 fire tested friends (Da 3:27). As we have said before God’s servants are immortal until their work is done. This does not mean that His servants are always delivered from death.
Strauss - a man of God in the will of God is immortal until his work on earth is finished. Daniel was such a man, and God preserved him to finish some more work in the divine plan. (Ibid)
Taken up out of - This suggests it was a pit.
He had trusted in his God - The Aramaic word for trusted (believed) is aman which is related to Hebrew word (See word study of Hebrew word aman) at the heart of which conveys the idea of certainty or firmness. Faith is firm trust in another. It is utter dependence upon the veracity of another. Faith is not a blind leap into the dark but a confident commitment to the One about Whom abundant evidence bears ample testimony of His eternal, immutable trustworthiness.
Strauss - A living faith in the living God will give courage and strength for every emergency of life. (Ibid)
Why did God deliver Daniel? Because of his steadfast faith and because he was innocent (Da 6:22). This passage demonstrates that faith is in a sense an "action verb". In other words, even the pagan king could "see" Daniel's faith by virtue of his refusal to compromise even in the face of the prospect of being the main course of the lion's dinner menu!
Heb 11:33 who by faith conquered kingdoms, performed acts of righteousness, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions.
By faith they shut the mouths of lions. The lions’ den is not an old-world experience merely. God’s saints still dwell among lions, and fight with wild beasts at Ephesus. Like David, God’s people have abundant cause to cry, “They have compassed us in our steps: they set their eyes to out us down to the earth. He is like a lion that is greedy of his prey, and, as it were, a young lion, lurking in secret places.” But still God sends his angel to shut the lions’ mouths; still faith surrounds us with his unseen protection. Or, if the lion seems to triumph, it is only in appearance. Was not the martyr Ignatius more than a conqueror when he said:
“I bid all men know that of my own free will I die for God, unless ye should hinder me. I exhort you, be ye not an unseasonable kindness to me. Let me be given to the wild beasts, for through them I can attain unto God. I am God’s wheat, and I am ground by the teeth of wild beasts that I may be found pure bread of Christ. Rather entice the wild beasts that they may become my sepulchre, and may leave no part of my body behind; so that I may not, when I am fallen asleep, be burdensome to any one…. Now I am beginning to be a disciple. May naught of things visible and things invisible impede me, that I may attain unto Jesus Christ. Come fire, and iron, and grapplings with wild beasts, cuttings, and manglings, crashings of my whole body—only be it mine to attain unto Jesus Christ.”
Whether faith closes the mouth of the lion, or gives the soul such an entire deliverance from all fear, it is the same in essence and operation, and shows its heavenly temper with the ease with which it overcomes the trial.
Lessons for the Ages - Children love to hear the Bible story of Daniel in the lions' den. But that account has valuable lessons for all of us. Let's look again at the faith of an elderly man named Daniel.
Prayer is a lifelong task. Daniel was at least 80 years old when this story took place. Yet Scripture says he prayed and gave thanks to God "three times that day … as was his custom since early days" (Da 6:10). Daniel had been a man of prayer his whole life—from his youth in Jerusalem all the way through his 65 years in Babylon.
Faithfulness is an undeniable testimony. When Daniel was thrown into the lions' den, Darius said, "Your God, whom you serve continually, He will deliver you" (Da 6:16). Daniel's testimony of trust in God was well-known (Da 6:1-4)—even to a king who wanted people to worship him instead of God.
God rewards faithfulness. Daniel was spared "because he believed in his God" (Da 6:23). As a result, the king told his people to turn their faith toward God. Daniel continued to prosper under the reign of Darius (Da 6:28).
Are you facing a "lions' den" today? Remember the faithfulness of Daniel and imitate it by trusting in the faithfulness of God. — Dave Branon (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
Although the stress and strain of life
My thread of faith may become weak,
The cable of His faithfulness
No storm can ever shake.
God tests our faith
so that we may trust His faithfulness.
Daniel 6:24 The king then gave orders, and they brought those men who had maliciously accused Daniel, and they cast them, their children and their wives into the lions' den; and they had not reached the bottom of the den before the lions overpowered them and crushed all their bones. (brought: Dt 19:18, 19, 20 Es 7:10 9:25 Pr 11:8) (their children: Dt 24:16 Josh 7:24,25 2Ki 14:6 Es 9:10) (lions: Da 3:22 Ps 54:5 Isa 38:13)
Brought those men who had maliciously accused Daniel - This is the law of sowing and reaping in action (Gal 6:7, 8, cp Dt. 19:16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21).
MacArthur - The law of the Medes and the Persians said: "On account of the guilt of one, all his kindred must perish." (Daniel in the Lions' Den)
Persian kings were known for being cruel in their treatment of enemies and Darius was no exception tossing in their families for good measure, by this preventing any family members from seeking to take revenge on the king. This "den debacle" could have been worse had Darius chosen to also toss in the 120 satraps who were in effect co-conspirators (some think he did execute all of them).
Keil - The condemning to death of the wives and children along with the men was in accordance with Persian custom, as is testified by Herodotus, iii. 119, Amm. Marcell. xxiii. 6. 81, and also with the custom of the Macedonians in the case of treason (Curtius, vi. ii.), but was forbidden in the law of Moses; cf. Deut. 24:16.
The fate of the conspirators is a fulfillment of the promise given to Abraham when God declared…
I will bless those who bless you, and the one who curses you I will curse. (Ge 12:3a)
Maliciously accused - Literally this phrase means “eaten his pieces,” (Akal - 399 = eat + Qerats = 7170 = pieces) and is an idiom which means they had spoken maliciously or slandered (Also used in Da 3:8). Daniel had been falsely accused of disloyalty to the king.
They had not reached the bottom of the den before the lions overpowered them - This fact is a striking contrast with Daniel's deliverance and underscores the power of God to deliver completely. These lions were not what some liberal commentators have described (in order to explain away the miracle) - tame, toothless, tired or satiated!
He who digs a pit will fall into it, and he who rolls a stone, it will come back on him. (Pr 26:27).
Wiersbe recalls several Scriptural illustrations of this saying…
Pharaoh ordered the Hebrew male babies destroyed in Egypt, and at Passover, all the Egyptian firstborn died. He commanded the newborn Jewish babies to be drowned in the Nile River, and his own army was drowned in the Red Sea (Ex 14,15). Haman tried to destroy the Jewish nation and ended up being hanged on the gallows he had made for Mordecai (Es 7:9, 10; 9:25). Even if sinners aren’t judged in this present life, they will be judged after they die (Heb. 9:27), and the judgment will be just. (Ibid)
He who leads the upright astray in an evil way will himself fall into his own pit, but the blameless will inherit good (as in Da 6:28). (Pr 28:10)
The righteous (i.e., Daniel) is delivered from trouble, but the wicked (Daniel's accusers) takes his place. (Pr 11:8)
Another Persian king, Ahasuerus, carried out a similar retribution against evil Haman who had plotted to have all the Jews in Persian empire destroyed (what a picture of Satan's emissary)…
So they hanged Haman on the gallows which he had prepared for Mordecai, and the king’s anger subsided… The king took off his signet (signet) ring which he had taken away from Haman, and gave it to Mordecai. And Esther set Mordecai over the house of Haman. (Esther 7:10-note, Esther 8:2-note)
EBC - What Darius did seems arbitrary and unjust. But ancient pagan despots had no regard for the provision in the Mosaic law (Dt 24:16): "Fathers shall not be put to death for their children, nor children put to death for their fathers; each is to die for his own sin." (Even in Israel this humanitarian rule had been flouted, as when Abimelech ben Gideon had nearly all his father's sons massacred, or when Queen Athaliah nearly exterminated the Davidic royal line and Jehu had all Ahab's sons decapitated.) (Gaebelein, F, Editor: Expositor's Bible Commentary OT 7 Volume Set: Books: Zondervan Publishing)
Ezekiel adds - The person who sins will die. The son will not bear the punishment for the father's iniquity, nor will the father bear the punishment for the son's iniquity; the righteousness of the righteous will be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked will be upon himself. (Ezekiel 18:20, cp Ro 14:20)
Daniel 6:25 Then Darius the king wrote to all the peoples, nations and men of every language who were living in all the land: "May your peace abound! (king : Da 4:1 Ezra 1:1,2 Es 3:12 8:9) (Peace : Ezra 4:17 1Pe 1:2 2Pe 1:2 Jude 1:2)
THE EVANGELISTIC POTENCY
OF A GODLY LIFE
Then Darius - Theologically this is quite a proclamation.
John MacArthur (among other conservative commentators) postulates that = Impacted by Daniel and the Lord, Darius expressed himself as if he had come to a point of personal trust in God for his salvation. (Daniel: God's Control over Rulers and Nations)
Darius the king wrote to all the peoples, nations and men of every language - As a result of Daniel's faithfulness, the renown of Daniel's God was proclaimed throughout the 120 provinces of Medo-Persia. As noted elsewhere, while the Jews refused to fulfill their task to be light to the Gentiles, God used a pagan king to announce His majesty and splendor to the known world! One wonders what impact these truths had on the Gentile hearts? One faithful man affected literally an entire Gentile empire! How great is our God!
You never know the impact you will have on the unbelieving watchers. Pastor Chuck Smith tells the following story…
We had a very lovable young man around here for several years. Due to drugs and an accident, he had mental and speech problems. God used him in special ways. While he was in the mental ward at Orange Co. hospital, his Psychiatrist called the church asking how he could get saved. He said we have a young man over here that seems to know only one thing but he knows it well, he tells me all the time that Jesus loves me. I need to know this Jesus. Kay was going through one of those times when she was discouraged and feeling a little down, and she said, "Lord I just need to be assured of Your love for me." Presently the phone rang and this young man who slurred his words so much that he was difficult to understand said, "Sister Kay", and then in the clearest, most distinct way he said, "Jesus wants you to know that he loves you." He then reverted again to his stuttering slurring speech pattern. (Chuck Smith - Sermon Notes)
I agree with Ray Prichard's comments on King Darius - What amazing words coming from the lips of a pagan king. Or perhaps he is a pagan no more. Perhaps like Nebuchadnezzar he became a believer in the one true God. We won’t know for sure until we get to heaven, but I would not be surprised to see Darius there. (How to Tame Lions - Dr. Ray Pritchard - January 2000)
Daniel 6:26 "I make a decree that in all the dominion of my kingdom men are to fear and tremble before the God of Daniel; For He is the living God and enduring forever, And His kingdom is one which will not be destroyed, And His dominion will be forever. (make: Da 3:29 Ezra 6:8-12 7:12,13) (tremble : Ps 2:11 99:1-3 119:120 Isa 66:2 Jer 10:10 Lk 12:5 Heb 12:29) (for : Da 4:34 De 5:26 1Sa 17:26,36 Ho 1:10 Ac 17:25 Ro 9:26 1Th 1:9 Rev 4:10 5:14) (enduring forever: Ps 93:1,2 146:10 Mal 3:6 Heb 6:17,18 Jas 1:17) (his kingdom : Da 2:44 4:3,34 7:14,27 Ps 29:10 145:12,13 Isa 9:7 Mt 6:13 Lk 1:33 Rev 11:15)
GOD IS GLORIFIED
THROUGH THE DANIEL'S TRIAL
I make a decree - This is a remarkable proclamation lauding many of the attributes of God and kingdom. Clearly the omnipotent God God could have orchestrated events so that Daniel would not have been thrown into the lion's den, but by allowing him to go in and bringing him out unhurt, the Lord received great glory! We need to remember this story the next time we try to escape the fiery trial, not realizing that the Lord might desire us to walk through that He might be greatly glorified!
Wiersbe - Darius’ first decree in this chapter declared that he was god (Da 6:7–9), but this second decree declared that the God of the Hebrews was the true and living God! In doing this, Darius joined King Nebuchadnezzar by giving public testimony to the power and glory of the true and living God (Da 2:47; Da 3:28, 29; Da 4:1-3, 34, 35, 36, 37). God could have kept Daniel out of the lions’ den, but by rescuing him from the lions, God received greater glory… What a paradox that the Jews, who were supposed to be witnesses to the Gentiles of the true and living God, were being witnessed to by the Gentiles! (Ibid)
Lawrence Richards - I suspect that the royal command did little to create faith in Israel's God. After all, faith can't be commanded! What did create faith, at least in the king, was Daniel's faithfulness to the Lord. Despite the threat to life itself, Daniel continued to worship God openly. God's faithfulness to His loyal servant, like His faithfulness to us, nurtures budding faith in others. You and I cannot command others to believe. But we can encourage them to believe—by an open, unashamed, and unpretentious witness to our Lord. (365 Day Devotional)
Daniel 6:27 "He delivers and rescues and performs signs and wonders In heaven and on earth, Who has also delivered Daniel from the power of the lions." (delivers: Job 36:15 Ps 18:48,50 32:7 35:17 97:10 Lk 1:74,75 2Co 1:8, 9, 10 2Ti 4:17,18) (and: Da 4:2,3,34 Jer 32:19,20 Mk 16:17,18 Ac 4:30 Heb 2:4)
He delivers and rescues - Darius had witnessed divine deliverance from a den!
Some commentators make the point that Daniel's great deliverance (as well as that of his 3 friends in Daniel 3) serves to foreshadow the physical and spiritual deliverance of Israel in the last days as described in Zechariah (Zech 14:1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11) and Romans 11 (Ro 11:26, 27-note), as well as other passages.
Performs signs and wonders (Da 3:28, 29; Da 4:3; Dt. 6:22; Neh 9:10; Ps 74:9; Ps 105:26-36; 135:9; Jer 32:20, 21)
EBC - The sense of Da 3:26, 27 is like the last clause of Da 3:29 ("no other god can save in this way"--i.e., the way the three were saved from the fiery furnace) and like Da 4:34 ("His dominion is an eternal dominion; his kingdom endures from generation to generation"--words Nebuchadnezzar spoke on recovering from his madness). (Gaebelein, F, Editor: Expositor's Bible Commentary OT 7 Volume Set: Books: Zondervan Publishing)
So this Daniel enjoyed success - Because of the intervening hand of the living God.
Success in the context of Daniel 6 would certainly include "favor" (cp Da 1:8-note, Da 1:9-note) with and position in the Medo-Persian government. But success to Daniel, as to all spiritually minded men and women, is not defined so much by the temporal and earthly as by the eternal and heavenly (cp Da 12:13). In Daniel's case we know from Da 9:1,2, 3 (and Jer 25:11, 12, Jer 29:10) that he understood God's plan for Judah was 70 years of exile in Babylon. Knowing this truth he entreated God to fulfill His promise ( = "praying the will of [Word of] God"; ~ "claiming the promises of God"). Indeed it appears that Daniel lived to see the answer to his prayers and the fulfillment of God's prophetic promise for the scribe Ezra records…
Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia (539BC), in order to fulfill the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah (Jer 29:10), the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia (cp Isa 44:27, 28, Isa 45:1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7) so that he sent a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and also put it in writing (How "permanent" is this decree?), saying, "Thus says Cyrus king of Persia, 'The LORD, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth (Da 2:21), and He has appointed me to build Him a house in Jerusalem, which is in Judah. Whoever there is among you of all His people, may his God be with him! Let him go up to Jerusalem which is in Judah, and rebuild the house of the LORD, the God of Israel; He is the God who is in Jerusalem." (Ezra 1:1, 2,3, cp 2Chr 36:22, 23, Ezra 6:3, 4, 5. Most Jews remained in Babylon - Which Jews returned? Why? Ezra 1:5)
EBC has some interesting (albeit a bit speculative) comments - The chapter ends with this notice to Daniel's continued usefulness throughout the rest of the reign of Darius (Gubaru) as king of Babylon and in the reign of Cyrus (cf. Da 1:21) as king of Babylon. After this Daniel apparently retired from public service and gave himself to Bible study and prayer. He received the revelations of Daniel 10-12 in the third year of Cyrus (cf. Da 10:1). Apparently it was during his retirement that he revised his memoirs. A likely date for the publication of the Book of Daniel would seem to be about 532 B.C., judging from linguistic evidence (Gaebelein, F, Editor: Expositor's Bible Commentary OT 7 Volume Set: Books: Zondervan)
James Smith summarizes Daniel 6 in Handfuls of Purpose:
Daniel has now been probably sixty-eight years in the city of Babylon. He had lived under the reign of three kings, and was about eighty-five years old. He had had many severe trials and temptations, but he remained faithful to his God, his conscience, and his fellowmen. Notice his—
I. Integrity. "We shall not find any occasion against this Daniel, except we find it concerning the law of his God" (Da 6:5). His enemies themselves are witnesses to the purity of his life, His character was invulnerable. As a man of prayer and of faith he was faultless, even in the details of his arduous business life. The undercurrent of his nature was as pure as the upper. This was the secret of his moral strength. The daily life is perhaps the severest test of the Christian character, but the pure in heart shall see God, and seeing Him they shall endure.
II. Steadfastness. "When Daniel knew that the writing was signed he went.. .and prayed, and gave thanks before God, as he did aforetime" (Da 6:10). Their plot was to get the law of the Medes (unalterable) to clash with the law of Daniel and his God. Although he knew that they had succeeded in making and setting a trap for his feet, he trusted in God and went on as aforetime. Circumstances, adverse as they were, had no effect in changing his holy purpose to be true to God, and his own conscience. General Gordon, when in the Sudan, used to lay his handkerchief at the door of his tent each morning while he prayed, and no one dared to enter till the signal was removed. Courage, brother, do not stumble in your prayer life. Be steadfast in your faith and practice.
III. Sufferings. He was doubtless persecuted through envy (Da 6:3). Their dastardly scheme seemed to succeed. Daniel is condemned to the lions. This was the Persians' mode of capital punishment, as the fiery furnace was that of the Babylonians. This is one strong proof of the authenticity of the book. This was a great crisis in the experience of the prophet. Must all be sacrificed to appease the wrath of these haters of godliness? Every sacrifice we make for God brings for us a fuller enjoyment of the salvation of God.
IV. Deliverance. "My God hath shut the lions mouths," etc. (Da 6:20-22). This was a new experience of the power of God. While his enemies are rejoicing over his supposed destruction, Daniel is rejoicing in a new salvation. God will vindicate the faith of His own true servant. He is able to do exceedingly above all that we think.
V. Faith. "Because he believed in his God" (Da 6:23, l.c.). God will not deny Himself. To trust Him is to put Him on His honour. The secret of victory in the Christian life lies deep down in our oneness of life and purpose with Him.
VI. Doom of Enemies. "They were cast into the den and their bones broken in pieces" (Da 6:24). The triumph of the wicked is short. They digged a pit for the servant of God, and they themselves fell into it, as Haman was hanged on his own gallows. As these enemies of Daniel had to do with Daniel's God, so the enemies of the Gospel of Christ have to do with the Christ of the Gospel. To reject the Word of God is to reject the God of the Word. The wrath of God must abide on the unbeliever (John 3:36). Blessed are all they that put their trust in Him
Ray Prichard's lessons for modern day Daniels…
It is possible to live a pure life in the midst of a thoroughly pagan world…
Christians who live for God should expect opposition...The jealous satraps are never far away. Ironically, the more honest you are, the sooner they will attack.
God can use us to touch unlikely people when we are faithful to Him...We never know who is watching us or what they are looking for, but this story teaches us that not every unbeliever hates Christians. For every satrap out there planning our downfall, there is a Darius keeping an eye on us, hoping that our faith may prove to be genuine. Such people have little or no faith and deep inside, they want what we have… Last week I listened to a successful businessman tell how he came to Christ. It seems that he had a Christian friend whose life made a huge impact on him. Day after day he watched his friend, studying how he handled the problems of life, and listened as he openly declared his faith. Eventually the businessman said to himself, “I want what my friend has,” and he came to saving faith in Jesus Christ.
God is able to deliver his people from any danger they face… Take heart and trust in God. He can deliver you from whatever is troubling you this very moment…
God always delivers in his own time and in his own way. (How to Tame Lions - Dr. Ray Pritchard - January 2000)
John MacArthur has an excellent summary of the characteristics of a man of integrity, a man God uses in His kingdom work… let us seek to emulate and imitate (in the power of the Spirit) Daniel, God's man in Babylon and Medo-Persia…
Let me ask you a simple question? Who gets the glory in the chapter? Daniel? Not Daniel… not Daniel for a minute. Daniel was just there, that's all. God got the glory. I believe that if you see one thread through the book of Daniel, it is not the exaltation of Daniel; it is the majesty of God who stands against the nations of the world and upholds His sovereignty.
Finally, the prosperity. "So this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius, even in the reign of Cyrus the Persian." He prospered.
Now I want you to listen to me. As I close, I want to sum up very rapidly, in just a couple of minutes, listen. As we look at this chapter, what do we see about Daniel? Do you remember when we studied chapter 1 and 2? We took all of the characteristics of the virtue of Daniel as a young man and we cataloged them and we studied them… and we saw what makes a virtuous, godly man. Well, here we are, twenty… well, no, sixty, seventy years later, what do we see in him again? What are the elements of character that we could translate to ourselves? What makes a man able to affect a nation? What makes a man or a woman have an impact that is as far reaching as an Empire? What is it in Daniel?
Let me suggest some things. I'm going to run them down, just listen to them, think them through.
First of all, this man transcended history. He was great and he was useful to God because he transcended history. He got his feet out of the muck of human issues. He sought the kingdom of God.
Secondly, he lived a consistent life from start to finish. He was virtuous when he was young and so he was virtuous when he was old. And I, really believe that there's no way to measure with a human measure, the power of a virtuous life of that many years. The tragedy is that most of us find our virtue coming and going through those years… not Daniel.
What are the lessons
we learn about a man of God?
(1) He transcends history.
(2) He lives a consistent life from youth to old age and this makes for great usefulness in his old age.
(3) He utterly fulfills his calling. In other words, he lives in the absolute center of God's will. His only desire is that God's will be fulfilled.
(4) He has a right attitude. They kept saying about him he has an excellent spirit… he has an excellent spirit.
(5) He will be envied and he will be hated by the world around him, but he will never be embittered by it.
(6) He is condemned but if he is condemned, he is condemned for his righteousness for there's no other flaw, he is as an elder of the church should be… what?… blameless.
(7) He is known for his virtue and integrity even by his enemies.
(8) He is a faithful citizen. He is subject to human laws until they would cause him to violate the laws of God.
(9) He is willing to face any consequence within the framework of God's will and leave the outcome to God.
(10) He will serve faithfully no matter what it costs him personally.
(11) He never defends himself. He leaves that to God.
(12) He strengthens the faith of others giving them hope in God. Didn't you see this in the king? I mean, the king was even believing because of the great faith of Daniel.
(13) He is delivered from all harm and he is preserved for every purpose within the will of God.
(14) He is a vehicle for God's glory. I wish we could just preach on that. We… we as Christians are to be, above all things, a vehicle for God's glory.
(15) He will be avenged by God. His enemies will be dealt with by God, he doesn't have to deal with them himself.
(16) He is exalted by those around him as well as by the One above him.
Principles manifest in this chapter that show the virtuous life of a man of God. (Daniel in the Lions' Den)
Success comes in various forms. Some view it as the accumulation of great wealth gained through suffering and sacrifice. But for the believer, success comes only through doing God's will.
A young man named John W. Yates was so poor that he had to put cardboard in his shoes to cover the holes. Yet when he opened a bank account at the age of fifteen, he deposited his meager earnings under the name "John W. Yates and Company," acknowledging God as his partner and manager. He carried that practice into his business. In time, he became a multimillionaire.
Another young man, Oswald Chambers of Scotland, showed so much artistic promise that he was invited to study under Europe's greatest masters at age eighteen. But he declined the offer and enrolled in a little-known Bible school, where he eventually became a teacher. Later, he went to Egypt and ministered to the spiritual needs of British soldiers. Chambers died there when he was only in his forties, but he left to the world a rich legacy of devotional literature. Both men made doing God's will their prime objective; both achieved success.
Daniel began his career as a young captive in Babylon. Repeatedly he put his life on the line to remain faithful to the Lord. He refused to compromise, and God elevated him to a position of prominence. When we take that kind of attitude and accept whatever God has for us, we can be sure of success, no matter what form it takes. —H. V. Lugt (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
Oswald Chambers of Scotland showed so much artistic promise that he was invited to study under Europe's greatest masters at age eighteen. But he declined the offer and enrolled in a little-known Bible school, where he eventually became a teacher.
Later, he went to Egypt and ministered to the spiritual needs of British soldiers. Chambers died there when he was only in his forties, but he left to the world a rich legacy of devotional literature.
Daniel began his career as a young captive in Babylon. Repeatedly he put his life on the line to remain faithful to the Lord. He refused to compromise, and God elevated him to a position of prominence. Both men made doing God's will their prime objective; both achieved success. —H V Lugt (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
Outside God's will is no true success
In God's will, no failure.
Let's summarize what "integrity" looks like in Daniel 6 (some of these characteristics overlap)..
(1) Da 6:2 - Integrity perseveres - It's not "on" one day and "off" the next. Age 80+ and still running the race with endurance (Heb 12:1-note). Even as Daniel 3x/day set his face toward Jerusalem, the City of God (while living in Babylon, "the City of Man"), so too we are to run the race with endurance fixing our eyes on Jesus, the Author and Perfector of our faith (Heb 12:2-note). And we look back and are encouraged by the faith of the "great cloud of witnesses" in Hebrews 11, especially the example of Daniel who "by faith… shut the mouth of lions" (Hebrews 11:33-note). "The equipment and enablement God gives to His devoted servants always wear well for a complete lifetime." (Lehman Strauss)
(2) Da 6:3 - Extraordinary spirit ~ excellent attitude, an attitude that pervades everything we do. Integrity pursues excellence in all it does, whether someone is watching or not, whether anyone on this earth every knows or not. Men of integrity are God-pleasers not man-pleasers. Proverbs 15:3 says God's eyes are everywhere watching the evil and the good so God always knows and He will reward us for our labors performed with integrity at the Judgment Seat of Christ (2Co 5:10-note).
(3) Da 6:4 Faithful = Trustworthy, Reliable. Integrity can always be counted on to follow through. Our words don't "outrun" our actions. Integrity practices what it preaches!
(4) Da 6:4 No negligence - Integrity seeks to avoid "sins of omission"
(5) Da 6:4 No corruption - Integrity seeks to avoid "sins of commission". Integrity by grace through faith assiduously guards the eyes (see Ps 101:3) and the heart (see Pr 4:23-note) so that the well spring of our life (our heart) might not be contaminated and we might not experience moral decay and corruption which can be very subtle and very deceptive. We don't even know we are "decaying" morally. On the other hand James says we are practicing "pure and undefiled religion" when we keep ourselves "unstained by the world" (James 1:27-note)
(6) Da 6:5 No "accusability" - The NT version of this aspect of integrity is "above reproach" (Titus 1:6-note The man of integrity lives a "blameless" life, like Job who was "blameless (Hebrew word "tam" = basic meaning = being complete ~ integrity), upright (righteous), fearing God and turning away from evil" (Job 1:1)
(7) Da 6:10 Consistent, prevailing, prioritized prayer life - "As he had been doing previously." The man of integrity makes persistent prayer a priority not matter how busy he is with the everyday affairs of the world!
(8) Da 6:10 No compromise because of firm conviction - The man of integrity obeys God before he obeys men. Daniel prayed even though he knew the law against prayer had been signed by King Darius. We see this principle in Acts 5:28, 29
(9) Da 6:16, 20 Integrity exhibits a consistent Christian life - The witness of Daniel to the pagan king was that Daniel was a "servant of the Living God" - the God Who you (Daniel) "constantly served"
(10) Da 6:21, 22, 23 The man of integrity is fearless and bold - Notice that when Daniel speaks in Da 6:22, 23 he is still in the Lion's Den -- and yet he is speaking calmly to Darius without any suggestion of fear of the lions.
(11) Da 6:22 The man of Integrity has a clear conscience before God first and then before man. "I was found innocent before Him (GOD); and also toward you, O king (MAN), I have committed no crime." In his last letter shortly prior to his execution Paul wrote "I thank God, whom I serve with a clear conscience the way my forefathers (One wonders if he is not alluding to Daniel?) did" (2Ti 1:3-note, cp Ac 23:1 24:16)
A clear conscience is a primary benefit of integrity, and it enables one to stand firm when the storms of life come upon us. If your heart does not condemn you, but affirms you, you can be a tower of strength for "The man of integrity walks securely." (Pr 10:9) Hebrew for "securely" (see word study - betach) means safety, security, place of refuge; feeling of trust, assurance, without concern, confidence.
(12) Da 6:23 The man of integrity is a man of faith - He trusts in God. He walks by faith not sight - He glances at the Lions but he fixes his gaze on His Lord.
(13) Da 6:24 The man of integrity does not seek to avenge a wrong done - He trusts that God is His covenant Defender. Paul alludes to this in Ro 12:19-note
(15) Da 6:28 The man of integrity will experience "success" - In this present life (sometimes he receives material success but always and more importantly he receives spiritual success) and in the life to come (Da 12:13). Integrity is inseparable from fruitful Christian ministry.