1. Lesson One of the Book of Daniel, Introduction to the Book of Daniel

The Book of Daniel, Daniel Obeys God Rather Than Men, Daniel 6:1-9 - Lesson 25

 

In the book of Acts, chapter 5, Peter the Apostle, chose to disobey the council of Jerusalem when they commanded him to not teach in the name of Jesus Christ.

 

These familiar words from the lips of Peter, "We ought to obey God rather than men" are part of the Christian vocabulary and tell us that God decides what part man is to have while keeping for himself that which he desires.

There is that which God orders and there is that which God determines for man to order.

Man is not to intrude into Godís realm when it comes to that which God retains for Himself.

Our Lord made this very clear when he told us to "Render to Caesar the things that are Caesarís, and to God the things that are Godís."

The things that are Godís are well defined in His word and if we are to know this division between God and man then we must know Godís word.

Daniel, in chapter six knows the principle of proper rendering very well for he puts his life on the line in order to not be complicit in any intrusion into Godís realm.

He did this early on in his exile when he purposed in his heart not to defile himself in obedience to Godís law.

He purposed to not eat of the kingís meat lest he offend God.

He knew the limits that had been placed upon men, even to the limits that had been placed upon mighty kings and he walked with integrity within those limits.

The setting of chapter six is in Babylon where we are witness to the formulation of a new government under the king who has replaced Belshazzar, whom he has killed, a 62 year old king named Darius, the Median.

Daniel at this time has served several kings, Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar being mentioned in the book, however history shows us several other kings had also been ruling up to this time of Danielís exile.

It is an amazing thing to see the life of Daniel unfold, from rule thru rule even though some rule was overthrown by violence and force.

By the grace of God, Daniel transcended kings and rose above loyalty to particular men by continually being loyal to his God, the God of Israel.

He chose to obey God rather than men and because of this was given long opportunity to serve men.

The lesson here is to not attach yourself to the fallible but to the infallible.

Attach yourself to that which is eternal, not to the temporal.

The scriptures are clear to not lean to the right nor to the left but judge righteous judgment.

Do not attach yourself to the right nor to the left for when the right or the left fall you will fall with it.

Daniel was only partial to God and judged righteously without partisanship and was able to serve from king to king.

Now lets turn to: Daniel 6:1-9,  It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom an hundred and twenty princes, which should be over the whole kingdom; And over these three presidents; of whom Daniel was first: that the princes might give accounts unto them, and the king should have no damage.  Then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king thought to set him over the whole realm.  Then the presidents and princes sought to find occasion against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find none occasion nor fault; forasmuch as he was faithful, neither was there any error or fault found in him.  Then said these men, We shall not find any occasion against this Daniel, except we find it against him concerning the law of his God.  Then these presidents and princes assembled together to the king, and said thus unto him, King Darius, live for ever.  All the presidents of the kingdom, the governors, and the princes, the counsellors, and the captains, have consulted together to establish a royal statute, and to make a firm decree, that whosoever shall ask a petition of any God or man for thirty days, save of thee, O king, he shall be cast into the den of lions.  Now, O king, establish the decree, and sign the writing, that it be not changed, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not.  Wherefore king Darius signed the writing and the decree.

The head of gold, the kingdom of Nebuchadnezzar, is gone and we are now in the "breast and arms of silver" era of the great statue dream of King Nebuchadnezzar.

Darius the Median has assumed the throne by force and Babylon is now within the realm of the Medes and Persians.

This new kingdom is the largest kingdom to that date in history.

The Persian empire, which incorporated that of the Medes was a vast area forming an arc to the north of the Babylonian territories, extending to Asia Minor, Libya and Egypt to the west, and to the Indus river of Pakistan, and the Aral Sea to the east.

It was the largest empire the world had yet seen, so it would not be unexpected for a king to appoint so many princes and presidents to rule this vast area at his behest.

In a kingdom so vast there was much room for corruption and personal enhancement unless ruled with a firm hand, so Darius appointed 120 princes, each assigned to a certain geographical area, with 3 presidents over the princes.

Perhaps each president had under him 40 princes which was apparently a manageable quantity.

In doing this he created a system of accountability which Darius could manage, having only three men to report to him directly.

We do not know what position Daniel occupied in the days of Belshazzar, however we do know that Daniel, in the days of Nebuchadnezzar was made ruler over the whole province of Babylon, and was chief of the governors over all the wise men of Babylon.

It was not abnormal for a new ruler to take from the former kingdom men in whom was knowledge and ability to rule in the new kingdom.

Daniel was such a man and by the passage we have just read in Chapter six, his testimony was so outstanding as to put him to the head of the line in the estimation of Darius.

Then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king thought to set him over the whole realm.

Danielís past service to the Babylonian kings was no doubt known to Darius however in each place of service a person cannot rest on past laurels, honors, or awards to keep his new position.

These only may gain you entrance into the position but only new accomplishments will keep you there.

Danielís past got him attention but his present soon drew the notice of the king and he began distinguishing himself among his peers because of the excellent spirit that was in him.

It is apparent by this statement that Darius saw the wisdom that Daniel possessed, but he also saw in Daniel a man of integrity, faithfulness and honesty.

Danielís past recommended him to Darius but as time passed Darius himself saw in Daniel those qualities that were necessary to assume such a high position of leadership that the king intended and therefore the king thought to set him over the whole realm.

However this attention to Daniel by Darius was not received well by those he would command for we are told they found occasion against him.

Last week I heard that 30 representatives of the opposing party went up to Alaska to find occasion against the Governor of Alaska who is now the nominee for Vice President.

They apparently do not like Sara Palinís excellent spirit and desire to dig up some dirt to extinguish that excellent spirit.

They are, among other things, looking into her Christian beliefs to find something that will turn voters against her, some belief which they can ridicule.

This is nothing new for this is the only thing that the presidents and princes of Danielís day could come up with to find fault in Daniel for after extensive study there was neither error or fault found in him.

Then the presidents and princes sought to find occasion against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find none occasion nor fault; forasmuch as he was faithful, neither was there any error or fault found in him.  Then said these men, We shall not find any occasion against this Daniel, except we find it against him concerning the law of his God.

Here was a faithful man.

Here was a man who would be loyal to the king, a man who would not steal nor deceive the king.

Here was a man who could not be blackmailed for there was found no fault or error in him.

Daniel had been a model administrator and there was nothing in his past to use against him.

Being such a man he would not engage in corruption which the princes and presidents operated in as a way of life.

His ability may have threatened them but his honesty is something that was completely in the way of their progress, for he was incorruptible.

The idea of serving in such an important place of service without the spoils which go with such a position was anathema to them for this was a way of life.

In their minds it would be like cutting off the hands of a pickpocket!

To the corrupt leaders of the kingdom, Danielís ability and honesty seriously threatened their corruption.

They could neither corrupt Daniel nor deceive him.

If he were to rise above them, they could not continue.

But be not deceived.

The depraved mind will come up with a solution for they put their minds to work and indeed came up with a clever solution.

And that solution is to use Danielís godliness against him.

They cannot bring a charge against him for his character, or his ability.

There is no crack in his loyalty to the king.

All laws are obeyed unless they conflict with the law of his God.

Aha, they say that is where his weakness is!

Pass a law against his Godís law that he assuredly will not obey and the king will have to remove and destroy him.

The only fault to be found with Daniel is that he is too godly.

How would you like to have that charge against you?

This is the same charge that was laid against our Savior for He to was too godly for the depraved heart and the Jews could not imagine such a one ruling over them.

Now in order to do this they must deceive the king for Daniel is in good stead with him and the king will not knowingly do anything to harm this man in whom he places such trust.

They make a plan which in the kingís mind has the blessing of Daniel but in reality is simply a ploy to trap Daniel.

The appeal to the king of their plan plays to the kingís desire to consolidate his power and to unify his realm.

This is similar to the desire on Nebuchadnezzarís part wherein he erected the golden statue in an effort to unify the country around a new religion.

The new law is designed to bring all peoples of the kingdom to believe that all blessings are to flow from the central government, namely Darius.

It is to be for a thirty day period which will symbolically prove the point.

So a representative group comes before the king, pretending to represent all the princes and the presidents.

Then these presidents and princes assembled together to the king, and said thus unto him, King Darius, live for ever. All the presidents of the kingdom (Lie), the governors, and the princes, the counsellors, and the captains, have consulted together to establish a royal statute, and to make a firm decree, that whosoever shall ask a petition of any God or man for thirty days, save of thee, O king, he shall be cast into the den of lions. Now, O king, establish the decree, and sign the writing, that it be not changed, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not. Wherefore king Darius signed the writing and the decree.

Apparently this petition appealed to the king for he wished to have all of his diverse subjects united, for this, it seemed would help to establish him as the ruler from whom all blessings would flow.

This is understandable in the modern context wherein our presidential candidates also desire for us to see them as the one from whom all blessings flow.

Ergo, promises, promises, promises which are given to attract a following.

Donít go to the other candidate for I can outdo him in performance any day.

Elected officials wish to maintain their status and use the taxpayers money to gain favor with the taxpayer.

In the case of Darius, he is saying donít go to the gods for I am now in charge, come to me with your prayer requests and see what I can do!

By requiring all men to make their petitions to Darius, they would acknowledge him as the source of their every blessing.

As in all the laws of the Medes and the Persians it could not be revoked and therefore when the king found out that it was a trap for Daniel he could not annul the law in his favor.

But Daniel, as we shall see, knows that all blessings come from above and he will not acknowledge otherwise by a change in his prayer life.