The Book of Daniel, Daniel, Standing By a Purpose True, Daniel 6:10-15 - Lesson 26
To whom do you go for help?
In our country many seek help from our government as we have seen this week concerning the financial institutions that were destined to go under lest Uncle Sam come to their rescue.
I heard no call for prayer in the halls of congress, nor the markets of Wall Street.
But I did hear calls for Uncle Sam to come to the rescue.
We may say "In God We Trust", but our actions say: "In Uncle Sam we trust."
We learned last week as we began our study of chapter six of Daniel that Darius the king was persuaded by corrupt men to point all in his kingdom to himself as the great provider.
For thirty days, to prove his point, men and women, boys and girls were not to ask a petition of any God or man, save the king.
By requiring all men, women, boys and girls to make their petitions to Darius, they would acknowledge him as the source of their every blessing.
The corrupt men were not interested in enhancing the kingís position or status but under cover of this edict were attempting to enhance their own position.
But there was a man named Daniel who stood in the way for he had shown himself to the king, to be a man of excellent spirit and because of this excellent spirit had been chosen to be over the whole realm of Darius.
However, to corrupt men, this selection was anathema to their plans to reap the spoils of their position.
They certainly did not need a man of integrity, a man of honesty who would serve the king and not himself.
So playing upon the kingís ego they conspired to have a law passed which would trap Daniel and get him thrown into a pit of lions and therefore out of their way.
However they forgot, as most evil men do, the law of unintended consequences and we will soon see as we travel though this chapter, the carrying out of that law, in their direction as they end up in the embrace of the lionís mouth.
They were to find out that it is a dangerous activity to oppose those who serve the living God, those who trust in Him for help.
Daniel 6:10-15, Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime. Then these men assembled, and found Daniel praying and making supplication before his God. Then they came near, and spake before the king concerning the kingís decree; Hast thou not signed a decree, that every man that shall ask a petition of any God or man within thirty days, save of thee, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions? The king answered and said, The thing is true, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not. Then answered they and said before the king, That Daniel, which is of the children of the captivity of Judah, regardeth not thee, O king, nor the decree that thou hast signed, but maketh his petition three times a day. Then the king, when he heard these words, was sore displeased with himself, and set his heart on Daniel to deliver him: and he laboured till the going down of the sun to deliver him. Then these men assembled unto the king, and said unto the king, Know, O king, that the law of the Medes and Persians is, That no decree nor statute which the king establisheth may be changed.
So the dye is cast. The dice have left the hand and there is no controlling the outcome.
There is no going back for the law of the Medes and the Persians cannot be changed.
The corrupt men think this, but they discount the help that the God of Daniel will bring.
We see in this passage the reaction of Daniel and that reaction is to continue his pattern of life without disruption.
There is no agony of thought or sense of dilemma on his part.
There is no focus group assembled to consider the options.
He does not obey the law,
he does not appeal to the king to repeal the law,
he does not stop making petitions for thirty days,
he does not even limit himself to giving thanks or praise, while setting aside his requests of God for one month nor does he chose to hide in prayer.
The three Hebrew children who were about to be burned alive by king Nebuchadnezzar were of the same mind as Daniel when they told the king that they were not careful to answer.
They did not deliberate what they would do for they knew to obey God rather than man.
Daniel was of this character for when he knew the law was enacted he was not careful in his actions for he simply went about his business of prayerful petitions as he had done aforetime.
This is a mark of strong character.
The Word of God is implanted in such a way that carefulness does not have to be exercised in decision making.
There are no options which will allow disobedience to the Word of God.
The Christian does not have to mull over whether it is Godís will to not do what God says to do.
Most times it is clear what Godís will is but instead of obeying Godís will we mull, pray and procrastinate thinking that such delay is a holy activity.
But this is where character comes into play.
Daniel was a man of character and he simply went about his normal activity and bowed before the Most High God and asked for help as he did aforetime.
His petitions were daily needs and delay would hinder his service to God.
He recognized not that benefits were to come from any source other than God and he knew that the law of Darius was intruding into Godís realm.
If Daniel stopped or altered his praying, Daniel would have sinned against God.
He would have broken Godís law in order to obey manís laws.
It was Danielís habit to bow in prayer three times daily in the direction of Jerusalem and this habit was publicly known.
He was following the instruction that Solomon had given long ago in I Kings 8:46-48 which in essence told captives or exiles to pray unto God toward their land which was given unto their fathers, unto the city which God had chosen, and the house which God had built for His name.
So because of this long standing habit the corrupt men knew their plan would work.
If Daniel was involved in secret prayer they would not have been successful.
But even if Danielís habits were otherwise he would have prayed in such a way as to bring him notice from these corrupt men.
He had to publicly violate that law.
It may come to that for the Christians of America as various hate crime legislation comes into being.
Christians of character will go about the Lordís business as aforetimes without being careful to offend the authorities lest they offend their God.
Donít you suppose that the very prayers of Daniel that these corrupt men wished to destroy him with, were prayers for blessings upon this nation of exile and also those who were given authority to govern.
Daniel consistently prayed toward Jerusalem three times a day for the more than seventy years of his exile in Babylon and Iím sure that his prayers were offered even for the benefit of those who sought his death.
There was no question in Danielís mind for he well knew from where his help was to come.
He well knew: Psalm 121:1,2, I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth.
There is no mediator in this Psalm.
Darius, by his law assumed the position of mediator between all gods and men.
Daniel knew that the God of Israel is God alone and those who would be blessed will be blessed through His people Israel.
Blessings would come though the prayers of His people through the place of His blessing, Jerusalem.
Daniel was obedient in his prayer life extending even to the direction in which he prayed for he knew that Jerusalem was Godís dwelling place.
Even to change his direction of prayer to the direction of the king would have been a great act of disobedience to Daniel.
So therefore Daniel took no care for he had no other choice then to defy such a law.
His prayer life was so consistent his enemies knew they could count on quickly finding him in a law breaking position.
Each day they had three opportunities to find him praying so they could pick the time most convenient to them to catch him in prayer.
Upon witnessing this act of defiance they returned to the king with the news.
But the news waited for the preamble.
They needed to set the king up before presenting the accusation.
It was going to be a gotcha moment.
The preamble was: Hast thou not signed a decree, that every man that shall ask a petition of any God or man within thirty days, save of thee, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions?
And perhaps one of them chimed in: "Certainly you remember this law do you not, and that the 30 day period has started and being good administrators we have been on patrol."
The king answered and said, The thing is true, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not.
The set up is accomplished and now the ax is to fall, in their minds, hopefully upon the neck of Daniel.
Then answered they and said before the king, That Daniel, which is of the children of the captivity of Judah, regardeth not thee, O king, nor the decree that thou hast signed, but maketh his petition three times a day.
The king was shocked when Daniel, his favorite, was announced to be the first offender and most likely the only offender.
The charge is one of continually violating the kingís law.
Not a one time offense but continual offences, three times a day offenses.
Daniel is accused of complete disregard for the king and his authority and there is no remedy short of carrying out the edict of the law, a date in the den with the lions.
Then the king, when he heard these words, was sore displeased with himself, and set his heart on Daniel to deliver him: and he laboured till the going down of the sun to deliver him. Then these men assembled unto the king, and said unto the king, Know, O king, that the law of the Medes and Persians is, That no decree nor statute which the king establisheth may be changed.
We see here in the king, a true regard for his servant Daniel.
This was not the case with Nebuchadnezzar and the three Hebrew children for when he heard of their disobedience his fury was hot and he was fully intent upon putting them to death.
But Darius is different and knows that he had been had by his corrupt presidents and princes and his heart goes out to Daniel for he held him in high esteem.
Darius was greatly distressed and spent the remaining daylight hours trying to find a way to deliver Daniel from the lionís den.
There was to be no sympathy expressed upon the part of the conspirators for they quickly pressed the king, returning and reminding him that the irrevocable law of the Medes and Persians had to be upheld.
You are bound by the law you have signed and you now must exercise the punishment for those who defy it.
Here also the king had no choice but to do what the law required.