Daniel Chapter Six
This is the last chapter in the “historical” section of Daniel. In 539 BC Darius the Mede had captured Babylon. It would appear that Darius had some extensive awareness of Daniel and how he had cared for the kingdom of Babylon in the time of Nebuchadnezzar’s mental health dilemma. However it was that Darius had come in contact with Daniel he was impressed with excellent spirit and he wanted to set up Daniel over the 120 princes that he was going to run the kingdom through. Over the 120 princes Darius was going to have three presidents and Daniel was scheduled to be the chief of the three presidents and would report directly to Darius the king.
It appeared that the 120 princes and the 2 other presidents did not share the same desire to co-exist with Daniel and decided that they would look for an occasion against Daniel to show the king that Daniel would not be a good choice to be the leader of all these mighty men. But after a thorough investigative judgment they could not find anything against Daniel because he was faithful and had no errors or faults. That is a pretty impressive statement to make about someone you don’t even like. This reveals that Daniel was a thorough business man and was precise in all of his activities and tolerated no error in himself.
After their study of Daniel they decided that the only way to provoke an issue against Daniel was to use something about the laws of Daniel’s God against him. So the wise men decided that the best way to attack Daniel was to get the king to sign a death decree about the worship of something that the law of Daniel’s God would prohibit. They came up with a plan to get King Darius to sign a death decree regarding praying to any God, or anything, other than King Darius, for 30 days. These men knew that Daniel would not pray to King Darius and would thus violate the law that they would have the king sign and then they would be rid of Daniel once and for all.
This death decree was similar to the one established by Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel chapter three, where anyone who did not fall down and worship the golden statue that Nebuchadnezzar had built would be cast into a burning furnace. This death decree is also similar to the situation between Haman and Mordecai in the book of Esther in Esther three. Haman wanted all of the king’s servants to bow down to him and reverence him and Mordecai would not do it. As a punishment to Mordecai, Haman talked the king into a death decree for all of Mordecai’s people. This set the stage for a great deliverance for God’s people and a chance to reveal the hand of, and the power of God, just as He had done in delivering the three Hebrews in Daniel three.
After getting King Darius to sign the worship decree into law, the information about this law arrived at the desk of Daniel. Daniel knew that to pray to God would endanger his life, and yet at the same time he knew that he needed to power of God to watch over him more now than ever in his life. So he went to his house, and opened the windows of his house and prayed to God as he had always done. The presidents and princes of the kingdom were waiting for Daniel to be his consistent self and had plenty of witnesses ready to testify that Daniel had indeed violated the law of Darius while supporting the law of God.
When the presidents and princes had their data in order they immediately went to the king to verify the validity of the law and the fact that this law could not be broken once signed by the king. King Darius freely validated the facts of the situation that anyone who prayed to any God, or asked a petition from any man within a thirty day span, should be cast into a den of lion according to the law of Darius. Once they had confirmed the law again the presidents and princes announced that Daniel, the man of the captivity of Judah had indeed violated the law by praying to His God three times a day, and should receive the punishment required by the law.
When Darius heard this information he immediately understood what had happened to him, and to Daniel, and he sought any and all ways to change the law to deliver Daniel, but to no avail. The presidents and princes reminded Darius that not even the king could change the law. Finally Darius surrendered to the facts at hand and commanded that they take Daniel to the lion’s den and cast him into it. On the way the king testified that Daniel’s God would deliver him from the lions.
When the soldiers took Daniel to the den of lions, they cast him in and then placed a stone on the mouth of the den and sealed it by the king’s own hand so that there could be no change concerning Daniel. In many ways this event is similar to the death of Jesus. The people placed Jesus in the tomb and then asked Pilate to make the tomb secure so that Jesus could not be taken out of the tomb. Matthew 27:62-66. See also Joseph being cast into a pit under the heading of dying. Genesis 37:17-24 Daniel was in figure cast into the pit to die in accordance with the natural laws of being killed and eaten by lions. Only God could intervene to bring deliverance to Daniel, for even the king could not change the sentence. This is the essence of the gospel story – by obedience to God if one is placed in an impossible situation God can and will deliver you if it will glorify His name and will be a help to the individual. So God does not always deliver but He is always there to help, comfort, and encourage.
After delivering Daniel to the lion’s den, Darius must have spent the most agonizing night of his life. He could not sleep and was thinking of this situation all night long. At the first rays of the sun, when the law technically said morning had arrived, Darius made his way to the lion’s den and cried out with a lamentable voice to Daniel saying the beautiful gospel question “O Daniel, servant of the living God, is thy God, whom thou servest continually, able to deliver thee from the lions? This lamentable cry is the cry of all mankind. Is our God whom we serve continually able to deliver us from the crises of life, or is it all a pretend situation – we talk much about God’s power but He doesn’t do anything and displays no power for the deliverance of His people. Can you hear Darius’ anxiety and pain? What will God do? Was He able to save His precious servant?
When Daniel heard the king call He answered him and said “O king, live for ever. My God hath sent His angel, and hath shut the lion’s mouths, that they have not hurt me: forasmuch as before him innocency was found in me; and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt.” Daniel 6:22 Immediately the king commanded and they took him out of the pit. They then examined Daniel and found no manner of hurt upon him because he believed in his God. Daniel 6:23. This is our defense and strength as well. We are delivered because we believe in the one true God Jehovah/Jesus of Nazareth.
Then the king remembered how this situation had been set up by the princes and presidents. He called for the soldiers to bring the men who had accused Daniel and to cast them into the lion’s den. He also cast their wives and children into the den as well. Then the next great question was settled – where the lions hungry or had Darius sedated them someway so that they would not hurt Daniel. The Bible answers this question with sudden and severe clarity – before the people even hit the bottom of the den the lions had them and broke their bones in pieces. So it was now clear that the lions were hungry and they were ready, and it was the power of God alone that saved Daniel.
Then Darius, sent out his version of the first of the three angels messages of Revelation 14:6, he wrote unto all people, nations, and languages in all of the Earth. Darius wanted all of his people to know that he, the king of the greatest nation on the Earth was declaring that men must tremble and fear before the God of Daniel, for this God is the living God and this God is steadfast for His people and His kingdom will not be destroyed (a reference to the kingdoms seen in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream in Daniel 2) and His kingdom will last even unto the end.
Darius then testifies again to the power of God and declared that Daniel’s God delivers His people, and rescues them. That God works signs and wonders in heaven and in Earth for the benefit of His people. Darius testifies to this because God delivered Daniel from the power of the lions. Daniel is then entrusted with his responsibilities again and he prospered in the reign of Darius and he even continues in his position unto the reign of Cyrus the Persian spoken of in Isaiah 44:27-45:13.
In conclusion, God used the experience of Daniel to preach the gospel to the entire world. Over and over again in the book of Daniel the surprised kings testify that the power of God real and that all men should bow before the God of Israel. Jesus delights to reveal His power in behalf of His people. He wants His children to trust that He always has their best interests at heart.
No matter what situation we are in we must always trust in His power to save, just as Daniel did. If we will do as Daniel did then God will proclaim throughout the entire world, His power to deliver. We will see this in the end when the death decree of Revelation 13:14-18 is sent out by the most powerful coalition of nations, that the world has ever seen. But just as Daniel was delivered from the lion’s den so God’s people will be delivered in the end.
God will have a people who believe in His power to save in each and every situation. Just as He did for Daniel, just as He did for the three Hebrew worthies, so God has promised to deliver His people in the end. As surely as Daniel was delivered God uses that story to give us assurance that we to will be delivered. Let us hold on to the promises of this story in our walk with God.