Daniel chapter 6 closes the narrative of one of the most distinguished men in Old Testament scriptures. Daniel had the courage as a teen to stand up for God’s law, even when it could cost him his life (see here). Daniel had the wisdom as a young man to approach a furious king and interpret his dream, thereby saving his own life and the lives of the king’s wise men (see here). Daniel had the leadership as a middle-aged man to encourage his friends to bow only to God, regardless of the consequences (see here). Daniel had the kindness as an older man to counsel the king to turn from his pride (see here). Daniel had the boldness as an old man to rebuke a wicked king, telling him that his destruction was coming (see here).
Now, in the last chapter of his life, Daniel was once again pressed into service for the king. The new king, Darius, set up new leaders over the country with Daniel in charge. Instead of finishing his days in peace, Daniel faced the resentment and jealousy of colleagues who are angry that an outsider was promoted above them.
Don’t miss an important point in this chapter – very little of the action was by Daniel. There was no dramatic show of wisdom nor dream interpretation in Daniel 6. Daniel simply remained faithful to God through the chaos of his world.
This aspect about Daniel is what makes this passage especially encouraging. Daniel faced intrigue, politics, lies, and laws that challenged his fundamental beliefs. Yet through it all, he simply followed God. Constantly. Faithfully.
Daniel’s rivals scoured through his long history to find any “dirt” on him, yet his record was clean. They ended up resorting to a religious law which required everyone to pray only to the king for 30 days. The flattered king signed it into law, with no idea that he had just set the trap for Daniel.
Daniel responded to the anti-prayer law by going to prayer. Daniel would not allow his relationship with God to be blocked by the laws of men. This relationship was the basis for Daniel’s entire life.
Daniel’s prayer served as sufficient ammunition for his enemies, who had Daniel arrested at once. The penalty was to be eaten by hungry lions. The king himself tried to save Daniel, but the law was clear.
Note that Daniel did not speak in his own defense. He was ready to die.
The execution was carried out. Daniel was taken at sunset and put into the cave of hungry lions. The door was closed and sealed, and everyone went off to bed.
The king could not sleep that night and hurried to the cave in the morning. Daniel claimed to serve a very powerful God, but could this God save Daniel? The king was anxious to know if it was possible!
Somewhere, from inside the cave came the voice of an old man. God had sent an angel to stop the lions because Daniel was blameless. The king joyfully brought out Daniel and ordered his accusers to be executed in his place.
The passage concludes with an edict from the king. All people everywhere are to tremble in fear before the God of Daniel. He is the living God! His kingdom endures forever and he acts to save those who truly worship Him!
God will save all who trust Him, although the rescue may not be as dramatic as Daniel.
God can send an angel to save us like he did for Daniel, or like he did for Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego (see here).
God may also save us through His providence, where He causes circumstances to come together for our rescue. This was the case of Joseph and his brothers, when God put Joseph in in Egypt during the famine (see Genesis 45:5-8). This was also Ezra’s belief when he refused the king’s protection for the return back to Jerusalem (see Ezra 8:21-23).
God may also save us through death. God’s plan is not always to rescue everyone at once; some will only be rescued when they see God face to face. This was the thought of the writer of Hebrews when he spoke of the martyrs for the faith in Hebrews 11:35-38. They are described as, “of whom the world was not worthy”.
Lessons from Daniel’s Example
- Don’t compromise when it is under your control. (Daniel 1)
- Be gracious to those over you, even in the face of hostility. (Daniel 1 and Daniel 2).
- Take opportunities to use your gifts from God. (Daniel 2)
- Don’t break God’s law – even when the consequences are terrible. (Daniel 3)
- Answer with care and sensitivity. (Daniel 4)
- Answer directly and truthfully. (Daniel 5)
- Don’t compromise your walk with God, even under intense pressure. (Daniel 6)
- You cannot control the attitudes are the actions of others, but you can remain faithful to the Most High God. (Daniel 1–6)
- God is totally capable of defending himself. You don’t have to fight His battles!
- Keep an attitude of thankfulness and prayer, regardless of the circumstances. (Daniel 6)
- God can use you in all stages of your life. He used Daniel as a teen, a young man, in his middle age, and as an old man.
- The Most High God transcends kings and kingdoms. He kept Daniel through all of the Babylonian kings and into the Persian empire.
- Never lose focus on what is most important! (Daniel 1)
- God’s law is more important than the laws of men. (Daniel 6)
- True faith is when you commit to obeying God – even if he does not save you! (Daniel 3)
What Daniel teaches us about God
- He honors those who are faithful to Him (Daniel 1)
- He is greater than any kingdoms or empires of mankind. (Daniel 2)
- His kingdom endures forever! (Daniel 2 and 6)
- National disasters do not take God by surprise. (Daniel 2)
- He sets up and takes down rulers of men. (Daniel 4 and Daniel 5)
- All power of mankind, even the greatest of kings, is on loan from God. (Daniel 4 and Daniel 5)
- Personal pride is abhorrent to the Most High God. (Daniel 4)
- The Most High God holds our very breath in his hands! (Daniel 5)
- He is to be respected and feared! (Daniel 6)
- Nothing is impossible with God!
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