Summary: In this message, looking at the Bible character Daniel, we will learn some tactics that the enemy will use to discredit the people of God; and we will learn how to withstand these attacks.
In our second message from this series, I mentioned how when we live according to biblical principles, working “as to the Lord and not to men” (Colossians 3:23), that we will receive God’s favor and be promoted to a place of prominence. I also cautioned that those who are favored by God are hated by the world; and that you must never let your guard down, because the Enemy will always be watching and waiting for the first opportunity to strike. In our message today, as we look at the character Daniel, we will learn some more tactics that the enemy will use to discredit the Lord’s people; and we will learn how to withstand these attacks, which will often result in deliverance and God’s glory.
Some Government Officials Fear God (vv. 1-4)
1 It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom one hundred and twenty satraps, to be over the whole kingdom; 2 and over these, three governors, of whom Daniel was one, that the satraps might give account to them, so that the king would suffer no loss. 3 Then this Daniel distinguished himself above the governors and satraps, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king gave thought to setting him over the whole realm. 4 So the governors and satraps sought to find some charge against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find no charge or fault, because he was faithful; nor was there any error or fault found in him.
We read here of King Darius who promoted Daniel. So how did Darius, who was a Mede from the Persian Empire, ever become the king of Babylon? The reason how this happened is the Babylonian king Belshazzar had profaned and disrespected the Lord, even though he knew the fate that had befallen his father Nebuchadnezzar. The Lord debased Nebuchadnezzar because of his pride and arrogance. He was knocked down, and “deposed from his kingly throne” (Daniel 5:20). When Belshazzar refused to heed the warning and respect the Lord, he was judged and sentenced by God; and the Scripture records: “That very night Belshazzar, king of the Chaldeans, was slain. And Darius the Mede received the kingdom, being about sixty-two years old” (Daniel 5:30-31).
Now, the identity of Darius the Mede is a matter of debate because of some dating discrepancies. There have been attempts to identify him with King Cyrus (Donald Wiseman, 1957). History records that “Cyrus the Great was the king who took over the Babylonian Empire. Cyrus was also married to a Mede, and had a Median mother.” The book of Nehemiah points to Cyrus as the first Persian king over Babylon; and Nehemiah also identifies him as the king who issued a decree allowing the Jews to return home and begin rebuilding the Jerusalem temple (Ezra 1:1-3). We can easily get caught up in debating the identity of Darius the Mede, and miss the message that the Lord wants us to grasp.
Darius appointed Daniel as one of three governors over the entire kingdom. I stated in our last sermon that if we serve as faithful messengers of the Lord, speaking out against sin and being a bold witness for truth and justice, that God will see to it that we are promoted. Those of us who are good stewards with the task set before us, no matter what the size or level of difficulty, we will be given more. For example, in Luke 19:17, Jesus declared, “Well done, good servant; because you were faithful in a very little, have authority over ten cities.” In our main passage, we also read that Daniel was selected to assume great responsibility because he was noted as a man of integrity, and one who had “an excellent spirit . . . in him” (v. 3).