Summary: The story of Daniel in the lions’ den has to rank in the top ten of the most familiar and beloved passages of scripture.
The story of Daniel in the lions’ den has to rank, I would imagine, in the top ten of the most familiar and beloved passages of scripture. Daniel, was brought as a teenager-captive, to Babylon. At the setting of this text Daniel is nearly 90 years old. A whole lot of changes have taken places. They have changed his name. They have changed his language. They’ve changed his homeland. However, they could not change his heart. With all of the changes that have taken place, Daniel is the same man at 90 that he was at 19. For when we read the book of Daniel, we read that Daniel honored God. And because he honored God, God exalted Daniel; even in the midst of captivity.
Daniel chapter 6 says that King Darius has placed a 120 princes over the providence of Babylon. He has made three men president over all the princes. And one of the three was the prophet, Daniel. Fact about it, the Bible says that he was preferred over the other two presidents. And the king had given thought to placing Daniel over all of the others. In the midst of that, those other princes and presidents began to look at Daniel with eyes of envy. And they thought to try and find some fault in Daniel as it related to the kingdom. But they could find nothing faultful in Daniel as it related to the kingdom. And they decided that if we’re going to find some fault in Daniel...if there is anything that we’re going to be able to get after him about, it must be concerning the law of his God. Are you praying with me? For as obedient and as loyal as Daniel is to the king and the kingdom of Babylon, we know, that he is even more loyal to the god that he serves!
They conspired together and they come up with this plan and they go to the king and they say to the king, “For the next 30 days, king we want you to sign a decree, that no one shall pray to any other god nor man except you. And if anyone is found praying to any other god or man except you for the next 30 days, let that man be thrown to a den of lions.” The king liked the sound of that, sounded pretty good to him. The decree was written and the king signed it and it was put into effect. And the word says, “Daniel, knowing that the decree had been signed, when into his house, went up into his chamber, opened his window towards Jerusalem kneeled down and prayed three times a day. Business as usual.
Let me say a few things and then I’ll let you go. First let me say something about Daniel’s Difficulties. Daniel, after he had been promoted by King Darius, it was not long afterwards that envy reared it’s ugly head. And envy is a terrible thing. Jealousy is a terrible thing. Someone once said that envy is the tribute that failure pays to success. Most of the times we become envious and jealous of other people because their success has a way exposing our own failure. But have you ever thought about it? Whenever you are jealous about what God has blessed and given to someone else; literally what you are saying is that what you are saying to God is that I am not satisfied with what You have done in my life. But you see, you need to learn how to grow where you have been planted and bloom where you have been placed. That is the marvelous witness and power you posse.
Their plan had been put into motion. Not because there was a flaw in Daniel but rather because there was a flaw in King Darius. And the flaw in the king was his pride. Not only is envy a terrible thing but so is pride. Pride will destroy you. There was a television show back in the 50s called Queen for a Day. What these men were saying to the king is that you need to god for a month. And the king liked the sound of that and he signed the decree. Notice that they are envious and jealous of Daniel because he had been promoted. They could find no fault in Daniel as it relates to his job and his performance on the job. And they decide that if we are going to get at Daniel, we must get after him concerning the law and his god. Notice the method to the madness of these men. There problem with Daniel is a personality conflict. But they camouflage it and make it appear on the surface to be religious. And after all these years, little has changed. Because we have a way of spiritualizing our evil. Amen walls!