Summary: This sermon basically is a running commentary on a Reformation Sunday talking about how God delivered Daniel through faith.
October 30, 2005 Daniel 6:10-12, 16-23 - Reformation Sermon
Daniel 6:10-12 Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published,
Daniel was one of three administrators under King Darius of the Medes and the Persians. The book of Daniel is unique because it takes place outside of the walls of Jerusalem or the borders of Jerusalem. There is no national Israel at this time - it had been destroyed and taken captive into Babylon. So Daniel made the best of the situation, as he used his God given gifts and was raised to one of the highest positions in the kingdom. He had the rare opportunity to rule over foreigners and conduct the affairs and laws of the country in as God pleasing a way as possible. He realized that he couldn’t try to enforce Jewish law and regulations on these foreigners - he didn’t try to establish a federally regulated prayer time or a governmentally regulated Jewish school system where the Torah could be taught. All he did was try to work within the system of the Medes and Persians in a God pleasing way.
This worked rather well for most of Daniel’s time in office. However, in Daniel chapter 6 he was caught up in a political ploy. The other administrators and satraps became jealous because Daniel was performing admirably well as an administrator, and he was about to be promoted to be the top administrator. The whole political scene was abuzz with the news of Daniel’s near promotion. Therefore, his competition decided to use the sword they had come to rely on in order to cut Daniel down to size - the sword of the government. They all concocted a cockamamy law that said, “anyone who prays to any god or man during the next thirty days, except to you, O king, shall be thrown into the lions’ den.” (Da 6:7) They probably dressed this up as some sort of nationalism or patriotism - that praying to the king or refraining from any other public prayer would be showing allegiance to the king. In eastern countries prayer is much more visible - people will bow down in the middle of a room and start bowing to the Mecca five times a day. Jews also aren’t afraid to pray visibly in public. It’s much different from here where we afraid to say a table prayer too loud so that someone will hear us in a restaurant.
Today’s text says that “Daniel learned the decree had been published.” The other administrators lied to the king and made it sound like all of the governors, satraps and administrators were in agreement with this. Daniel obviously didn’t know anything about it. He hadn’t even heard about it until it was too late.
Martin Luther grew up in a world that enforced laws restricting the practice of a truly godly religion. Anyone who disagreed with the Catholic Church could be forced by the government to be burned at the stake as a heretic - for doing nothing more than proclaiming that you are saved by faith alone. The Pope and the Catholic Church were so influential in government that they could influence elections and force princes to allow the sales of indulgences in their lands - which basically pillaged their own people and brought the money back to Rome. Nobody could do anything about it!
This still happens in today’s world. I heard recently that a law was going through a court that would end up outlawing all worship services from the television airwaves. The Roe vs. Wade decision way back in the 1970’s caught the Christian community off guard and ended up demanding that states allow abortion. Just recently Topeka allowed a play to be held at the TPAC which was conducted in the nude. According to what I heard on the radio, nobody could do anything because there is no law outlawing such plays unless they are done in a sexually suggestive manner. There is no law against public nudity, in other words, it sounded to me. It is the duty of Christians who live in their society to pray for their leaders to make proper and God pleasing decisions and to take part in the voting process so that bad laws - like the one Daniel had to face - don’t get passed - and good laws do. I wonder how many more people vote for the American Idol than they do for the President of the United States! Then we complain when bad laws get passed and criminals get away with murder? Daniel was innocent of sin in this regard because they maliciously made this law behind closed doors. Many laws in our country are not - and yet we sit by and do nothing.
he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before.