Summary: People are watching you. But so is God.
DANIEL 6: LESSONS FROM THE LION’S DEN
Do you realize that you are being watched? Now more than ever, all of us are being watched, more than we realize. There are security cameras in most stores that you shop in, and as you shop, people are watching you. Certain intersections have cameras that take pictures of people going through red lights. There are cameras at toll booths. Credit card companies are watching what you buy. Phone companies are watching whom you are calling and who’s calling you. And you will never know how closely you are being watched as you surf the internet.
Today, we are going to be looking at a man who was being watched – Daniel. Daniel was dedicated to serving God, and as he served God faithfully and openly in his life, he was being watched. Toward the end of his life, Daniel ended up in a lion’s den. There are many lessons we can learn from Daniel and the lion’s den, and today we are going to look at two. Lesson 1, is that, as you serve God openly in your life, other people will be watching. And lesson 2, is that, as you serve God openly in your life, God, also, will be watching.
Today, as we will do from time to time this summer, we are taking a break from our regular set of Scripture readings and looking at a very famous story from the Bible. Many of these famous stories are never preached on in churches, and the reason why is because they are not a part of that regular list of readings that churches follow as they go through the church year. Last month, we looked at that very famous story of David and Goliath. Today, we’re looking at another famous story, Daniel in the Lion’s Den. May God bless you with a stronger faith and a greater desire to serve Christ openly in your life as you study this account with me this morning.
Let’s look at Daniel. By the time these events took place, Daniel was an older man, perhaps even in his 80’s. He had been serving God openly all his life. And he had been serving in the government. He and the rest of the Jews were in captivity, living in a foreign land under a foreign ruler. But God had blessed Daniel during this time, allowing him to be given positions of power and influence in the foreign governments that ruled over the land.
A man named Darius became ruler, and he set up a new system of government in which Daniel was one of the top administrators under the king. Daniel served faithfully in that position, and he was so successful that he was so successful that the king was planning to promote him above all the other government officials. Some of those officials didn’t like it that Daniel, a Jew, would be higher in rank than they, and so they plotted against him. And as they plotted, they noticed something about Daniel. Look at verse 5: “We will never find any basis for charges against this man Daniel unless it has something to do with the law of his God.”
You see, Daniel was openly worshiping God. It was obvious to everyone, including the people who didn’t like him. Daniel’s enemies knew that the only way to get Daniel was to do something against his religion.
And so they plotted his demise. They had the king make up a law that for one month, no one could pray to any god except the king. Anyone who prayed to a god must be thrown into the lion’s den. The king liked this idea – it appealed to his ego. And so he put the decree in writing. It became a law.
Now since Daniel was such a high ranking government official, he learned about this law immediately. He knew that people would be watching him. He could have changed his daily routine. He could have worshiped God secretly instead of openly, just to stay out of trouble. But that’s not what he did. Look at verse 10: “Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, 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.” “I’m not going to cover up my faith,” Daniel probably thought. “I’m going to keep praying. I’m going to keep serving God. I’m going to worship him openly, just as I have done all my life. I will not hide my faith.” This was Daniel’s routine, to openly spend time with God three times a day, meditating on his Word, and praying.