We are going to wrap up our Babylonian Curveball series this morning as we look at Daniel 6. We might say that the bases are loaded and God enters the game as pinch hitter and hits a grand slam. Let’s start reading at v. 1.
1 Darius decided to appoint 120 satraps over the kingdom, stationed throughout the realm, 2 and over them three administrators, including Daniel. These satraps would be accountable to them so that the king would not be defrauded. 3 Daniel distinguished himself above the administrators and satraps because he had an extraordinary spirit, so the king planned to set him over the whole realm. 4 The administrators and satraps, therefore, kept trying to find a charge against Daniel regarding the kingdom. But they could find no charge or corruption, for he was trustworthy, and no negligence or corruption was found in him. 5 Then these men said, “We will never find any charge against this Daniel unless we find something against him concerning the law of his God.”
There are three things in Daniel chapter six that I want to notice this morning. The first thing I want to notice is the Daniel was predictable. Not just predictable but he was predictable in his faith.
Daniel Was Predictable In His Faith
4 The administrators and satraps, therefore, kept trying to find a charge against Daniel regarding the kingdom. But they could find no charge or corruption, for he was trustworthy, and no negligence or corruption was found in him. 5 Then these men said, “We will never find any charge against this Daniel unless we find something against him concerning the law of his God.”… 11 Then these men went as a group and found Daniel petitioning and imploring his God.
His predictability was a testimony to God. They tried to find a charge against according him to verse 4 but they couldn’t because he was “trustworthy”, “no charge or corruption”. If someone went digging into your life would they be able to say the same thing about you? Maybe the thought makes you shutter a little and you’re glad no one is trying. But let’s remember that God is looking. Psalm 44:21 asks,
“…wouldn't God have found this out, since He knows the secrets of the heart?”
Because of Daniel’s predictability there was no doubt which God Daniel served. There was no doubt that he would serve his God. There was no doubt he would remain faithful to his God. It did not matter if they were his friends, his enemies, or his coworkers Daniel was the same. They new he was predictable in his faith.
Now, it should go without saying that predictability in our faith is something that you and I would do well to achieve. When your friends or coworkers or family look at the actions and the attitudes of your life will they see a consistency?
What does predictability of faith look like? Well for one it should be predictable that you are going to be in church on Sunday. Friends and family should know this and plan around it. The predictability of faith should also be revealed in the way we interact with the circumstances of life. People should know that when you are faced with a decision you will place God first in that decision. The predictability of faith should cause your friends and acquaintances to think twice about inviting or encouraging you to engage in something that might compromise your faith.
Daniel was so predictable that his enemies knew exactly what to do in order to trap him.
6 So the administrators and satraps went together to the king and said to him, “May King Darius live forever. 7 All the administrators of the kingdom, the prefects, satraps, advisers, and governors have agreed that the king should establish an ordinance and enforce an edict that for 30 days, anyone who petitions any god or man except you, the king, will be thrown into the lions’ den. 8 Therefore, Your Majesty, establish the edict and sign the document so that, as a law of the Medes and Persians, it is irrevocable and cannot be changed.” 9 So King Darius signed the document.
We need be aware that a predictability of faith can also be a tool of entrapment. Because Daniel was so predictable they knew he would continue to honor God even if it meant breaking the law. They knew they could set a trap for him. He would either fall in line and go with the flow by compromising, thereby demonstrating a lack of commitment to his faith, or he would be killed which they probably preferred.
People you know will do the same thing to you. It probably won’t be a direct attack of your faith. But sometimes when things in your life begin to change for the better, when they see your character is changing for the better, believe it or not, they won’t always be happy for you. They may have liked the old you better. They may try to interfere with the very thing they think is causing the change…suggest things that would cause you to compromise the commitments you’ve made to the Lord.
Listen, if friends are asking you to do things that go against your faith then it is possible that you are not predictable in your faith. Your friends and family should know that you’re not going to do something that involves missing church. They should know you’re not going to do something that dishonors God. They should know you’re not going to do something that violates the word of God. And they should know this because you have told them and you’ve taught them. They should know this because they’ve seen this practiced in your life. That’s predictability of faith.
A second thing I noticed about Daniel is that he was:
Daniel Was Purposeful in Prayer
In spite of the trap laid before him he would continue his practice of petitioning God. Look at v.10:
“When Daniel learned that the document had been signed, he went into his house. The windows in its upper room opened toward Jerusalem, and three times a day he got down on his knees, prayed, and gave thanks to his God, just as he had done before.”
So many times when life throws its curveball the one thing we neglect to do is go to God in prayer. When what we really need to do is purposely go to prayer. But I want to be very clear here why Daniel prayed.
• Daniel didn’t pray because he was told not to.
• Daniel didn’t pray because it violated an unjust law.
• Daniel didn’t pray just to protest the law.
• Daniel didn’t pray to prove his integrity.
• Daniel prayed simply because that’s what came naturally.
It’s what he had always done. It’s what he was taught to do. He prayed because he had experienced the results of praying. He prayed because he desired to draw near to God. Prayer was as much a part of his life as the back of his hand.
As I read v. 10 carefully I get the sense that the signing of the document seemed to be of little consequence to him. He hardly flinched. And you know why? Because his purposeful prayer life had prepared him to trust God.
He didn’t go pray because he was in trouble, afraid, mad, or because he needed a way out. Verse 10 says he prayed, “…just as he had done before.” This circumstance was no different. He prayed because that’s what he’s always done.
How important is prayer in your life? Understand what they were demanding…they basically told everyone to quite praying for a month. If you could be forced not to pray for one month would there be a noticeable difference in your life? What about a week? Does a week ever pass and you haven’t talk to God? Do you believe in prayer so much that you wouldn’t dare try to make it through a week without prayer? What about a day? Does a whole day ever go by and you haven’t spoken with God? Is it any wonder why we sometimes feel weak and worried? In Chapter 5 Daniel said that God “holds our life-breath.” Prayer is as important to the child of God as is our life-breath and we can’t last long with out it.
Daniel was able to shrug this threat off because his life was purposed on prayer. Three times a day he prayed. What happened next is one the best known stories in the Bible. Look at verse 16:
16 So the king gave the order, and they brought Daniel and threw him into the lions’ den. 19 At the first light of dawn the king got up and hurried to the lions’ den. 20 When he reached the den, he cried out in anguish to Daniel. “Daniel, servant of the living God,” the king said, “has your God whom you serve continually been able to rescue you from the lions?” 21 Then Daniel spoke with the king: “May the king live forever. 22 My God sent His angel and shut the lions’ mouths.
Let’s talk about how: God’s Presence In Daniel’s Problem
We’re well aware that God worked a miracle by protecting Daniel when He shut the mouths of the lions. But the thing that intrigued me this time through was God’s presence in Daniel’s problem. His commitment to prayer didn’t make is troubles disappear. As faithful as Daniel was…as trustworthy, consistent, obedient and prayerful as Daniel was he was still the target of false accusations and malicious provocations. He was still arrested, still escorted to the lion’s den and still forced to enter the presence of the lions. Can you imagine taking that walk? In hindsight the worst part about the Lion’s Den was worries of the mind and heart leading up to it. Everything leading up to the moment of the angel’s arrival must have been frightening.
Maybe you can imagine the anxiety to some extent. Not to the point of being ripped apart by lions but you do know the worries of facing circumstances that threaten to rip apart your life.
Maybe it’s the doctor’s diagnosis. Maybe it’s the employer letting you go. Maybe it’s the banks final notice. Maybe it’s a loved one’s departure. Maybe it’s a friendship that’s been betrayed. Maybe it’s a family falling apart. Maybe it’s a child who’s hit the bottom. It could be any number of things where the outcome is uncertain and as much as you want to trust God to deliver you…you just aren’t sure He will. You want to believe things will work out but you’re still dealing with the pain and anxiety of approaching the lions den.
The truth is you may have to face the lions in that den. You will be in the situation you feared. But remember the angel? I wondered why God sent an angel. God’s the one that shut the mouth of the lions not the angel. I think the angel was there to assure Daniel that God was working. I think the angel reassured Daniel that God heard his prayers. I think the angel’s presence indicated that God was aware of Daniel’s problem. I think the angel was there to comfort Daniel and fellowship with Daniel through the long night.
I believe in angels. We don’t often see them or at least we are not aware of them but I believe God sends His angels to comfort and protect us. But I also believe God uses us to comfort and reassure each other that God is aware of our problems and He cares. In that way we become God’s messengers.
Strange things happen at times for which we have no explanation. I remember a time probably 9 years ago when my heart was trouble over a situation at church. Not sure what would come of the situation and probably not trusting God like I should have been…I believe God sent a messenger to encourage me. The most unlikely of messengers…he was the owner of a Chinese restaurant in Conway. He shook my hand and put his other hand on my shoulder and said four words. “Things will get better.” That’s all he said and turned and walked away. He had no idea about my concerns…but God did.
God may not deliver you from your problems but he will be with you through them. As you are being led toward the lions den try to look for signs that God is with you. Try to remember that the lion’s den you may be facing may not turn out to be the problem you envisioned it to be. But if it is watch for God. In the end… Daniel had more problems with the liars than lions.
So what have we seen in Daniel that we should practice?
Be predictable in your faith. Do you demonstrate daily a desire to love God and others…do you model a life of faith before you family and friends. When Sunday comes do they just assume that church is a top priority for the day? Does your family and friends see that you take your faith seriously? Do they know you’re committed to God? Some here today may need to really be honest about their answer.
Be purposeful in prayer. Make it something that you can’t go a day without. Pray because prayer draws you closer to God than anything else. Develop a prayer life that comes naturally. Pray because you’ve seen God move through prayer. Pray because it prepares you for those long walks to and nights in the lion’s den.
Watch for God’s presence in your problems. Remind yourself that God cares. Because when we are facing a problem we often feel that no one cares. God not only cares but He wants to comfort and reassure you of His faithfulness. Maybe He will send an angel in disguise. Maybe He will use a normal person’s words to reveal He’s there, aware and cares.