Summary: This sermon encourages us to follow the example of Daniel when we are thrown into the lions’ dens of our life.
Surviving the Lions’ Den
November 10, 2002
A. [Unshakeable Faith, Citation: Abraham Heschel, Jewish author. Men of Integrity, Vol. 1, no. 2.]
Faith like Job’s cannot be shaken because it is the result of having been shaken.
B. Today we come to the sixth chapter of Daniel and the story of the lions’ den.
1. Daniel certainly had an unshakable faith because his faith had been shaken and tested in the past.
2. Today we certainly don’t face literal lions’ dens like Daniel did, but we certainly have difficulties that remind us of being in one.
3. So let’s study this chapter together and see what we can learn about surviving the lions’ den.
I. Daniel 6:1-4 (NIV), It pleased Darius to appoint 120 satraps to rule throughout the kingdom, 2 with three administrators over them, one of whom was Daniel. The satraps were made accountable to them so that the king might not suffer loss. 3 Now Daniel so distinguished himself among the administrators and the satraps by his exceptional qualities that the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom. 4 At this, the administrators and the satraps tried to find grounds for charges against Daniel in his conduct of government affairs, but they were unable to do so. They could find no corruption in him, because he was trustworthy and neither corrupt nor negligent.
A. Satraps: Jealousy
1. Now these satraps were governors of provinces or states.
2. The KJV uses the word “princes.”
3. But we would more closely relate to them as governors of states.
4. Of course, they weren’t elected governors, they were appointed by Darius.
5. Now I should also point out that Cyrus was actually the king that took over after the slaying of Belshazzar, but he appoint Darius to oversee the kingdom of Babylon.
6. Then, Darius appointed these 120 satraps to oversee the provinces within Babylon, which ther called “satrapies.”
7. Then, Darius appointed three administrators to oversee the 120 satraps, and the three administrators would report to Darius.
8. Each of the administrators probably oversaw 40 satraps.
9. One of the three administrators was Daniel.
10. However, verse three tells us that Daniel had so distinguished himself among the administrators and the satraps that the king planned to set Daniel over all of Babylon.
11. Now I know that this kind of thing doesn’t happen today in our government, but (believe it or not) the 122 got pretty upset about this idea!
12. When the king started talking about setting Daniel over the whole kingdom, the 120 satraps and the other two administrators got offended.
13. I know that when governmental officials today get selected for the high positions of power, our governors and other politicians very graciously congratulate them and don’t become jealous. J
14. But as far-fetched as it may seem to us, the 122 got pretty jealous of Daniel and decided to dig up some dirt on him. J
15. They didn’t have any commercials to produce to try to get them elected, but they did look for some mud to sling around on Daniel.
B. Daniel: Diligence
1. Now we need to understand that when Nebuchadnezzar originally deported Daniel in the first chapter from Jerusalem to Babylon, he was probably about 16 years old.
2. Now, he is about 80 years old.
3. Verse four tells us that they tried to find some corruption in Daniel, but because he was trustworthy and diligent, they couldn’t come up with any dirt on him.
4. Notice the things the Scriptures say about Daniel here: “so distinguished himself,” they found no grounds for charges against Daniel, found no corruption in him, “he was trustworthy,” “he was neither corrupt nor negligent.”
5. Daniel was diligent in the way that he conducted himself in his governmental duties and as a result they were unable to dig up any dirt on him.
II. Daniel 6:5-12 (NIV), Finally these men said, "We will never find any basis for charges against this man Daniel unless it has something to do with the law of his God." 6 So the administrators and the satraps went as a group to the king and said: "O King Darius, live forever! 7 The royal administrators, prefects, satraps, advisers and governors have all agreed that the king should issue an edict and enforce the decree that 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. 8 Now, O king, issue the decree and put it in writing so that it cannot be altered--in accordance with the laws of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be repealed." 9 So King Darius put the decree in writing. 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. 11 Then these men went as a group and found Daniel praying and asking God for help. 12 So they went to the king and spoke to him about his royal decree: "Did you not publish a decree that during the next thirty days anyone who prays to any god or man except to you, O king, would be thrown into the lions’ den?" The king answered, "The decree stands--in accordance with the laws of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be repealed."