Summary: Daniel gives us a great example of how we ought to live and behave. Just as he was a child of God living in a foreign, pagan culture, you and I are children of God living in a culture that is becoming less and less Christian with each passing day.
The title of this series from Daniel is “Turning Chaos into Character.” In chapter one, Daniel refused to eat the king’s rich food. He went on what I call the “Daniel Diet.” In chapter two, the king saw a vision of a multi-metallic statue representing Gentile Kingdoms. Here in chapter six we are in the time of the second kingdom, that of the Medes and Persians. In chapter three the three Hebrew friends refused to bow down to the image of gold, so they were thrown into a fiery furnace. But they found that it was cool in the furnace when Jesus is walking with you. In chapter four, we read the testimony of proud King Nebuchadnezzar who is humbled until he turns to the living God. Last week in chapter five we read the Handwriting on the Wall.
If there is any story from the book of Daniel that most people know it is the wonderful story of Daniel in the lions’ den. Most of us first heard this story as children in Sunday School or when our parents taught us Bible stories. Someone asked me if this title was a misprint. No. Today I want us to study “The Lions in Daniel’s Den.” You’ll understand what I mean by that toward the end of the message.
Most of you know the story, let’s read the highlights to review the details of this great story, then we’ll talk about what it means to us today.
Daniel 6:1-7 (quickview) . “It pleased Darius to appoint 120 satraps to rule throughout the kingdom, 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. 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. 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…So the administrators and the satraps went as a group to the king and said: ‘O King Darius, live forever! 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 lion’s den.’”
They were appealing to Darius’ ego. They were applying a double coat of flattery to his pride. Years ago there was an old TV show called “Queen for a Day.” They would take an ordinary lady and load her down with all kinds of personal, feminine gifts like a washing machine, a vacuum cleaner, and a dishwasher. Darius was already king, so they said, “King we want you to be ‘god for a month.’” Darius liked the sound of that, so he signed the paper.
Daniel 6:10-11 (quickview) . “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. Then these men went as a group and found Daniel praying and asking God for help.”