Summary: Daniel was now facing his toughest test yet. In our study of this test I want you to see two very important truths that are meant by God to help you through the tests that you will inevitably face in life.
Today I would like to conclude my sermon series in the book of Daniel. Actually, I am concluding my sermon series at the end of chapter 6. The reason I am not carrying on with chapter 7 is because Daniel 7-12 deals with various visions that Daniel had. There is no unified consensus as to what these visions mean, and I do not know what they mean either. So, rather than speculate and guess at the meaning of these visions, I will rather not tackle them at this stage. When I figure out what Daniel’s visions mean, then I will return and preach on Daniel 7-12!
So, with that in mind, please listen as I read Daniel 6:16b-28:
16b The king said to Daniel, “May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!”
17 A stone was brought and placed over the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the rings of his nobles, so that Daniel’s situation might not be changed. 18 Then the king returned to his palace and spent the night without eating and without any entertainment being brought to him. And he could not sleep.
19 At the first light of dawn, the king got up and hurried to the lions’ den. 20 When he came near the den, he called to Daniel in an anguished voice, “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to rescue you from the lions?”
21 Daniel answered, “O king, live forever! 22 My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight. Nor have I ever done any wrong before you, O king.”
23 The king was overjoyed and gave orders to lift Daniel out of the den. And when Daniel was lifted from the den, no wound was found on him, because he had trusted in his God.
24 At the king’s command, the men who had falsely accused Daniel were brought in and thrown into the lions’ den, along with their wives and children. And before they reached the floor of the den, the lions overpowered them and crushed all their bones.
25 Then King Darius wrote to all the peoples, nations and men of every language throughout the land:
“May you prosper greatly!
26 “I issue a decree that in every part of my kingdom people must fear and reverence the God of Daniel.
“For he is the living God
and he endures forever;
his kingdom will not be destroyed,
his dominion will never end.
27 He rescues and he saves;
he performs signs and wonders
in the heavens and on the earth.
He has rescued Daniel
from the power of the lions.”
28 So Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrus the Persian. (Daniel 6:16-28)
Dr. Madison Sarratt taught mathematics at Vanderbilt for many years. Before giving a test, he would put things in perspective for his students by admonishing his class with these words:
"Today I am giving two examinations: one in trigonometry, and the other in honesty. I hope you will pass them both. But, if you must fail one, fail trigonometry. There are many good people in the world who cannot pass trigonometry, but there are no good people in the world who cannot pass the examination of honesty."
It doesn’t take long to realize that the really important tests in life come long after school is out. Many times the tests are painful.
And sometimes they are like pop exams—they take us by surprise!
That’s why the apostle Peter wrote: “Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering as though something strange were happening to you” (1 Peter 4:12).
Referring to trials, the apostle Peter also said, “These [trials] have come so that your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed” (1 Peter 1:7).
As we come today to the end of our study of Daniel’s life, we should not be surprised to find that he now finds himself facing what is probably the greatest test of his life.
In our study of Daniel 6:1-16a last time, we saw that Daniel was now serving under a new king named Darius. Like the many kings before him, king Darius soon came to recognize Daniel’s great wisdom and personal integrity. Daniel, who was now approaching 90 years of age, became king Darius’ trusted friend. So Darius chose Daniel to be one of only three administrators who governed his kingdom.
Daniel so excelled at his position that the king decided to put him solely in charge of the whole government. That didn’t go over too well with the other cabinet members and high officials. In their jealousy, they tried to discredit Daniel by conducting an exhaustive background search in order to dig up some dirt from his past. That plan failed. Daniel was too much of a man of integrity.