INTRO - My day always seemed to be busy. Whether busy building something for the house, serving God in ministry, or over time for his boss, Dad was a busy man.
My dad does not have a building named after him. He didn’t publish a book or have a movie made about his life.
As a technician in the early days of cable TV, my dad spent many nights out “on call.” The calls were rarely short, nearly all kept him away from home for hours. Why? Dad did all this to pay bills and support his family.
My dad never came to sudden fame or did he make some kind of name in industry, ministry, or business. No my dad was one of the regular blue collar working men who gave his life to his wife and children, his God, and to his work.
My dad’s story is much like the 99% of people who never make a big name for themselves, but work hard and never give up doing everything they can knowing its right and the best they can do.
TRANS - Last week we looked at the life of the last king of Babylon. This week we’re focusing more on the life of Daniel.
Today we’ll look at one of the most famous stories in the Bible - Daniel and the lion’s den.
FYI - Unlike much of the Bible teaching material that represents him much younger, Daniel is 82-85 years of age.
Today we’ll see how Daniel’s faith serves and saves him.
BAK - The last verse from the previous chapter informs us their is a new ruler over Babylon.
and Darius the Mede received the kingdom at the age of sixty-two.
In our story we’ll see how this new ruler has a great relationship with Daniel.
Darius the Mede was 62 in 539 BC
BAK - Who is this fellow? He is the ruler of the Medo-Persian empire which today is in Iran. The word Iran means “the land of the Aryans.” The Aryan speaking people are trace there to about 1500 BC. Among them two tribes, the Medes and Persians, came to be the most powerful.
The Medes dominated the Persians until Cyrus the Great led them to conquer the Medes about 559 BC.
Cyrus gave equal power to both tribes and foreigners began referencing this one people group as the “Medes and Persians” (or other way around, both ways in Scripture).
Cyrus conquered Babylon in 539 BC, so who is Darius?
Most probably the conquerer is Darius to the Medes and Cyrus among the Persians.
This Darius/Cyrus ruler appoints 120 satraps with three administrators. Daniel is one of the administrators.
We expect Daniel is 85 by at this time and from what we read, he is not retiring.
Daniel is not Corrupt
Daniel is not Corrupt
ILL - A wikipedia search reveals some pretty ugly findings in government 2017- to now:
Michael Flynn, Nations Security Advisor, guilty lying to FBI, now being considered misconduct in investigation.
Chris Collins, legislature, guilty insider trading.
Duncan D. Hunter, legislature, misuse of campaign funds.
Judge Alcee Hastings this Florida federal judge, was once convicted soliciting a bribe, then elected to House.
Samuel Kent, another judge once in prison for lying about sexually harassing two female employees.
Jack Camp, Senior General US District Court Judge, arrested for buying cocaine and giving it to a stripper. Ok, he left the bench but sure gives an idea of how corruption is in our government.
After making Daniel 2nd in command over the whole kingdom, the other rulers wanted to find corruption in him.
From the sound of it, did I hear the word impeach? It sounds like little among government has changed.
With Daniel, they could find nothing.
ILL - If you’ve ever hand washed a really dirty car, you know it takes more time than you expect.
Why is that? Something, especially if it’s white or black paint, about extremely dirty cars requires extra attention if you want it completely clean.
When I had wash a car, I always find places that I overlooked in the first past. I have to go back a second time to get what I missed.
Daniel, probably not. He’s good and I’d imagine he’d get all the spots the first time around.
The others, they are jealous of Daniel and instead of working an making themselves better, they work on making him look bad.
Daniel made some people pretty jealous.
The underlings didn’t get the kings attention they way Daniel had.
Knowing Daniel faithful to God they figured presented a way to discredit him.
The jealous ones schemed up a plan, but first had to win over the king.
Jealous people will go to great lengths to do some pretty terrible things.
Once they won the mind of the king, and Daniel knew the plan, did Daniel stop praying?
No, and the group find Daniel praying to God.
ILL - Daniel might had made an excuse. Something like, “God, they gonna kill me if I pray!”
Daniels faithfulness makes lame excuses like, I got to get running, I’m late really look like poor planning. How about this, “Too busy to pray, than you are too busy.”
Prayer is work. It takes time and effort. It requires discipline.
Daniel demonstrates discipline.
“as he had done before.”
Went to his room “as he had done before.”
Do you see that? Daniel had a habit, a planned time and place to pray.
Another thing we see, he prayed toward God.
When you pray, where is your focus?
Is it on your problem, yourself, your family, or on God?
There is nothing wrong with praying over problems, for our needs, or family.
However, unless we are praying toward God, the very prayer could become idolatry.
Look at it like this. If someone has a god of stone, they stand before it, focus on it, and perhaps burn a candle to illuminate it.
They pray exactly the same prayer as you.
Now, if the stone god is removed, and they don’t know our God, how is your prayer different?
Maybe the Bible will help answer this:
Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death, so that we would not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a terrible death, and he will deliver us. We have put our hope in him that he will deliver us again while you join in helping us by your prayers. Then many will give thanks on our behalf for the gift that came to us through the prayers of many.
Notice their trust is in God. They acknowledge his raises the dead, delivers from death, and will deliver them.
They put their hope in Him who will deliver.
Do you see the great faith in this?
That is the difference.
Our faith in not in a stone god, but in the unseen God who raises the dead, has delivered, and will deliver from death.
No other god has ever or will ever do these things.
That is how prayer focus on God, who He is and what he has done and will do, is different from the prayer to the god of stone.
TRANS - Let’s observe how Daniel is righteous before God.
Down in the Den
Down in the Den
Note the king is not displeased with Daniel, but because he came to understand the reason for the law was to trap Daniel.
Persian used lions to execute people. Is tossed to them based on an unjust law.
Why does God allow things like this to happen to His people?
It seems so unfair!
Remember, God’s plan is for nations to glorify Him.
In the end, God will bring all things to justice.
Some might say, God does not do anything like this.
Well, what about when God says attack the Amalekites and destroy everything, kill men and women, children and infants, cattle and sheep, camels and donkeys (1 Sam 15:2).
Perhaps we need to remember Adam’s sin means that all persons, infants included, are in opposition to God by way of imputed sin.
Recall what Paul says:
Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, in this way death spread to all people, because all sinned. In fact, sin was in the world before the law, but sin is not charged to a person’s account when there is no law. Nevertheless, death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who did not sin in the likeness of Adam’s transgression. He is a type of the Coming One.
The whole of humanity is punished for the original sin.
So, all deserve death and God is always just in all His choices.
However, those who call out to God in repentance, they escape death and their sin is no longer held against them.
So, Daniel is down in the den.
Does he deserve to die?
How should God respond?
Consider what Luke says:
Will not God grant justice to his elect who cry out to him day and night? Will he delay helping them? I tell you that he will swiftly grant them justice. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”
Justice will come for all of God’s children.
ILL - With the state of racial affairs in our nation, let the word of God remind us that God will see justice for all His children.
Sunday remains one of the most segregated days of the week.
God’s church is not black or white, Hispanic or Chinese.
Jesus was not black, white, brown, or yellow.
Jesus is a Jew and have you noticed the Bible does not paint a picture of Him?
Maybe God does not want us to think along the lines of skin color?
Perhaps we need to remember that we all do come from one family.
And, if you are part of the family of God, you will live together for eternity so best to learn how to get along now, amen!
While we are not promised immediate action, although sometime God acts swiftly, God does promises justice.
The one thing required remains so small.
Our part is to have faith, even that of the smallest seed, just have faith.
Picked from the Pit
Picked from the Pit
Daniel is a man of faith.
He did not make a big name for himself, yet he was given much for his faithful actions.
Daniel didn’t initiate a mass revival of the Jews in Babylon.
Daniel was a regular person with a faith in our great God.
Unlike Nineveh, there was no national repentance of the people.
Really, the only big thing we know is that he helped two kings believe in God.
Paul tells us:
For who is our hope or joy or crown of boasting in the presence of our Lord Jesus at his coming? Is it not you? Indeed you are our glory and joy!
Like my dad and Daniel, God simply calls us to do what we can over and over again.
Maybe you lead someone to Jesus or perhaps you model how that is done to someone else.
Thank you for your faithfulness in the little things as well as the big things.
Thank you for your prayers, for teaching other, for your evangelism, and your every attempt to share your faith.
Remember, God does carry out His justice and those who are against you and the work you do for God will be punished.
Don’t let them frighten you off.
Daniel’s work made a difference to many whom he never met.
Be encouraged, your dedication to doing little things will add up to something big.
Perhaps its your future reward, nothing wrong with that…its part of our hope.
Or, it might be that your contribution makes it possible for hundreds of others to hear the word preached in their lives.