Pod Prep: 7-9-17
A Second Look at Daniel and the Lions' Den
WHY DIDN'T DANIEL JUST PRAY IN SECRET, IN A WINDOWLESS ROOM?
Daniel knew that he was the target of the entire legal exercise. It was a legal trap in which they assumed he was guaranteed to make a fatal mistake. Daniel was so righteous that his religious beliefs were his only area of vulnerability. What a testament to Daniel as a righteous man and faithful administrator!
Da 6:4 Then the presidents and rulers sought to find occasion against Daniel concerning the kingdom. But they could find no occasion or fault, because he was faithful. Neither was there any error or fault found in him.
5 Then these men said, We shall not find any occasion against this Daniel unless we find it against him concerning the Law of his God.
The only persecution they could bring on him was religious. Religious persecution is the art of pitting people against each other over doctrine. The Devil is a master of this art. He has a particular hatred for the worshipers of the true God. Daniel, in this trial, was much more concerned with how his actions would look to God than to the King. Daniel could have prayed in an inner room away from window access and the prying eyes of his enemies or in some room with the windows covered with a thick curtain. Why didn't he ? If Daniel had altered his behavior drastically to appease his anti-God plotters it would seem to God like appeasement. It would be as if he abandoned God for thirty days. Daniel was much more concerned with how God might perceive his altered prayers than what a King might think or do. This test or trial of Daniel was also used to elevate the God of Israel, the true God's status throughout the empire.
Da 6:9 Therefore King Darius signed the writing and the ban.
10 And when he had learned that the document was signed, Daniel went to his house. And his windows were open in his roof room toward Jerusalem; and he went to his knees three times a day and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did before.
11 Then these men assembled and found Daniel praying and confessing before his God.
12 Then they came near and spoke before the King concerning the King's ban. Have you not signed a ban that every man who shall ask a petition of any god or man within thirty days, except of you, O King, shall be thrown into the lions' den? The King answered and said, The thing is true, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be changed.
Da 6:14 Then the King, when he heard the word, was very much displeased with himself. And he set his heart on Daniel to deliver him. And he labored until sundown to deliver him. (MKJV)
The King then realized he had been maneuvered and tricked. He desired to save his best administrator. He knew Daniel was loyal to him and that the others were being hateful and jealous.
When the King realized that Daniel was still alive he was extremely joyful.
Da 6:23 Then the king was exceedingly glad for him, and commanded that they should take Daniel up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no kind of hurt was found on him, because he trusted in his God.
24 And the King commanded, and they brought those men who had accused Daniel, and they threw them into the lions' den; them, their sons, and their wives. And the lions overpowered them and broke all their bones in pieces before they came to the bottom of the den.
Da 6:25 Then King Darius wrote to all people, nations, and languages who dwell in all the earth. Peace be multiplied to you.
26 I make a decree that in all the domain of my kingdom, there shall be trembling and fear before the God of Daniel. For He is the living God, and endures forever, and His kingdom is that which shall not be destroyed, and His rule shall be to the end.
OUR CHALLENGE IS TO SEE AN EVENT OR TEST FROM GOD'S VIEWPOINT
We cannot see the spiritual world around us but we need to learn to see things more from God's perspective. The people of Judah realized that the stoppage of building the SECOND TEMPLE looked to God like putting worship of him in a secondary position.
Ezr 4:24 Then the work of the house of God at Jerusalem ceased. So it ceased to the second year of the reign of Darius king of Persia.
5:1 Then the prophets, Haggai the prophet, and Zechariah the son of Iddo, prophesied to the Jews in Judah and Jerusalem in the name of the God of Israel, who was over them.
2 Then Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel and Jeshua the son of Jozadak rose up and began to build the house of God at Jerusalem. And with them were the prophets of God helping them.
The encouragement of God's prophets galled the people into building again even in spite of the threats from neighboring peoples and the royal orders. We must learn to trust God. The Father has our best interest at heart. If a trial or test comes to us, it is going to make us grow and become a better person. This is the spiritual perspective. Seeing things from God's viewpoint is the objective.
Jas 1:2 My brothers, count it all joy when you fall into different kinds of temptations,
3 knowing that the trying of your faith works patience.
4 But let patience have its perfect work, so that you may be perfect and entire, lacking nothing.
The Devil wants us to doubt. He would like to plant seeds of doubt as to whether God understands us or loves us. These people defied the Empire and decided to be more concerned with how God saw these matters than people. Hatred of the Jews and other Israelites is a measure of satanic influence in the world. When this hatred rises, it acts sort of like a canary in a mine detecting poisonous gases. Remember the 1930's when antisemitism grew like poisonous spiritual gas and then WWII .
GUILT AND SELF DOUBTS CAN UNDERMINE OUR TRUST IN GOD
We may often have a hard time forgiving OURSELVES for sins and mistakes. God is slow to anger and great in his ability to forgive sins. It would help to remember that God's grace is enormous.
1Jo 3:20 that if our heart accuses us, God is greater than our heart and knows all things.
21 Beloved, if our heart does not accuse us, we have confidence toward God.
We need to make a habit of coming to God in repentant prayer. We confess our sins and mistakes and know that the Eternal Loving God has put our sins under the covering blood of Jesus. Therefore we can quickly and completely forgive ourselves. We can learn to nurture and love ourselves in a mature , Christian manner where we strive for improvement while forgetting past mistakes.
WE NEED TO PROJECT STRENGTH IN A DIPLOMATIC AND RESPECTFUL MANNER
Many evil and overbearing oppressors of others will leave those alone who project strength. People who project that they will in no manner compromise are often not pressured. Further, God loves it when his servants are strong and committed. The wavering and weak are pressured.
Da 3:15 Now if you are ready, at the time you hear the sound of the horn, the pipe, zither, the lyre, harp, and bagpipe, and all kinds of music, fall down and worship the image which I have made. But if you do not worship, in that moment you shall be thrown into the middle of a burning fiery furnace. And who is that god who shall deliver you out of my hand?
16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the King, O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to return a word to you on this matter.
17 If it is so that our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, then He will deliver us out of your hand, O king.
18 But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods nor worship the golden image which you have set up.
The three young men could have adopted a partial bow suitable to royalty and hoped no one noticed in a crowd. But they did not want God to see them worshiping a golden idol of the Emperor instead of the true God. They were more concerned with how it would look to God than how it appeared to men. They did not know they would be rescued. It did not matter. They were doing the spiritually correct actions. The Bible makes it clear God was proud of them and their reaction to the threats.
We could all learn lessons from the Jews in the days of Nehemiah and Ezra who returned from exile and those four young men in captivity led by Daniel who were more concerned about how God saw things than threats against them. Yet we must also learn to behave in a diplomat and respectful way to those in authority. They defied power and yet remained popular with the various rulers. Avoid arrogance and yet be like them, bold for God.