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Faithlife

Standing Firm in the Face of the Lions

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INTRO::
The big question for us through this series: “How do we stand firm - no compromise - in a fallen world?
Let’s look at this one final narrative from the life of Daniel.
Daniel 6:1–3 ESV
It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom 120 satraps, to be throughout the whole kingdom; and over them three high officials, of whom Daniel was one, to whom these satraps should give account, so that the king might suffer no loss. Then this Daniel became distinguished above all the other high officials and satraps, because an excellent spirit was in him. And the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom.
Daniel 6:1–5 ESV
It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom 120 satraps, to be throughout the whole kingdom; and over them three high officials, of whom Daniel was one, to whom these satraps should give account, so that the king might suffer no loss. Then this Daniel became distinguished above all the other high officials and satraps, because an excellent spirit was in him. And the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom. Then the high officials and the satraps sought to find a ground for complaint against Daniel with regard to the kingdom, but they could find no ground for complaint or any fault, because he was faithful, and no error or fault was found in him. Then these men said, “We shall not find any ground for complaint against this Daniel unless we find it in connection with the law of his God.”
Daniel 6:4–5 ESV
Then the high officials and the satraps sought to find a ground for complaint against Daniel with regard to the kingdom, but they could find no ground for complaint or any fault, because he was faithful, and no error or fault was found in him. Then these men said, “We shall not find any ground for complaint against this Daniel unless we find it in connection with the law of his God.”
Daniel 6:4-
FILL IN THE GAP OF VS. 6-9
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Daniel 6:10–12 ESV
When Daniel knew that the document had been signed, he went to his house where he had windows in his upper chamber open toward Jerusalem. He got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously. Then these men came by agreement and found Daniel making petition and plea before his God. Then they came near and said before the king, concerning the injunction, “O king! Did you not sign an injunction, that anyone who makes petition to any god or man within thirty days except to you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions?” The king answered and said, “The thing stands fast, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be revoked.”
Daniel 6:10–11 ESV
When Daniel knew that the document had been signed, he went to his house where he had windows in his upper chamber open toward Jerusalem. He got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously. Then these men came by agreement and found Daniel making petition and plea before his God.
Daniel 6:12–13 ESV
Then they came near and said before the king, concerning the injunction, “O king! Did you not sign an injunction, that anyone who makes petition to any god or man within thirty days except to you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions?” The king answered and said, “The thing stands fast, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be revoked.” Then they answered and said before the king, “Daniel, who is one of the exiles from Judah, pays no attention to you, O king, or the injunction you have signed, but makes his petition three times a day.”
Daniel 6:
Daniel 6:14–16 ESV
Then the king, when he heard these words, was much distressed and set his mind to deliver Daniel. And he labored till the sun went down to rescue him. Then these men came by agreement to the king and said to the king, “Know, O king, that it is a law of the Medes and Persians that no injunction or ordinance that the king establishes can be changed.” Then the king commanded, and Daniel was brought and cast into the den of lions. The king declared to Daniel, “May your God, whom you serve continually, deliver you!”
So, as we look at this and we get to this point in Daniel’s life, he’s one of the highest ranking officials in Babylon. God has blessed him immensely. He has elevated Daniel to prominence and power in the kingdom. You’d think he’s in a pretty good place, but the truth is, the more God blessed Daniel, the bigger the target he had on his back…the more the enemy resented him and attacked him.
This isn’t really the main point of today’s message, but I do feel like I need to briefly talk about this. This truth is something I cling to and have really, in all honesty, been holding onto lately. Attack only comes when God is using you. Satan wouldn’t have anything to fear if Daniel wasn’t being used by God. He never would have been attacked if he wasn’t a threat. If you’re finding yourself under spiritual attack, take heart…that’s a good thing.
So, let’s get back to this text…verse 5 is HUGE. Here’s the question for us today: Can this be said of us? Can it be said of you?
Look what’s happening: “We’ve got to frame Daniel. We’ve got to peg him with something/set him up.” Then they examine his life - maybe hire a private investigator… “It’s not going to be embezzlement. You’re not going to find anything on his computer. You’re not going to set him up or catch him in a compromising situation with a woman…no one has any juicy intel on him…he’s never been involved in any shady business dealings.”
The ONLY thing Daniel was guilty of was his uncompromising obedience.
There are a couple of words, here, a couple of characteristics that are RARE in our culture…they’re almost like an endangered species. What are those two words?
Integrity & Blamelessness
What’s integrity? Someone once said that the real you is who you are when you don’t think anyone else is watching. Blamelessness means that you can be accused of ANYTHING but your life is lived in such a way that NOTHING can stick!
Daniel was a man of integrity and blamelessness…not just in the “big” areas…we like to focus and brag about those. NO…he was blameless in EVERY area…especially the small ones.
Scientists now say that a series of slits, not a giant gash, sank the Titanic. The opulent, 900-foot cruise ship sank in 1912 on its first voyage, from England to New York. Fifteen hundred people died in the worst maritime disaster of the time.
The most widely held theory was that the ship hit an iceberg, which opened a huge gash in the side of the liner. But an international team of divers and scientists recently used sound waves to probe the wreckage, buried in the mud under two-and-a-half miles of water. Their discovery? The damage was surprisingly small. Instead of the huge gash, they found six relatively narrow slits across the six watertight holds.
Small damage, invisible to most, can sink not only a great ship but a great reputation.
I want you to see something else. Check out verse 10. This is where we as American Christians in the 21st century can really learn from Daniel’s response/reaction. Daniel hears the edict - you can’t pray to God - PERIOD.
So, here’s what you’ve probably seen before…and unfortunately, man of us have been sucked into. Now, let me remind you…my job is not to make you think more like Americans but to provoke you to think Christianly. So, that being said…you’ve seen this before on Facebook or t.v. or in the news...”Facebook hates Christians & Jesus and is now reporting as abusive any statuses that mention the name of Jesus.” OR…this organization or group hates Christians and is now petitioning the government to have prayer in public places outlawed…or evangelism in public places outlawed. So, what’s the typical American Christian reaction?
“Let’s everybody post on our Facebook that we love Jesus and we’re not ashamed to stand for him & I dare Facebook to take it down!” Or, we rally the troops, call press conferences, go to the mall or to the streets and start chanting and holding signs “They can’t tell us we can’t evangelize or pray in public.”
Now, here’s what I think the sad part of this is. Maybe you’ve done that. Maybe you’d do that…how many of us, though, are actually sharing the gospel on a regular basis? How many of us are actually praying openly and publicly on a regular basis? See what I’m trying to get at? Christianity gets “attacked” and we snap into crisis mode protesting for things and yelling about the rights we have to do things that WE’RE NOT ACTUALLY DOING OR AREN’T A PART OF OUR EVERY DAY LIFE.
Not Daniel. He hears the news, goes home & kneels down “as usual.” Did you see that? He doesn’t do anything to draw attention to himself. He didn’t “rally the troops.” He did, quietly, just what he’d always done. He didn’t call a press conference or stand on a corner. Listen to me…Daniel actually prepared himself to die.
Here’s the whole point of all of this today:
Faithfully consistent - in every area of our lives.
THE END OF THE STORY:
Daniel 6:19–21 ESV
Then, at break of day, the king arose and went in haste to the den of lions. As he came near to the den where Daniel was, he cried out in a tone of anguish. The king declared to Daniel, “O Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to deliver you from the lions?” Then Daniel said to the king, “O king, live forever!
Daniel 6:19–28 ESV
Then, at break of day, the king arose and went in haste to the den of lions. As he came near to the den where Daniel was, he cried out in a tone of anguish. The king declared to Daniel, “O Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to deliver you from the lions?” Then Daniel said to the king, “O king, live forever! My God sent his angel and shut the lions’ mouths, and they have not harmed me, because I was found blameless before him; and also before you, O king, I have done no harm.” Then the king was exceedingly glad, and commanded that Daniel be taken up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no kind of harm was found on him, because he had trusted in his God. And the king commanded, and those men who had maliciously accused Daniel were brought and cast into the den of lions—they, their children, and their wives. And before they reached the bottom of the den, the lions overpowered them and broke all their bones in pieces. Then King Darius wrote to all the peoples, nations, and languages that dwell in all the earth: “Peace be multiplied to you. I make a decree, that in all my royal dominion people are to tremble and fear before the God of Daniel, for he is the living God, enduring forever; his kingdom shall never be destroyed, and his dominion shall be to the end. He delivers and rescues; he works signs and wonders in heaven and on earth, he who has saved Daniel from the power of the lions.” So this Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrus the Persian.
Daniel 6:22–24 ESV
My God sent his angel and shut the lions’ mouths, and they have not harmed me, because I was found blameless before him; and also before you, O king, I have done no harm.” Then the king was exceedingly glad, and commanded that Daniel be taken up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no kind of harm was found on him, because he had trusted in his God. And the king commanded, and those men who had maliciously accused Daniel were brought and cast into the den of lions—they, their children, and their wives. And before they reached the bottom of the den, the lions overpowered them and broke all their bones in pieces.
Daniel 6:25–28 ESV
Then King Darius wrote to all the peoples, nations, and languages that dwell in all the earth: “Peace be multiplied to you. I make a decree, that in all my royal dominion people are to tremble and fear before the God of Daniel, for he is the living God, enduring forever; his kingdom shall never be destroyed, and his dominion shall be to the end. He delivers and rescues; he works signs and wonders in heaven and on earth, he who has saved Daniel from the power of the lions.” So this Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrus the Persian.
Here’s a wonderful truth for us in all of this. Far too many times, as Christians, we are obsessed with trying to prove a point. We’ll share some snarky truth on Facebook in a second if we think it’s going to “prove a point” to those that might disagree with us.
Daniel could do NOTHING to silence those who would come after him and attack him. Daniel could do NOTHING to keep the mouths of the lions shut. Daniel could do NOTHING to have the king’s decree reversed or change the heart of Darius to turn him into a worshipper of the one true God.
All we are called to do as God’s people is live in consistent faithfulness.
Gospel - Daniel = Jesus…Death & Resurrection
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