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August 28, 2016

"DANIEL AND DARIUS"

TEXT: Daniel 6: 1-28
READING:
 Psalm 66: 1-20

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SUBJ: The faith and devotion of Daniel in the face of the vain operations of men and the example to us that we will be maintained in faithfulness toward God.

AIM: That we should be encouraged in an age where threats toward our faith are looming large even employing the law to counter faith and practice before men.

INTR: When certain biblical characters are mentioned it is typical that a singular event comes to mind and with Daniel the earliest remembrance is the encounter with the Lions.
1. It has been well observed that the three Hebrew children refused to participate in idolatrous worship while Daniel refused to be stopped from the worship of His Lord and His God.
2. It is here that the character of Daniel is confirmed into his old age and he along with a great cloud of witnesses have stood firm in the faith without regard for their lives.
3. The ultimate example to us, of course, is that of our Lord Jesus Christ who became obedient unto the death of the cross. The mouths of the lions were stopped, the judgment upon Him was not.

THESIS: While there is much contempt for God and for the things of God in the world, where His living presence is sensed there will be an acknowledgment of His sovereignty even while failing to believe in Him.

I. The Plot against Daniel (vv. 1-9)
1. It is interesting to note that men such as Moses, Joseph and Daniel have risen to favored status even in pagan and idolatrous kingdoms.
1) The character of Daniel was established in Babylon early on and it continued to be observed through subsequent kingdoms.
2) Where the grace of God is manifested and a life of faith and trust in God is on display it serves the interest of those in power, even if they do not embrace that faith. There is no record that Pharaoh ever embraced the Lord or the faith of Joseph.
2. Such a blessedness will excel above the way of the best of the ungodly and promotion often follows but not without danger.
1) Such was the case here in that resentment of success reigns in the hearts of the prideful.
2) They could find no problem with his service to the king but then hatred against the servant of God does not need a reason – it just exists.
3) They concluded: Then said these men, We shall not find any occasion against this Daniel, except we find it against him concerning the law of his God. Daniel 6:5.
3. So it was that they played to the vanity of the king and under the pretense of showing him honor proposed a law which entailed exclusive worship for thirty days and
1) Set a trap for both Daniel and the king in that they knew that any writing could not be undone.
2) Darius signed the decree and supposedly the doom of Daniel.

II. The Trap is sprung (vv. 10-15)
1. While Daniel was a faithful servant to King Darius, there was a King higher that owned the heart of Daniel.
1) The scripture is plain. When he heard of the writing he proceeded with the worship of God as before. Some things of importance to note:
i. He prayed facing toward Jerusalem as was directed by Solomon at the dedication whereby he declared his faith in the substitute, the sacrifice.
ii. He kneeled as an indication of submission and true worship
iii. He did it three times daily (and they knew it) and he allowed nothing to interrupt this, which we are so prone to do.
iv. He prayed and gave thanks and had done it for a long time!
2) The same mob that approached the king now spied out Daniel adding that he made supplication (They understood him to be declaring submission to another – he prayed aloud).
2. The report is brought, the king is caught by his own decree and
i. They charged him with disregard of the king and his decree
ii. They disregarded the regret of the king and prosecuted their case to the fullest.

III. Daniel and the lions (vv. 15-23)
1. It is interesting to note that the king was powerless to change what he had written even knowing that he had been defrauded – So is the compulsion to obey our pride rather than God.
2. With great reluctance the sentence was carried out:
1) Even though the king looked for a way out
2) Sealed by the king and the men who would assure the demise of Daniel
3) With the hope that Daniel’s God was able to deliver him
4) Resulting in a sleepless night
3. The subsequent report from the lions’ den -- There is no word of how Daniel spent the night only that
1) God had sent His Angel (either an angel in the sense of Hebrews 1:14 or as some suppose the Angel of the covenant – the Lord Himself).
2) He did not change the nature of the lions – they were still the same ravenous beasts
3) But He did restrict them in their intentions and Daniel passed the night in peace and confidence in his God.
4) An important issue was resolved: innocence was found with regard to God and he had done no wrong toward the king – there had never been a real conflict.

IV. A constrained declaration (vv. 24-28)
1. The end of the conspirators was as expected – the wicked are taken in their own devices: Their sword shall enter into their own heart, and their bows shall be broken. Psalms 37:15
2. Even the king is constrained to declare that only the God of Daniel bears the title THE LIVING GOD.
3. And Daniel continued to prosper!