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with Rick Henson
Daniel 6:3-7, 10, 16-23
Daniel served the Lord faithfully through four different kings, two Babylonian and two Persian. He represented The Lord to Nebuchadnezzar and then to King Belshazzar. After Cyrus led the Persians to defeat the Babylonians, he turned this part of the kingdom over to King Darius. Daniel served the Lord regardless of who was on the throne.
Daniel served the Lord first and then he served whoever was in authority. His devotion to God showed in his words and actions and were recorded in the book of Daniel. In the first chapter Daniel distinguished himself before King Nebuchadnezzar by his choice of food and drink. In the second chapter he correctly interpreted the King’s dream. Daniel interpreted another dream of the King in Daniel the fourth chapter. In the fifth chapter Daniel interpreted the handwriting on the wall for King Belshazzar. In each case he stood strong for his personal belief in God and witnessed of God’s great majesty to the Babylonian kings.
Just as Israel was defeated by Babylon, Babylon was then defeated by the Persians. As the Jews were forced to serve the Babylonians, the Babylonians were then forced to serve the Persians. Daniel, however served the Lord first, so whomever was in charge saw this in him.
God blessed Daniel under the new King Darius and he rose to second in the entire kingdom. As often happens in politics, some of the other leaders were jealous and attempted to remove him, but they could find nothing wrong that he did. They knew that Daniel prayed regularly so they enticed Darius to decree that for thirty days no one could pray to anyone but him or be fed to hungry lions.
These unnamed conspirators used the pride of the King to trap Daniel. They appealed to Darius’ ego to trick him into making this decree that he later regretted. As skilled politicians, they worded the document in such a way that even the King could not renounce it.
Daniel heard the decree and yet continued to pray three times a day to the one true God as he had always done. These unnamed conspirators sprung their trap and reported this to King Darius. The king had no choice but to keep his word and to throw Daniel into the lions’ den. This grieved King Darius. Daniel 6:14 reads, “Then the king, when he heard these words, was sore displeased with himself, and set his heart on Daniel to deliver him: and he laboured till the going down of the sun to deliver him, (KJV). King Darius said to Daniel before he had him thrown into the lions’ den, “Thy God whom thou servest continually, he will deliver thee, (Daniel 6:16 KJV).
King Darius did not sleep at all that night as he grieved over Daniel situation. The next morning he came to the area of the lions’ den and cried out to see if Daniel were still there. “O Daniel, servant of the living God, is thy God, whom thou servest continually, able to deliver thee from the lions?, (Daniel 6:20 KJV). Daniel answered that God had shut the mouth of the lions and then he proclaimed his innocence before God Almighty and also before King Darius.
Because of the life and the legacy of Daniel, King Darius realized that Daniel was innocent and he had Daniel removed from the lions’ den. He then had his unnamed conspirators thrown into the lions’ den along with their wives and children. The Scripture says they were destroyed before they hit the ground. Daniel’s faith and trust in God resulted in a decree from King Darius, “That in every dominion of my kingdom men tremble and fear before the God of Daniel: for he is the living God, and stedfast for ever, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed, and his dominion shall be even unto the end,” (Daniel 6:26 KJV).
Daniel continued to serve the Lord through four different administrations of government. Regardless of who is in the presidency of this country, governor of this state, or who is your boss, the Lord is your God. People notice when you serve the Lord.
Henson is pastor of Oakdale Church, Brandon.