“Then king Darius wrote unto all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth; Peace be multiplied unto you. I make a decree, 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 6:25-26
When God brings about a change in a situation or individual, it is a real difference! In our text today, King Darius went from wanting the people of his kingdom to honor and pray to him, to decreeing that those in his realm should honor and pray to Daniel’s God. That was an amazing change!
This account reminded me of a time when God caused a turnaround for me in an employment situation. I had taken a job with a plumbing contractor to supplement my income as a pastor. Soon after I began working with the crew, it became apparent that one of the men was not happy about my presence. Perhaps he felt that my being hired was a threat to his job. Whatever the basis for his antagonism, it was obvious he was doing whatever he could to discourage me. There was a constant questioning of my methods and many words of criticism directed at me, even in front of other members of the crew.
Of course, this affected me, and I started to wonder if taking the job really had been the Lord’s will. When those thoughts came, though, God would remind me of how He had given me the job — someone had called offering work when I was not even looking for employment. The Lord also reminded me how my non-Christian boss was so accommodating to my responsibilities as a pastor.
In spite of that reassurance, the situation with this individual continued to be very difficult to handle. I made the matter the subject of prayer, but one day, after listening to this man’s rough cursing and loud, ungodly music for hours, I was so disheartened that I seriously considered quitting, and expressed my thoughts to God.
The response I received was not what I was hoping to hear! God impressed upon me to stay there and wait to see what He would do, so I continued working. Soon after, this individual and I were doing a job together and we had an accident, dropping a piece of pipe weighing about two hundred pounds off a building. It slammed down against a fire sprinkler, bounced up, and came down hard on top of a large gas meter. After we made sure no one was injured, we looked around to see what damage we had caused, and found there was no damage to anything!
We went back to work and finished the job. A while later, as the two of us were having lunch, he said, “It’s a good thing you were working here today, preacher! God kept things from getting broken.” I was so amazed by his comment that I could hardly respond! The next day we were working with a larger crew, and as about six or eight of us ate lunch together, this same man spoke up and told the entire group about the “miracle” God had worked the day before. From that day forward, he never gave me any more problems. What a change God had made!
This was a powerful testimony to me that God will work for us in His time. Daniel had to go into the lions’ den. And my problems were not resolved my first week, or even in my first months at that job. However, God made a difference for Daniel in the face of death, and for me in my work situation. In big or small situations, God is able.
We will all face challenges and trials in life. When we do, let’s remember that we have a God who can turn impossible situations around. He is able and willing to meet our needs. If we will allow Him to work out His plan in His time, He will give us the victory.
Today’s text begins with the apparent success of the plot of Daniel’s adversaries, and Daniel being cast into the den of lions. Based on the implication of verse 23, the den was most likely a pit. There were probably different areas to separate the lions, and trap doors for handling and feeding. The king’s reluctance to permit this punishment is a clear indicator that Daniel’s integrity and devotion to God had impacted the king, causing him to state, “Thy God whom thou servest continually, he will deliver thee” (verse 16).
According to verse 17, the den was sealed with a royal signet. Signets were worn either as a ring or on a cord around the neck and were used to make impressions in clay or wax; the impression functioned as a signature or authentication. The explanatory statement “that the purpose might not be changed concerning Daniel” ensured that the king would not order a rescue of Daniel.
The king spent the night fasting, and then hastened to the den of lions early in the morning. His lamenting cry in essence asked, “Was your God able to prevail?” The anguish indicated by his question was another indicator of the esteem in which he held Daniel.
In verse 23, Daniel was “taken up out of the den.” The law had been fulfilled; Daniel had suffered the prescribed punishment for disobedience to the king’s decree. However, the outcome was not what Daniel’s opponents expected. The king’s outrage over the scheme against Daniel was evidenced by his immediate punishment of the plotters, along with their wives and children. This was severe, but it was reflective of the customs of the Persians of that era. The fact that the lions immediately overpowered these individuals was proof that divine protection had preserved Daniel.
Darius then made a second decree, commanding reverence for Daniel’s God throughout his realm. The king’s recognition that Daniel’s deliverance was miraculous is apparent in the words signs and wonders (verse 27).
II. The prophetic history of the Gentiles
E. The decree of Darius (the man of sin and his politico-religious system)
5. The placement of Daniel (6:16-18)
6. The preservation of Daniel (6:19-24)
7. The proclamation of the king (6:25-28)
Just as God proved himself to be a mighty deliverer to Daniel, the king, and the people of the Persian kingdom, He will prove Himself to us if we are faithful to Him and take our needs to Him in prayer.