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Bible Ballistics: Vol. 16 No. 23 Faithful Pray-er Or Panic-er??

 

As we finish up our look at Daniel and his friends, we look today at chapter 6, and we’ll see quite a contrast in kings and circumstances.  We looked last week at an arrogant king who had no regard for God or the lessons he had the opportunity to learn from; and saw that king meet his doom.  This week we’ll see the conquering king (although there were co-rulers in the empire, we will only consider one king) and even though a wise and discerning king, even the wise and discerning can be subject to ego, vanity and deceit.

In that night was Belshazzar

the king of the Chaldeans

slain.

31 And Darius the Median

took the kingdom,

being about threescore and two years old.”  Daniel 5:30-31

Darius the Mede has taken control of Babylon after invading the city, as God prophesied through Daniel and the “hand-writing on the wall”!  Have you been paying heed to the “hand-writing” on your wall?  Or will you be taken unaware?  If we will pay attention to God’s voice and hand at work in our life, then we will find ourselves able to practice a faithful prayer life like Daniel.

It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom

an hundred and twenty princes,

which should be over the whole kingdom;

2 And over these

three presidents;

of whom Daniel was first:

that the princes might give accounts

unto them,

and the king should have no damage.

3 Then this Daniel

was preferred

above the presidents

and princes,

because an excellent spirit

was in him;

and the king thought

to set him over the whole realm.

4 Then

the presidents

and princes

sought to find occasion

against Daniel

concerning the kingdom;

but they could find

none occasion

nor fault;

forasmuch as he was faithful,

neither was there any error

or fault

found in him.”  Daniel 6:1-4

Remember God’s blessing on Daniel and his three friends?

And the king communed with them;

and among them all

was found none

like Daniel,

Hananiah,

Mishael,

and Azariah:

therefore stood they before the king.

20 And in all matters

of wisdom

and understanding,

that the king enquired of them,

he found them ten times better

than all the magicians

and astrologers

that were in all his realm.” Daniel 1:19-20

Each of these men along with Daniel had “purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself”, and God honored their faithfulness in this hard place, by blessing them with ability and success in all of their endeavors. How does your faithfulness and mine measure up against such integrity?  I hope well, but it doesn’t come without effort and devotion to God and His Word.  God displayed his faithfulness and revealed himself through his faithful servants in a pagan land; and I believe there is a parallel for our consideration today—we are finding ourselves living in a pagan land—a land that is defying the Lord God Almighty; redefining virtually everything that HE has established, for greed, gain and self-promotion.  How will we stand?  For how long?  Daniel has proven himself faithful for some 70 years in Babylon, and even the new Median King Darius sees the integrity and ability in “this Daniel” and promotes him to a place of honor and service; while he is considering an even greater promotion to chief in the land (under the king, of course)!  BUT—not everyone was excited about Daniel’s integrity or his success.  Why?  I think for the same greed, gain and self-promotion that pervades our culture today.  And I think, if you look closely, you’ll find the same tactics used these thousands of years ago, are being used today.  Satan’s tactics never change.  Let’s look?

Then the presidents and princes

sought to find occasion against Daniel

concerning the kingdom;

but they could find none occasion

nor fault;

forasmuch as he was faithful,

neither was there any error

or fault

found in him.

5 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 6:4-5

I find it interesting that even Daniel’s enemies couldn’t find any “occasion against” him in the affairs of state; and just like politicians today, I’m sure they left no stone unturned to find some.  Yet, these men in their eagerness to discredit Daniel, realized that they would have to be cunning and wily to discredit Daniel and could only trip him up with the “law of his God”.  The very thing that brought him into favor with Nebuchadnezzar, would now be used to try and bring him into disfavor with King Darius.  How hard would people have to look to find cause for discrediting us?  For most of us—including me—not very far.  We have all made bad choices, mistakes and just outright failures; but Daniel was a man of total honor, integrity and devotion to his God.  How about you/me?  These enemies went after Daniel in a way that brings me shame, for my faithfulness and consistency is often lacking in regard to my prayer and study of God’s Word.  Let’s see what they come up with.

Then these presidents and princes

assembled together to the king,

and said thus unto him,

King Darius,

live for ever.

7 All the presidents of the kingdom,

the governors,

and the princes,

the counsellors,

and the captains,

 have consulted together

to establish a royal statute,

and to make a firm decree,

that whosoever shall ask

a petition of any God

or man

for thirty days,

 save of thee,

O king,

he shall be cast

into the den of lions.

8 Now, O king,

establish the decree,

and sign the writing,

that it be not changed,

according to the law

of the Medes and Persians,

which altereth not.

9 Wherefore king Darius

signed the writing

and the decree.”  Daniel 6:6-9

We ought to learn something from these men, a lesson in current affairs; their plan of attack started with a consensus of flattery, lies and deceit—ring any bells?  They told the king that “all” of the “leaders” had agreed to this plan—“all” that is, but Daniel.  But they left that part out!  They included only the information they wanted others to know about, the truth was irrelevant!  Sound familiar?  Then they flattered the king and used his ego to trap Daniel.  Are we so faithful to God that we could be trapped by our faithfulness?   This king fell into the trap of ego and self-importance, and we need to be careful of the trap.  And we also need to understand that the enemy doesn’t play by the same rules that we do!

So, back to Daniel, what does he do?

Now when Daniel knew

that the writing was signed,

he went into his house;

and his windows being open in his chamber

toward Jerusalem,

he kneeled upon his knees

three times a day,

and prayed,

and gave thanks before his God,

as he did aforetime.

11 Then these men assembled,

and found Daniel praying

and making supplication

before his God.

12 Then they came near,

and spake before the king

concerning the king’s decree;

Hast thou not signed a decree,

that every man that shall ask a petition

of any God or man

within thirty days,

save of thee, O king,

shall be cast into the den of lions?

The king answered and said,

The thing is true,

according to the law

of the Medes and Persians,

which altereth not.

13 Then answered they and said before the king,

That Daniel,

which is of the children of the captivity

of Judah,

regardeth not thee, O king,

nor the decree

that thou hast signed,

but maketh his petition

three times a day.”  Daniel 6:10-13

Here we find Daniel’s enemies gathered—probably at the only “prayer meeting” they’ve ever attended—to catch Daniel being faithful to his God.  And just FYI, when they come to find us faithful to our God, what will they find.  Will we be found continuing to be faithful?  Will we have to scramble to even know how to pray?  Or will we just count it too much trouble and cave to the culture around us?

Then said Jesus unto his disciples,

If any man will come after me,

let him deny himself,

and take up his cross,

and follow me.

25 For whosoever will save his life

shall lose it:

and whosoever will lose his life

for my sake

shall find it.

26 For what is a man profited,

if he shall gain the whole world,

and lose his own soul?

or what shall a man give

in exchange for his soul?” Matthew 16:24-26

If you’re not following Him today, when do you intend to start?  God already had a plan for Daniel, who, like Job, knew in Whom he trusted.

Though he slay me,

yet will I trust in him:

but I will maintain mine own ways

before him.”  Job 13:15

For I know that my redeemer liveth,

and that he shall stand

at the latter day

upon the earth:

26 And though after my skin worms

destroy this body,

yet in my flesh

shall I see God:

27 Whom I shall see

for myself,

and mine eyes shall behold,

and not another;

though my reins be consumed

within me.”  Job 19:25-27

God confirmed Daniel’s faith through this pagan king who had seen faithfulness in Daniel on more than one front.

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.

15 Then these men assembled unto the king,

and said unto the king,

Know, O king,

that the law of the Medes and Persians is,

That no decree nor statute

which the king establisheth

may be changed.

16 Then the king commanded,

and they brought Daniel,

and cast him into the den of lions.

Now the king spake and said unto Daniel,

Thy God

whom thou servest continually,

he will deliver thee.

17 And a stone was brought,

and laid upon the mouth of the den;

and the king sealed it with his own signet,

and with the signet of his lords;

that the purpose might not be changed

concerning Daniel.

18 Then the king went to his palace,

and passed the night fasting:

neither were instruments of musick

brought before him:

and his sleep went from him.”  Daniel 6:14-18

Darius knew by Daniel’s life of faithfulness and integrity that his God would deliver him.  What does our life tell others about our God?  Does our faithfulness cause even our enemies to look to our God?  Or do we look so much like the world that no one can see God in us?

As Peter tells us, our testimony in suffering can make a difference.

Dearly beloved,

I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims,

abstain from fleshly lusts,

which war against the soul;

12 Having your conversation honest

among the Gentiles:

that, whereas they speak against you

as evildoers,

they may by your good works,

which they shall behold,

glorify God in the day of visitation.

13 Submit yourselves to every ordinance

of man

for the Lord’s sake:

whether it be to the king,

as supreme;

14 Or unto governors,

as unto them that are sent

by him

for the punishment

of evildoers,

and for the praise of them

that do well.

15 For so is the will of God,

that with well doing

ye may put to silence

the ignorance of foolish men:

16 As free,

and not using your liberty

for a cloke of maliciousness,

but as the servants of God.

17 Honour all men.

Love the brotherhood.

Fear God.

Honour the king.”   1 Peter 2:11-17

So, what did Darius find in the morning?

Then the king arose very early in the morning,

and went in haste unto the den of lions.

20 And when he came to the den,

he cried with a lamentable voice unto Daniel:

and the king spake and said to Daniel,

O Daniel, servant of the living God,

is thy God,

whom thou servest continually,

able to deliver thee

from the lions?  

21 Then said Daniel unto the king,

O king, live for ever.

22 My God hath sent his angel,

and hath shut the lions’ mouths,

that they have not hurt me:

forasmuch as before him

innocency was found in me;

and also before thee, O king,

have I done no hurt.

23 Then was the king exceeding 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 manner of hurt was found upon him,

because he believed in his God.”    Daniel 6:19-23

Daniel’s eyes were looking up to his GOD, not around at the lions; and his GOD delivered for Daniel’s good and HIS glory!  And, consequently, the destruction of the wicked, while God brought Daniel even greater honor.

And the king commanded,

and they brought those men

which had accused Daniel,

and they cast them into the den of lions,

them, their children, and their wives;

and the lions

had the mastery of them,

and brake all their bones in pieces

or ever they came at the bottom

of the den.

25 Then king Darius wrote unto all people,

nations, and languages,

that dwell in all the earth;

Peace be multiplied unto you.

26 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.

27 He delivereth

and rescueth,

and he worketh signs

and wonders in heaven

and in earth,

who hath delivered Daniel

from the power of the lions.

28 So this Daniel prospered

in the reign of Darius,

and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian.”   Daniel 6:24-28

Who or what is YOUR GOD?  Are your eyes on the prize—Jesus—or the lions—or the liars?

But thanks be to God,

which giveth us the victory

through our Lord Jesus Christ.

58 Therefore, my beloved brethren,

be ye stedfast,

unmoveable,

always abounding

in the work of the Lord,

forasmuch as ye know

that your labour

is not in vain in the Lord.”   1 Corinthians 15:57-58

May God bless and grow us in in HIS Word and HIS ways.  Keep looking up not around!  God hears and answers “prayers” not “panic”!

Amen and Amen!!!