The theme of the book of Daniel is God is sovereign. We have been exploring this in several posts on the first 6 chapters of the book. This post on chapter 6 is the last of this series. Here are the previous ones if you want to go back and read them:
Daniel Chapter 6 is one of the most familiar chapters in the Bible. Daniel is thrown in the lions' den and God delivers him.
6:2 Daniel was one of 3 commissioners over the 120 satraps.
Daniel was a stellar faithful official. (How well do you represent God to your employer?) The other officials plotted against him. They got King Darius to sign a document saying if anyone prays for thirty days to any god or man besides the king, they would be cast into the lions’ den.
6:7 “Prefects” were Persian officials. “Satraps” were important Persian provincial officials responsible for security and collection of tribute to the king. (taxes)
6:10 What did Daniel do? He continued to kneel, pray, and give thanks to God three times a day just like he had been doing.
6:11 “petition and supplication” – praying before his God. Every time I see petition and supplication I think of Philippians 4:6 “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” Petition means request. In the Bible supplication is usually a request made to God for the benefit of someone else. In other words – petition is asking for our needs. Supplication is asking for the needs of others.
6:14 When Darius found out Daniel was praying to God, he was distressed and was trying to figure out a way to fix this situation.
6:16 Darius gives orders to put Daniel in the lions’ den. But King Darius says to Daniel, “Your God whom you constantly serve will Himself deliver you.” God is sovereign.
6:20 King Darius recognizes who Daniel serves – the living God.
6:21 “My God sent His angel and shut the lions’ mouths and they have not harmed me, inasmuch as I was found innocent before Him;…
Daniel had been a faithful constant servant of God and the king. He was innocent.
6:23 Daniel had trusted in his God.
6:24 King Darius gives orders that the men who accused Daniel should be cast into the lion’s den along with their wives and children! This just blows me away. Why their wives and children? This happens a lot in the Bible. Sometimes it is kings destroying families. Sometimes it is God like at Jericho. I’ve struggled with this in the past – not so much when kings or rulers do it, but when God does. I personally have sorted it out in my mind though.
How many of you believe what your parent’s believe(d) about anything? Our society is so very independent and rebellious. But not so back then. Their society was very much a patriarchal society. You believed what your forefathers and elders did. You honored them. The family was seen as a unit in belief. So to destroy the cancer in a society, the entire family must be wiped out. My ESV study Bible text note for 6:24 says: This was in accord with the common principle in the ancient Near East that anyone who made a false charge against someone else should be punished by receiving the same fate they had sought for their victim. My 1984 NIV study Bible says: In accordance with Persian custom. In my mind this explanation doesn't adequately justify throwing the wives and children in the lions' den. I guess it was just the way it was.
I can't read this and not think about what happened at Jericho. Why did God order the Israelites to kill not only the men, but also the women and children and even the animals? I'm not God so I really can't answer that. His thoughts and ways are not mine. However, I have come to accept that God is good and He is sovereign. He created that life and He can choose to destroy it. And I am no one to question God’s decisions. I did when I was 20 and my mother died suddenly of a heart attack at the age of 51. For years I asked, “Why God? Why? Why did You take her?” But who am I? I am a miserable filthy sinner not worthy of His grace. He is holy, just, almighty, and good. So very good and loving. All His ways are good. Even if I don’t see it or understand it, I trust in the One who I know is good.
Go back and read Daniel 4:34b and 35
For His dominion is an everlasting dominion, and His kingdom endures from generation to generation.
All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, but He does according to His will in the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of earth;
And no one can ward off His hand or say to Him ‘What have You done?’
So when horrible things happen to you in this life, will you question Him or trust Him?
It is something only you can work out in your mind and heart and soul.
“I make a decree that in all the dominion of my kingdom men are to fear and tremble before the God of Daniel;
For He is the living God and enduring forever,
And His kingdom is one which will not be destroyed,
And His dominion will be forever.
He delivers and rescues and performs signs and wonders in heaven and on earth, Who has also delivered Daniel from the power of the lions.”
God’s reign will be forever.
God performs signs of wonder in heaven and on earth.
He is the living God and endures forever.
When you fully believe and accept God’s sovereignty, then your peace will abound!
What did you learn going through chapters 1-6 of Daniel?
I hope you saw that God is sovereign over nations and people. He is in control of everything that happens. That belief should give you abundant peace.
I also hope you noted that Daniel was a faithful servant to God - an example for us.
I also hope you realize if you camp out only in the New Testament you are missing what 2/3rds of the Bible has to tell us. Big concepts. Big ideas. Application for our lives. The Old Testament reveals God's character. (And by "God", I am referring to the Father, Son, and Spirit.)
These were real people. Real lives. Real history.
And God was sovereign over all of it, just as He is today.
And that my friend, should make you smile.