DARE TO BE A DANIEL

What Goes Around Comes Around

Daniel 6

Jerry A Collins

SCC

9/26/04

 

*               What happens to us when we are motivated by jealousy?

*               What role does prayer play when we find our lives threatened?

*               Should we disobey the law when it tells us to disobey God?

 

Unfortunately most of us have been victims of someone elses jealousy or bitterness toward us. This can even turn into some kind of plot to harm us in some way. These jealousies will motivate people to lie, cheat, misinform, or twist the truth to somehow bring harm to another. It can happen on the job. Victimized by anothers petty jealousies you can loose credibility, your reputation stained, your competence questioned. It can happen in athletics. Remember Tanja Harding. It can happen in relationships like O.J. Simpson or possibly even a Scott Peterson. It can happen in ministry. This week I met with a young man who was just informed on Sunday that his last day with the church after 3 yrs was the following Wednesday. I asked him how it came to this and he said he had no idea it went this far until Sunday. I myself learned of a plan brooding behind the scenes for weeks to release me from my position at the American Ch in London. It hurts and it harms. Daniel was set up by a group of peers, jealous of his God-given abilities so they contrived a plan to destroy him. However, God is in control and there is no need to fear. Eventually these conspirators experienced the very destruction they envisioned for Daniel.

1. JEALOUSY WILL MOTIVATE PEOPLE TO PLOT AGAINST YOU

1-3 Daniel honored by King Darius

Eventually the motive to destroy Daniel comes from his elevation in the new kings court. With successful conquest of Babylon and surrounding territory it is appropriate for new kingdom to organize for law and order as well as tax revenue. 120 Satraps appointed to govern the land with 3 presidents above these with Daniel one of the three. Daniels administrative ability began to outshine everyone else so much so that Darius was ready to appoint Daniel over the whole kingdom. Daniel is about 80 yrs old now like many others who excelled at old age for the work of the kingdom of God (Abe, Moses, Joshua and Caleb). The point of all of this detail is to give the setting for Daniels place of honor. His of course creates tension and friction between Daniel and the others.

4-5 Daniels honor incites jealousy

The quality of service Daniel rendered soon became a barrier to the ambitious princes and leaders. Daniels integrity made it impossible to accuse him of improprieties. His favor with the king aroused the jealousy of his fellow officials. 4 things are said about Daniel: (1) Could find no ground for accusation. (2) No corruption. (3) Loyal to the king. (4) No Negligence. These 4 things should describe our job performance in any job we have. But there was a fifth characteristic of Daniel in vs 5. (5) Loyalty to God which was greater than loyalty to king. While serving the king he would not compromise the Law of God. So they conclude the need to find something against Daniel with regard to Daniels God. Maybe this is a way they can bring an accusation about him to the king.

6-9 Conspirators plot to destroy him

Apparently they quickly hatched a plan and wasted no time, brought it to the king vs 6. Their idea is that no one could pray to anyone else for 30 days. They lied to the king saying all the commissioners had agreed, obviously without Daniels permission. So the king agreed to it, thinking Daniel also agreed to it. Darius may have agreed to this act as a pledge of loyalty to himself and respect for his authority in the kingdom. You can expect to find yourself unexpectedly elevated in some way just like Daniel. Remember that there may be someone who jealously maneuvers behind the scenes against you. But if so, how do we respond? What should we do?

2. OUR LOYALTY TO GOD NOT FEAR OF CONSEQUENCES OF JEALOUS PLOTS GOVERNS OUR RESPONSE

10-11 Daniel continues to pray

After knowing the decree was signed he intentionally broke that law. This was no accident. He intended to do it. Civil disobedience required when the laws demand we break Gods Word. Acts 4:17-20; 5:17, 27-32, 40-42 apostles did the same thing. In both cases you have to be willing to suffer the consequences of breaking the law while obeying God. Jesus remained loyal to the Father while suffering the consequences of breaking the legalistic law of the Jews. Daniels loyalty to God is remarkable. Similar to his 3 companions in chp 3. While Daniels consistency of life and testimony evident throughout book here we learn the inner secret to it all. In spite of the busy pressures and demands on his time he still went home 3 times daily to pray for Jerusalem and his own needs. This had characterized his long life we are told. Notice his prayer life. (1) Prayed in his home privately. (2) Opened windows toward Jerusalem as symbol of hope someday there. (3) Kneeling on his knees (humility). (4) Prayed 3 times a day (all throughout day). (5) It was habitual practice (persistent). No spiritual significance in mechanical acts but can gain insight from these. His enemies anticipated this and observed him. What a testimony that even enemies knew of his faithfulness tho it mite cost him his life.

12-15 Daniel accused before king

After report to king he was deeply distressed (Neb 4:5; Bel 5:6, 9 both were also distressed) seeing thru the purpose for this decree and tried to get Daniel out of trouble. Realizing he made mistake attempts every legal way to find loophole but the decree is binding. You cannot break law of Persians. Law more important than dictator and prevents his overthrow because hes not one with the power, the law is. If he had become a dictator, a law unto himself, the empire then subject to his inconsistencies and would invite rebellion by another dictator. He has no god superior to the law either. So no appeal possible. Legalist worship law of God and laws they add rather than God of the law. Laws, however, show you something of God but God is superior to the Law. God was never confined to His own law like Darius was. Daniel did not have the problem Darius had. He had no problem violating the law of the land which he otherwise followed because of his superior loyalty to God.

16-18 Daniel cast into lions den

Darius could not go beyond his law but the king lets Daniel know in essence, I have tried to save you but have failed. Now your God must save you. Suffering the consequences of loyalty to God can be really hard. People have lost so much to be loyal to God while disloyal to law of the land!

19-23 Daniel delivered from lion den

Apparently the king thot it possible that God would deliver Daniel. Something about Daniel and his rela with his God had involved the king emotionally. He feared that early morning that he mite hear nothing but silence vs 20. Daniel attributes deliverance to Gods power and his innocence of any crime. He did break the law, if the law is the final word. But he did not commit any crime against the heart of God of king. He did nothing against the satraps who hatched this plan.

24-28 Destruction and decree

The ringleaders and families thrown into the lions den. This served notice to the rest if they had any further plots for Daniel. Like Neb in chp 3-4 a decree to fear the God of Daniel. God is honored because Daniel honored God.

(1) God is revealed to unbelievers thru ministry of God to believers as they see that ministry in the flesh, in believers. Ministry is first and foremost incarnational. People will identify God as your God and see your faith at work like Daniel. Whether you like it oir not, you are a representative of God. Darius identified God as the God of Daniel not the God of Israel.

(2) People do not cause your problems. God does. The resolution of your problems is not other people changing. The resolution to your problems is God. Our maturity depends on our ability to have a vertical perspective especially in conflict situations. Daniel did not go to the king he went to God. The satraps jealousy was not the problem. God was in control of this plot and it was Gods business. He had a purpose and Daniel prayed because that is what godly people do when in trouble.

(3) We must remain loyal to God no regardless of the cost. Our part is to stay faithful to God inspite of the consequences that faithfulness may cost us.