Daniel 6. A choice – Seek God, Face the Lions. The Subplots. The lifting of men who serve God wholeheartedly The relationship between a King and the Truth Daniel faced with a choice that will put his life at risk – Seek God Face the Lions The result of faith The result of treachery.
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A choice – Seek God, Face the Lions
Darius rose to power when he slew the previous and famously evil king Gaumata, whom he viewed as an illegitimate king of Persia because of his treachery and deceit. Gaumata had taken lands from many and killed many whom he thought might have known Smerdis, the murdered king he had been impersonating in order to take power.
A close up of “Darius the Great” showing his feet on the body of Gaumata the false king; right hand raised giving thanks to Ahura-Mazda (per inscriptions at Biston)
A close up of “Darius the Great” on a larger than life relief, part of a larger picture of Darius receiving honor
Full view of Biston, the largest stone reliefand inscription in the world, near Kermanshah, tells much of the story of the conquests of Darius
A Close view of the rock relief and inscriptionwith Darius the Great standing in front of his defeated enemies. Fravahar, the symbol of Ahura-Mazda is seen above them.
76 sequential inscriptions and numerous life-size relief carvings tell the story of Darius and his rise to power
Satraps = ساتراپ (Persian) : Provincial Governors
Presidents = סרך
(Chaldee); of foreign origin; an emir: - president.
Jealousy crept in and overtook the other presidents, and satraps (collectively called princes in other historical writings)
Because Daniel was known (cf. Josephus) for not accepting bribes he could not be trapped or tricked into compromise and ruin. His ethics preserved him
But they recognized his commitment to his God and sought to use it against him…
Those who refuse to study history are destined to become history
They saw that he prayed to his God three times a day, and so they sought to entrap him by convincing the king to edict an irrevocable law that all should take a holiday from any petitions before any man or any gods, but the king himself.
Under the guise of “mandating good for all” a “universal break” evil was being concocted towards Daniel AND towards the king.
Deception (what Darius hated) started with flattery and talk of unity, and led to a call for action – you are the one who can lead us! (A call we all long to hear – beware of those who wish to be led as they may simply be wanting you to lead first into the abyss of ill will)
The reference to the irrevocability of Persian/Median/Achaemenid Empire decrees, is corroborated by multiple sources. This was a traditional control to limit the weakness of a king inclined to run from the consequences of a difficult choice, to inspire careful consideration before making a decree, and to assert the quality of “asha” on all the king publicly spoke
Was Daniel’s defiance contrary to the teachings of Paul in Romans 13?
No! He was willing to pay the price. He was not operating outside the system, but rather defying justly and openly, but also peaceably… and he was willing to pay the price. He did not lack respect for the system, rather he could not tolerate its defiance of God’s requirements upon him.
His example of fervent prayer when cost was high, is encouragement to us that should need to pray so much more when the only cost is time.
How comfortable would you be if you were being led into this cage at the zoo, knowing you would stay the night, all alone, just with them and the other 15 or 20?
The King didn’t sleep well…
How about Daniel?
God was about to receive Glory because Daniel, his faithful servant had defied the king’s evil decree and been willing to endure the punishment or consequences it might bring.
This is a practical example of the lesson of Romans 14 – resistance WITHIN the system.
Daniel’s response attributed his preservation to God.
We often pray for things, and even when being preserved we complain of our lack, yet Daniel was thankful for his preservation.
We should also gladly receive and thank him for preservation, so we can be used of God the same way.
The reward of the malicious princes was to discover the wrath of the king. Josephus tells us that they accused him of feeding the Lion’s to save Daniel. So even though he had witnessed a miracle overcoming their treachery, they accused him of orchestrating it. They could not tolerate his (Daniel’s) lording over them, and so their real motives became exceedingly apparent when they had exhausted all reason and began accusing their own king for the failings of their own treachery. They desired to be lifted up and by impure methods they found themselves being thrown down. Josephus tells us that to determine if they were right (the Lion’s were not hungry) he had them and all of their families cast into the Lion’s Den… “overpowered them and broke all their bones…”
Faith in adversity was eventually rewarded with life and prosperity
Contrast this to the treachery which was rewarded with death and tragedy