We are to obey the law of the land, correct? Daniel openly disobeyed. Could Daniel not have closed the windows and prayed? Also, this law was only a thirty-day law. Could Daniel not have omitted praying for thirty days? He would not have gone to hell for discontinuing praying for thirty days, would he? Instead, he did exactly what he always did in front of the opened windows. What would you or I have done? Shut the Windows Daniel.
DANIEL AND TROUBLE
By Delbert Young
Shut the Windows Daniel (Daniel chapter 6)
Shut the Windows, Daniel
Scriptures: Daniel 6, Hebrews 11:33, Revelation 21:8, Romans 12:19, Matthew 7:1-2, Daniel 6:26-28
In this session, we see the attempted political assassination of Daniel. People around politics and politicians seem to be in constant trouble. Also, we will note the effects of being prejudice. We will note some important points about purpose, vengeance, and the kingdom.
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, were cast into the fiery furnace because they refused to bow to false religion. Daniel is cast into a lion’s den because he bowed to his God. Both they, and he, displayed to us the working of faith in their lives. Faith is the hope that if we do what we are supposed to do, God will do for us what he said he would do.
I. EXCELLENT SPIRIT
A. New Government
This chapter is in proper order as it follows Daniel chapter 5. A short period of time, if any, passed between the chapters. After Belshazzar was executed (Dan 5:30, 31), Darius began establishing his new form of government. The government was established with one hundred and twenty princes (governors) over the entire empire (v. 1). Each prince would have his own district. They were to listen to the problems of the people, judge, maintain peace, and collect taxes. Over the one hundred and twenty princes were set three presidents. Daniel was one of these three presidents (v. 2). The duty of the three presidents was to oversee the one hundred and twenty princes making sure king Darius should have no damage. That simply meant that the three presidents saw to it that the king maintained the image of love and concern for his subjects. The presidents were to make certain the one hundred and twenty princes did their duties and that no one “skimmed” from the tax money. The structure of the government was king Darius, the three presidents, the one hundred and twenty princes, then the various leaders under the one hundred and twenty princes.
As the government progressed, Daniel became obviously superior when compared to the other presidents. Darius decided to set him over the whole realm. The other presidents and many of the princes did not want Daniel in that position. One reason was they were prejudice. They referred to Daniel as, That Daniel, which is of the children of the captivity of Judah. Being prejudice will cause us trouble. The prejudice person may initially cause problems and lions’ den trouble for those that are prejudice toward, but in the end they and their families are the ones devoured by the lions.
C. Daniel had an excellent spirit
Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit was in him (v. 3). What does an excellent spirit mean? We often hear that Daniel possessed an excellent spirit, but I have never heard anyone put that into practicality. The excellent spirit is often spoken of in youth gatherings, but here in chapters five and six (5:12; 6:3), where the excellent spirit is mentioned, Daniel is nearly ninety years of age. What does an excellent spirit mean? It means Daniel had developed exceptional qualities (NIV). It means that Daniel possessed great ability (TLB). It means that those qualities and abilities began distinguishing Daniel (NASU). The Hebrew word for excellent is yattiyr (Strong’s #3493) and means “preeminent.” The Hebrew word for spirit is (Strong’s #7308) ruwach meaning “wind and life.” Daniel breathed life. Daniel breathed a life was preeminent and vibrant because he had developed exceptional qualities which distinguished him.
Let’s list some excellent qualities that would impress a king. Certainly honesty would be among the first. We could then add a pleasant attitude. Daniel was definitely stable. He was an oak and not a willow. Undoubtedly Daniel was faithful to his position. Intelligence, pleasant appearance, and cleanliness would be among the list. Productivity and job performance must be included. Consistency would absolutely be among these exceptional qualities. An excellent spirit is not obtained overnight especially if you shut the windows.
1. Good man
I was given a tremendous compliment this past Thanksgiving. We always go to my wife’s relatives for Thanksgiving supper. At this gathering, many people come each year. The husband of one of my wife’s sisters always brings his aged dad. This year the gentleman was ninety-two years old. Every year since I can remember he has come and sat and talked. This past year I didn’t get to talk to him much because I was taking care of my grandson who has just begun to walk. I was busy following my grandson around the house. As the evening came to its conclusion, the old gentleman stood to leave. As he passed by me, he looked in my eyes and said, “I hope to see you next time.” I suppose when you are ninety-two, you are not really sure about “next time.” Then he said, continuing to look me in the eyes, “You are a good man.” I was taken back by the comment. He then repeated the statement saying, “You are a good man.” I thanked him, shook his hand, and he went out the door assisted by his cane and his son. I pondered the words he had spoken to me. I realized that he did not make that statement because he observed me that one night. He had observed me for decades. Years ago we had worked in the same cotton mill. He knew me in my B.C. years. He had observed me with my wife before we had children. He had observed me with my own children. He watched me with my grandchild. I had passed his test and to him, at least, I am a good man. To me, he was saying, “Delbert, you have some exceptional qualities. You are developing an excellent spirit. You are not an average man. You are a good man.”
My point is an excellent spirit is developed over a lifetime. It is a developing of abilities and qualities that distinguish the person from others. However, that person will go through all manners of trouble. That person will make many mistakes, but if the trouble and mistakes are handled correctly, will breathe out an excellent spirit.
Daniel possessed exceptional qualities. Daniel was a good man or even an excellent man. Daniel had experienced many troubles. Yet, Daniel breathed good and excellence. Daniel had allowed the troubles to make him better and not bitter. Though Daniel was a Jew and in Babylon a member of the minority, he was distinguished because he had developed an excellent spirit. It was the exceptional abilities and qualities that Daniel’s “boss” noticed and I do not mean only king Darius. These obvious qualities brought the king to a place of desiring to set Daniel over the whole realm (v. 3). This would mean that except for Darius that Daniel would make more money, have more influence, and have more authority than anyone in the empire. If Daniel wanted, he could have the nicest house, the best chariot, clothes, and anything else he wanted. The end of the chapter says, this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius, and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian. Daniel prospered because he had developed an excellent spirit.
2. An excellent spirit will cause trouble
It was because of the excellent spirit that Daniel found himself in trouble. Because a person develops and possesses an excellent spirit, everyone else does not appreciate and love that person. It does not seem that it should be this way, but I guarantee that life is this way. Daniel was in trouble in chapter one because he was beautiful and intelligent. He experienced trouble again in chapter six because he had an excellent spirit. Daniel out shined the other presidents. Instead of the other presidents raising their personal abilities to shine as did Daniel, it seemed easier instead to destroy Daniel.
Like it or not, this is life. The underachievers are ceaselessly jealous of the achievers. We see this in politics without fail. The frontrunner in a political race becomes the target for the others to shoot down using words of defamation. We see it among siblings. One brother or sister is an achiever while the others only talk about them and attempt to destroy them (Joseph). It will happen at work. If several people are aspiring for a promotion, the underachiever will find some way to slander the achiever. Our flesh tells us this action somehow makes us better. In actuality, it makes us even less than we thought we were. It happens among preachers. The disciples were constantly asking which of them was the greatest. Sadly, it happens in churches. This is especially true when deacons and pastors are elected by popular vote. It also happens when a woman becomes jealous of another woman, or a man becomes jealous of another man.
The point we see is that an excellent spirit will cause us trouble.
II. THE PLOT
A. NONE OCCASION NOR FAULT
King Darius was in the process of placing Daniel over the other presidents. However, the otherpresidents did not want Daniel over them. First those jealous of Daniel sought to find occasion against Daniel, but they could find none occasion nor fault. Is not that a wonderful testimony? They looked at Daniel’s life and could find no fault. He paid his bills. He was honest. He wasn’t married, but had he been, he would have been a wonderful husband and a great father. We know this would be true because every area of Daniel’s life was in order. His enemies could not find an area to be negative about Daniel.
1. We are scrutinized – written epistles
Daniel’s life was observed. People were provoked by Daniel’s excellent qualities in two ways. Some responded positively and became better people. Others scrutinized Daniel to discover some fault. If we, for one moment, do not believe that people watch us every place we go we are not wise. If we do not believe that people listen to every word we say, then we are not very wise. They compare what we say to how we pay our bills, treat our spouse, love our children. They notice how our children behave in public. People notice if we get to work on time, perform our jobs, if we are honest, etc. They watch our children to see if they do their school work and listen to our children’s mouths. They notice the cars we drive, the houses in which we live, the clothes we wear. Paul said our lives are written epistles (letters) known and read of all men (2Co 3:2). If we do not think that people want us to fail simply because of what we believe, then again, we are not very wise.
B. The Plan
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. They could not find anything in his personal life to bring him down. Perhaps they could defile him because of his belief. A very complicated and well-thought out plan was devised. Darius wanted the people in his kingdom to believe that he could and would provide their needs. The reason it appears this way is because this is the place that the underachievers set the trap for Daniel. To stop Daniel from acquiring a position of authority over the other presidents, the underachievers were able to persuade king Darius to make a thirty-day decree which said that any person asking anything from any god or any man other than Darius would be cast into the den of lions. As we read the story, we see that Darius was not a cruel man. He obviously wanted the people to trust him and he wanted his empire to bless the people. The decree was made. Verse eight says the decree was made according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not. That simply meant once it was law there would be no way to reverse it.
The trap was set. Not much time was necessary to catch the prey.
1. When Daniel knew . . .
The Bible says, 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 (Dan 6:10). Daniel was not caught off guard. Daniel was not ignorant of Satan’s devices (2Co 2:11). Knowing that he would be arrested and thrown into a lion’s den, Daniel still prayed. Daniel, as was his practice, went into his house with open windows and prayed. He did not only pray once. His commitment was to pray three times every day. This day was no different.
This challenges me. Praying three times a day does not challenge me, but knowing the law had been signed and that a lion’s den awaited challenges me. Daniel did not alter one little bit.
2. Shut the windows, Daniel
There were several ways this lion’s den trouble could have been avoided. Was this not the “law of the land?” Daniel was a president and sworn to uphold the law. We are to obey the law of the land, correct? Daniel openly disobeyed. Could Daniel not have closed the windows and prayed? Also, the law was only a thirty-day law. Could Daniel not have omitted praying for thirty days? He would not have gone to hell for discontinuing praying for thirty days, would he? Or, could he not have gone to a secret place and prayed? He was a man of means. He could have taken a vacation, gone to any place in the empire for thirty days. Daniel could have gone to some resort away from those that watched and prayed all day long if he desired. Instead, he did exactly what he always did in front of the opened windows. What would you or I have done?
I pondered why Daniel did not avoid the trouble. As I evaluated the passage and continued reading, I came to verse seventeen. Daniel was sealed inside the lion’s den. Then the verse says…. that the purpose might not be changed concerning Daniel. It means that Daniel’s situation could not be changed and that no one could rescue Daniel. To me, it said this was all a part of Daniel’s purpose. He must go through sealed trouble. It could have been avoided, but Daniel went through it. Jesus could have avoided the cross, but are we not glad he did not avoid it. Noah was not forced to build the ark. Paul was not forced to go to Rome. Moses was not obligated to speak to the burning bush. They all could have closed the windows. However, they all went through trouble that should have taken them out, but didn’t. Because Daniel went through that trouble, the entire empire not only heard about the God of Daniel, but the kingdom of the God of Daniel. Daniel could have avoided the lion’s den. The situation could have been changed concerning Daniel. But instead, Daniel preached a message to eternity. This happened twenty-five hundred years ago and we continue to be awed by it today.
We all have a purpose. What is our purpose? Most likely, a part of our purpose will lead us to alion’s den. We can avoid it. What is your purpose? It probably involves a lion’s den. Will you shut the windows? Or will you experience the resurrection from the thing that should destroy you?
3. Not ashamed
I could say a lot here. Daniel was not ashamed. We see Daniel, knowing that he could easily avoid the lion’s den, but instead prays openly. He was not ashamed of what he believed. I watch believers today who can’t get their hands clapping or lifted. I watch believers today ashamed to shout even in a congregation where a shout is common. Some can’t rejoice. Some can’t pray in public. Some can’t witness. I worry what would we do if we were faced with a lion’s den?
Daniel knew he was being watched, not only by his enemies, but watched by his friends as well. How many people had Daniel told about his God? Those people were watching. The king would be watching also. He needed to be won. Of course Daniel’s enemies were watching. They wanted to be able to say that Daniel was a hypocrite and a liar. Daniel displayed that his love of God was real and more important than death. But Daniel, you can still love God, simply shut the windows. Logically that is true. However, we all know in our spirits that had Daniel shut the windows that he would not be walking by faith. Hebrews 11:33 says, Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions. There is a verse in the Revelation that has always fascinated me, well, the first part of the verse fascinated me. I am referring to Revelation 21:8.
Revelation 21:8 But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
The verse speaks about those who will experience the lake of fire. I understand most of the list. It’s the first description listed that I had difficulty. The fearful (cowardly NIV) are listed along with the unbelieving, the abominable, murderers, whoremongers, sorcerers, idolaters, and liars. That doesn’t seem fair. The truth of the matter is that it is extremely important to put our lives where our mouths are. I say my God can do anything. Do I believe it? People heard me say that, but when I shut the windows, what do they see that I really believe?
III. Sealed Trouble that no man or money can deliver from
Though king Darius attempted to reverse the decree, he could not. Daniel was placed into the lion’s den. A stone was placed at the entrance of the den as a stone more than five hundred and fifty years later would be set at the tomb of Jesus. Also, as would happen with Jesus, the den was sealed with the king’s own signet, and with the signet of his lords. There is trouble we have or will go into that no one can rescue us. Not even king Darius’s power could rescue Daniel. There is trouble from which money can’t get us delivered. There is sealed trouble. This is not ordinary trouble. This is trouble that can take us out of this life. I am talking about trouble.
A. A night with the lion’s
Daniel spent the night in the lion’s den. The next morning the king came to see if Daniel was alive. Though the king had attempted to encourage Daniel by saying, Thy God whom thou servest continually, he will deliver thee, the king actually did not believe it. Darius approached the sealed lion’s den saying with a lamentable (anguished NIV) voice, O Daniel, servant of the living God, is thy God, whom thou servest continually, able to deliver thee from the lions? I have done the exact same thing. I have seen people in a sealed lion’s den that I was positive would destroy them. I said, God will deliver thee, but I really didn’t believe it. Perhaps my spirit did, but my mind certainly did not believe. However, they made it and walked out of that den.
As Darius spoke to see if Daniel would reply from behind the sealed stone, Darius heard Daniel say, My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions’ mouths, that they have not hurt me.
Vengeance was executed upon those who attempted to destroy Daniel. Daniel had to do nothing except believe and trust the Lord. Because of the lion’s den incident, the entire empire heard of Daniel and the God of Daniel.
Romans 12:19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.
Matthew 7:1 Judge not, that ye be not judged.
Matthew 7:2 For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
We must be very cautious about judging others and looking for faults in others. The measure that we judge them can destroy us.
Our purpose at Life Gate Church is to preach the gospel of the kingdom of God. We say we will use any means to accomplish that purpose. We also say we will never compromise the truth. But, what if we were faced with a lion’s den? Would we close the windows? Daniel, through his trouble preached the gospel of the kingdom. As we end this series of lessons, I want to read Daniel chapter 6:26, 27.
Daniel 6:26 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.
Daniel 6:27 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.
Daniel 6:28 So this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius, and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian.
We can be as Daniel and prosper if we refuse to shut the windows. As I come to the end of my days, I want to be like Daniel. I want people to know that I am beautiful and intelligent. I cared how I looked and I cared that I was intelligent. I want to know the God of dreams and have a dream. I want to have friends that go through fiery furnaces with the Son of man. I want to help people keep their minds and avoid seven times. I want to read the handwriting on the wall. I want to go through lions’ dens and prosper.
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