Making Sense of Daniel
Chapter 6: Stopped the Mouths of Lions
“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.”
“Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions,”
- Though the Babylonian Empire ended with Belshazzar in chapter five, Daniel is still alive and well.
- The sixth chapter, an event during the reign of Darius, is the last event before the prophecies begin.
- The character of Daniel is fully tested and proved in this challenging chapter for our own lives today.
The PROMOTION (Dan 6:1-3)
- Taken captive out of Israel early in the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, God preserved and prospered Daniel through many changes in the monarchy and empire (1:1-7; 5:1; 6:1).
- Darius organized the huge Persian Empire under three presidents and 120 princes.
- A little later under Ahasuerus, the Empire had 127 provinces (Esther 1:1; 8:9).
- The presidents were responsible for the princes and integrity of the provinces.
- Daniel had the most important position of these three presidents (2:48-49; 5:29).
- When Darius saw Daniel’s superiority, he intended to promote him over the empire.
- Daniel had an excellent spirit, which is invaluable in commerce and politics.
- But this preference for Daniel raised the jealousy of the presidents and princes.
- An excellent spirit should be the goal of every saint (Pr 17:27), which will cause others to favor them with honor and promotion (I Sam 18; Luke 2:52; Pro 17:2).
The CONSPIRACY (Dan 6:4-9)
- The other presidents and the princes wanted to find dirt on Daniel to have him deposed.
- The hearts of men are instinctively envious and jealous. Let it not be true of us!
- We must keep God’s doctrine unspotted (II Sam 12:14; Matt 5 16; I Cor 10:32; Phil 1:27; 2:15; I Tim 5:14; 6:2; Titus 2:5,8-10; I Pet 2:12; 3:16; 4:14-16).
- Consider the impeccable character and performance Daniel had in his conduct.
- They were reduced to finding fault with him for his religion (I Peter 4:14-16).
- Because he was faultless in office, they conspired to pass a law against his religion.
- They flattered the king, though their only thoughts were envy against Daniel.
- They claimed a great majority, though the plot was likely far less than universal.
- They professed great respect for the law, though they were undermining it then.
- They flattered the king again by suggesting that he deify himself for thirty days.
- They can suggest harsh penalties when the crime is against saints and godliness.
- They use legal means to accomplish their wicked ends to be deceitful and sly.
- They request the unalterable law of the empire, though they were changing one.
- These actions are typical of the ungodly in their relentless hatred of the godly.
- No wise government would ever have laws that were unchangeable, for it is sheer folly.
- Wisdom and understanding are the abilities to discern changing situations.
- Esther asked Ahasuerus for another commandment (Esther 1:19; 8:1-14).
- Darius, showing the weakness of his character, signs the ridiculous provision into law.
- This was a horribly onerous new law, as it caused sacrilege to all worshippers.
- But it bought the king, for it played to his lusts and smothered his wisdom.
- It was not uncommon for kings of the east to take divine titles and privileges.
- True wisdom would include the ability to discern and perceive their evil envy.
The TRAP (Dan 6:10-17)
- When the law was in place, the presidents and princes spied on Daniel to catch him.
- Daniel did not alter his praying at all, though he knew the law had been signed.
- He prayed toward Jerusalem as Solomon had taught Israel (I Kings 8:30-50).
- Daniel prayed three times a day (Psalm 55:17; Acts 2:15; 3:1; 10:3,9,30).
- He included thanksgiving with his prayers, as we are taught (Philippians 4:6-7).
- He was not afraid of the king’s commandment (Daniel 3:16-18; Heb 11:27).
- The wicked conspirators hold Darius to the new law in order to condemn Daniel.
- There was no fault in Daniel, so they had passed a law to condemn his religion.
- They have no heart for legal compliance – they only want to get rid of Daniel.
- Observe one race in our nation totally ignore another race living on reservations.
- Observe hate crimes applied only against one race and one sexual orientation.
- You can go to jail for killing unwanted kittens, but laws protect baby mutilators.
- They accuse Daniel to the king as having broken the newly established Persian law.
- “That Daniel” is their hateful way of introducing their victim to the king.
- They point out his origin as a captive Jew, rather than his character of 70 years.
- They twist his prayers to be a personal and aggravated attack against Darius.
- They twist his prayers to be a flagrant and aggravated attack the laws of Persia.
- They emphasize the number of prayers to exaggerate his violation of the law.
- Darius was ashamed and angry that he had been duped so easily by these envious men.
- The words of his mouth had trapped him into condemning Daniel (Prov 6:2).
- There will be a time of reckoning for all foolishness (Pr 14:15; 22:3; Ps 36:2).
- He committed himself to undo his foolishness, but that is not always possible.
- The evil men enforced the law against Daniel, though they did not truly reverence it.
- Foolish king Darius had to obey the law and have Daniel cast into the lions’ den.
- Darius, who knew Daniel and his religion well, put his trust in Daniel’s God!
- The lions’ den was sealed with multiple signets, so Daniel could not be saved.
The DELIVERANCE (Dan 6:18-23)
- Darius spent the night fasting and grieving for his faithful and loyal servant Daniel.
- When it was morning, Darius went very early to check on the status of Daniel.
- This great king cried with a lamentable voice to his faithful servant Daniel.
- He asks if the living God, whom Daniel served faithfully, had saved him.
- And from the dark recesses of the lions’ den comes Daniel respectful answer!
- Daniel explained to the king that God’s angels had shut the lions’ mouths against him.
- Daniel confessed his innocence before God, which had brought His deliverance.
- And he confessed his innocence before the king, which the Lord well knew also.
- Daniel is saved from the lions’ den without harm, by his faith (Hebrews 11:27).
The PUNISHMENT (Dan 6:24)
- The wicked men, who had conspired mischief in the kingdom, were thrown to the lions.
- The laws of the Medes and Persians were not so inviolate as you might think!
- So was fulfilled God’s rule about punishing false witnesses (Deut 19:18-20).
- So was fulfilled God’s wisdom of hurt on your own head (Ps 7:16; Pr 26:27).
- Do you remember Haman’s death by another Persian king (Esther 7:10)?
- Their wives and children were thrown in with them to magnify the lesson to all citizens.
- Those little wives and children should have thought to tell Darius of the plot.
- Typical of eastern despots, it was also Scriptural (Num 16:23-24; Josh 7:24-25).
- God only condemned the practice for ordinary and personal sins (Deut 24:16).
- This punishment is fitting for aggravated offences – as the Flood (Gen 7:21-22), Egypt (Ex 11:1-6), Canaan (Deut 2:34; 3:6), and Jerusalem (Luke 23:27-31).
- Do you remember the death of Haman’s sons by a Persian king (Esther 9:13-14).
- The lions destroyed these sinners by breaking every bone before they hit the bottom.
- Maybe Daniel’s enemies excused his rescue by claiming the lions were full!
- These lions were neither weak, nor faint, nor full, nor distracted from their work.
- Sounds just like what happened to the mightiest men in the army (Dan 3:20-22).
- The lion is one of the LORD’s greatest creations (Pr 30:30). Give Him glory!
- A male lion may be 10 feet by 4 feet and 500 lbs (largest: 11 x 700)!
- A male lion has a vertical jump of 12 feet and horizontal of 36 feet!
- Lions have 30 teeth and can hit 50 mph for short distances! Look out!
- A lion’s forebody is so strong that its forepaws can break a zebra’s back!
- Its roar is so loud that it can be heard five miles away! It will scare you!
- A lion can hear prey one mile away, and they have eyesight 5 times ours!
- The Lord Jesus Christ is the Lion of the tribe of Judah (Revelation 5:5).
The CONCLUSION (Dan 6:25-28)
- King Darius wrote a new decree to the Persian Empire exalting Daniel’s God.
- Consider this proclamation going forth in all the known world for a witness!
- He made a commandment to tremble and fear before the God of heaven!
- He described Him as the living and perpetual God with eternal dominion!
- He described His glorious power to rescue and deliver in heaven and earth!
- He told of His power to rescue Daniel even from the Persian lions’ den! Glory!
- God blessed Daniel to continue prospering in the reigns of Darius and of Cyrus (10:1).
- The excellent spirit of Daniel, so that strangers promoted him, should be our constant and exciting goal.
- The integrity of Daniel, so that no fault could be found in him, should be our constant and exciting goal!
- The courage of Daniel, so he would not compromise his religion, should be a constant and exciting goal.
- The faith of Daniel, believing he would be delivered from lions, should be a constant and exciting goal.
- The envy of evil men and their false pretensions to destroy the godly should not surprise us at all.
- The value of wisdom and prudence, which Darius lacked, should cause us to always be circumspect.
- God will turn the way of the wicked upon their own heads some day, so let us leave vengeance to Him!