Monday, October 29, 2012

Daniel 6 - Shutting the Lions' Mouths and the Bottom Line

LINK: Daniel 6


BACKGROUND
The Chronological Order of the Book of Daniel 
Daniel 1–4:
Captivity and interpretation of dreams and visions (Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar) 
Daniel 7:
Vision of the four beasts (Babylon, Belshazzar) 
Daniel 8:
Vision of the ram and he-goat (Babylon, Belshazzar) 
Daniel 5:     
Belshazzar’s feast—conquest of Babylon (Babylon, Belshazzar) 
Daniel 9:
Vision of the seventy weeks (Persia, Darius) 
Daniel 6:
Daniel in the lions’ den (Persia, Darius) 
Daniel 10–12:
Daniel’s prayer and visions (Persia, Cyrus)   
(Wiersbe, W. W. (2000). Be resolute (9). Colorado Springs, Colo.: Victor.)Be resolute (9). Colorado Springs, Colo.: Victor.)
There is much debate about King Darius because there is no historical evidence for his reign outside of the Bible. Here are three possible explanations:
1) Darius may be another word for Cyrus. Daniel 6:28 may be translated, "So Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius even the reign of Cyrus the Persian." It was common for ancient rulers to use different names in various parts of their realms (D.J. Wiseman, "Some Historical Problems in the Book of Daniel," in Notes on Some Problems in the Book of Daniel, pp. 12-14). 
2) Darius may be Ugbaru, the conqueror of Babylon. He was appointed by Cyrus at the age of 62 and died a few weeks after the conquest and eight days after Cyrus' arrival on November 6 (Wiilam H. Shea, "Darius the Mede: An Update," Andrews University Seminary Studies 20, Autumn 1982, pp.229-47).

3) Darius was Cambyses, Cyrus' son. He ruled Persia from 530-522 B.C. (Charles Boutflower, In and Around the Book of Daniel, 1977, pp.142-55.).
 
(The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures, 1:1347)
By the way, this Darius the Mede is not to be confused with Darius I mentioned in Ezra, Haggai, and Zechariah or Darius II (Persian) mentioned in Nehemiah.

The other two administrators and 120 satraps appointed by Darius were probably jealous of Daniel's equal position with them and resented him because he was a Judean. Because Daniel did nothing to warrant criticism, they had to accuse him of something. They knew Daniel would not worship Darius. So, they had Darius make a rule that those who did not worship him would be thrown in the lions' den. Of course, Daniel worshiped God alone and Darius was bound to throw him into the lions' den even though it greatly distressed him (5:6, 9). God miraculously shut the lions' mouths, and Daniel was not harmed. Darius is overjoyed and throws Daniel's accusers and their families into the den.

There are two levels to this story. The first is that God has miraculous power to protect people ("top line" blessing), but the "bottom line" of this story is that "all the peoples, nations and men of every language throughout the land" heard of the God of Daniel because of Darius' proclamation:
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.
(Daniel 6:26-27)
God was glorified among the peoples of the earth! This is the "bottom line" of this great story!

REFLECTION

What is all this "top line - bottom line" stuff? Here is a short video that explains a bit of it:


This just gets me so excited! Please watch it!!!

Here is also more from . . . 

CHARACTERISTICS OF DANIEL
He realized that he had a work to do 
Like Joseph in Egypt, Daniel didn’t complain about his lot in life but tried with God’s help to make the best use of it. He knew that the sovereign Lord whom he trusted had a special plan for his life and he sought to fulfill it. He didn’t campaign for promotions; the Lord brought them to him. He did his work well, he was a faithful and dependable servant, and even his enemies couldn’t find anything to criticize (Dan. 6:1–5). If anybody deserved the divine approval of Jesus found in Matthew 25:21, it was Daniel. 
Daniel was both a government employee and a prophet of the Lord. God gave him his high position so he could use it to serve the Lord and the Lord’s people. The record doesn’t tell us, but there may have been many times when Daniel represented the Jewish captives before the king and helped to make life easier for them. He may have influenced the decision of Cyrus to allow the Jews to go back home. We need dedicated believers in places of authority, men and women who can be examples of godliness and instruments of righteousness. 

He had a disciplined prayer life

Jewish people were accustomed to pray at nine o’clock in the morning, noon, and three o’clock in the afternoon, the third, sixth, and ninth hours of the day, and Daniel carried that discipline with him to Babylon. Those who set aside special times of prayer are more likely to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thes. 5:17), for the special times of prayer help to sanctify all times and keep us in touch with God. 
When Daniel and his friends needed to know Nebuchadnezzar’s dream and understand it, they gave themselves to prayer, and when the Lord gave them the answer, they prayed further and thanked Him (Dan. 2:14–23).  When Daniel’s life was in danger, he went to his home and prayed, and the Lord delivered him from the lions (6:10). Frequently Daniel asked the Lord or His messengers for wisdom to understand the visions the Lord gave to him. Daniel depended on prayer. 
In the church today, it seems that many people turn to prayer only when everything else has failed. Their translation of Psalm 46:1 is, “God is our last refuge when our own strength is gone and we don’t have anywhere else to turn.” What a tragedy! A.W. Tozer used to say, “Whatever God can do, faith can do, and whatever faith can do prayer can do, when it is offered in faith.”1 Daniel not only prayed alone but he also prayed with his friends, because he knew the value of two or three believers assembling together to cry out to God. “I’d rather be able to pray than to be a great preacher,” said evangelist D.L. Moody; “Jesus Christ never taught His disciples how to preach, but only how to pray.” 
1 A.W. Tozer, The Set of the Sail (Christian Publications), 33. 
Wiersbe, W. W. (2000). Be resolute (151). Colorado Springs, Colo.: Victor.
APPLICATION

Dialogue with God about His glory spreading throughout the whole earth and what part you might play in that!

PRAYER

Lord, we praise You for Your power to shut the lions' mouth, and that Your glory will spread throughout the whole earth! Amen.
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