I am getting ready to teach this Sunday to my Sunday School class. This has been a neat month walking through the Old Testament. Here are the previous lessons that we have covered:
- David’s humility and Goliath’s pride
- David’s repentance
- Naaman’s salvation
- Jesus explained by Isaiah
Last Sunday, we covered the prophecies of Isaiah about the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. Isaiah revealed the “Good News” of the coming Messiah. Jesus was coming to reconcile people with God. Not only that, He was going to teach people how to walk with God once they reconnected with Him. Upon learning this good news, we were challenged to share this with at least 1 person this week.
This week, we are going to focus on Daniel 6, the faithfulness of Daniel, especially in the face of persecution. Previously, I have written on the prophesies of Daniel and you can read the articles here.
I. Background on Daniel
Daniel was born in about 620 B.C., roughly 600 years before the birth of Jesus Christ. When he was about 15 years old, the king of Babylon, King Nebuchadnezzar, attacked Jerusalem and took Daniel as a captive. Daniel spent the rest of his life in Babylon. During those 15 years that Daniel had with his parents, they had invested heavily in his spiritual life, teaching him the Word of God. They did such a good job teaching Daniel the Word that once he was removed from their care, he remained faithful to that teaching. Daniel’s given name means “God is my judge”. Upon arriving in Babylon, Daniel’s name was changed to “Belteshazzar”. This new name means “lord protector of life”. In other words, the One, True God who once judged (protected) you no longer can protect you because you have been taken captive. Now, our pagan god will protect you. Give up your God and follow our god. They changed Daniel’s name but they did not change his faith in God. They changed his language, his education, even tried to change his diet. Daniel would not defile himself with the king’s unclean (from a Biblical perspective) food. He stood firm on God’s Word. He was not alone. He had a few like-minded friends who remained faithful to God with him. Daniel remained a student of the Word of God all of his life in captivity. He was obedient to God all of his life. Not only was he a good student of the Word and obedient to God, he also taught others to connect with God and be faithful to Him. He proclaimed God to the people in Daniel 1. He proclaimed God to the people and the king in Daniel 2. He proclaimed God to king Darius in Daniel 6. In fact, Daniel served under 4 different kings and 2 different world empires. He was faithful till the end.
II. Daniel’s faithfulness to earthly leaders
Since Daniel was a man who had connected with God and been taught to walk with Him on a daily basis, he was faithful to earthly leadership. This is one of the things that God teaches us when we walk with Him, to be obedient to Him, to be faithful to Him, and to be faithful to our authorities here on the earth. Daniel understood that truth and demonstrated that through his actions. Because of Daniel’s faithfulness, he was recognized by leadership and given responsibilities, position, and authority. In fact, the king wanted to make Daniel ruler over the entire kingdom to carry out his responsibilities. Of course, there were other people who were jealous of Daniel’s work ethic and they wanted his power and position, even though they were not as responsible or as equipped as he was for the job. Daniel received his position because God wanted him there. These men wanted to attain their position instead of receiving it.
These men had studied Daniel’s life and they knew that they did not have grounds to make any accusations against him. So, they decided to trap Daniel by tricking the king to make an idolatrous decree. These men knew that Daniel prayed to the Lord three times a day, so they had the king decree that all people had to pray to him alone over the next 30 days. Daniel knew of the decree and now had to make a choice; either remain faithful to God or, give in to the authority figures whom he served.
III. Daniel’s faithfulness to God
As I mentioned in the previous section, Daniel now has to make a choice. He chose correctly, as he had been taught to do from his childhood. Daniel continued to pray to God during those 30 days. He did not try to cover up his actions. He continued to pray openly as he had always done. The king reluctantly took Daniel to be punished. The king had to keep his word and the decree that he had made. Daniel was thrown in a lions’ den. The king spent the night fasting, praying, and worrying about Daniel. The next morning, the king ran to find out if Daniel survived. Daniel was alive. Daniel gave glory to God for his rescue and proclaimed the glory of God once again. God protected (judged) Daniel, just like his original name meant.
As a result of Daniel’s faithfulness and testimony, the king began to praise God. Not only that, king Darius also began to proclaim God to all of his people. Daniel was successful under Darius’ rule, as well as the king of followed him, king Cyrus.
What about you my dear friend, are faithful to God? Have you been taught the Word of God? Are you being faithful to your earthly authority figures? Are you seeking to proclaim God to the people around you, no matter what your position is? When faithfulness to God costs you, are you willing to maintain your faithfulness? May the Lord help us proclaim God to others so that they begin to proclaim Him too!