Over the past couple of weeks at Southern Calvert Baptist Church, we have been learning about Daniel. His life is powerful. The reason that his life is powerful is because he never compromised in the little things. When Daniel was a child, he was taught the Word of God. His parents had a few short years with him but, they did such a wonderful job impacting his life in a positive manner that, he was faithful in the little things for the rest of his life. Daniel was taken prisoner to Babylon when he was around 15 years old. That means that his mother and father had about 15 short years to invest in this boy. They did it so well that Daniel became a champion of the faith. As I mentioned earlier, the secret to Daniel’s success was the fact that he did not compromise on the little things. As a teen, living in a foreign land, learning a new language and culture, even having his name changed from a godly name to a pagan name, Daniel chose to remain faithful to the Lord. He was also an influencer. All of the other teens taken captive to Babylon began to compromise on the little things. Daniel did not compromise on the little things. He also influenced three other Hebrew boys in such a way that they learned not to compromise on the little things. All of the other Hebrew kids began to compromise on the little things right away. These little compromises will inevitably lead to bigger compromises. Daniel and his friends chose not to eat the food that was considered unclean by the Old Testament Law of Moses. The rest of the Hebrew kids had no problem making this compromise. In Daniel chapter 3, those same Hebrew kids are older now and as adults, they had no problem compromising on the big things. They all bowed down and worshiped king Nebuchadnezzar’s false idol. Daniel’s three friends, since they learned not to compromise on the little things, also chose not to compromise on the big things either. They were ready to pay the price with their lives. God spared them and saved them from the fiery furnace.
In this lesson, we will focus on Daniel chapter 6. Daniel is an adult now, living out his faith openly in this foreign, pagan land. Daniel is going to have the chance to compromise in a little thing. It seems very minor but, as we established earlier, if a person will compromise in the little things, it will definitely lead to compromising in bigger things.
I. Daniel’s Faithfulness
As I mentioned earlier, Daniel learned faith from his parents. He lived by that faith all of his life. He also lived out that faith all the days of his life.
1 It seemed good to Darius to appoint 120 satraps over the kingdom, that they would be in charge of the whole kingdom,
2 and over them three commissioners (of whom Daniel was one ), that these satraps might be accountable to them, and that the king might not suffer loss.
3 Then this Daniel began distinguishing himself among the commissioners and satraps because he possessed an extraordinary spirit, and the king planned to appoint him over the entire kingdom. (Daniel 6)
Daniel’s faith impacted his work ethic and every one of his relationships. Daniel was an extraordinarily hard worker and that was a direct result of his faith, his personal relationship with God. Daniel was disciplined in personal Bible study and prayer on a daily basis all the days of his life. That discipline also impacted his work ethic in the secular world. King Darius, a pagan king, realized that there was something different about Daniel. He was a trustworthy worker because he had a servant’s heart in all areas of his life. Daniel moved up the ranks rather quickly because every boss is always looking for a trustworthy manager and king Darius found that person to be Daniel. Now, faithfulness does not come without a price. Lack of compromise in the little things does not come without a cost. In fact, the Apostle Paul wrote of this price many years after Daniel when he wrote a letter to his disciple, Timothy.
Indeed, all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted. (II Timothy 3:12)
Daniel was in the middle of living a godly life and as a result, he had enemies. These people were his enemies because, unlike Daniel, these people were ready and willing to compromise on both the little and the big things. They follow Daniel around for a period of time seeking to catch him doing something shady. After following Daniel around for a period of time, check out what their conclusion is:
4 Then the commissioners and satraps began trying to find a ground of accusation against Daniel in regard to government affairs; but they could find no ground of accusation or evidence of corruption, inasmuch as he was faithful, and no negligence or corruption was to be found in him.
5 Then these men said, “We will not find any ground of accusation against this Daniel unless we find it against him with regard to the law of his God.” (Daniel 6)
Did you notice what they accuse him of after following him around? He prayed too much. That is it. That is all. If any person were to follow me around for a period of time, I pray the only thing that they would be able to accuse me of would be praying too much! Daniel’s enemies decided to use the only thing that they could find against Daniel. They wanted to use his faithfulness to God against him.
6 Then these commissioners and satraps came by agreement to the king and spoke to him as follows: “King Darius, live forever!
7 “All the commissioners of the kingdom, the prefects and the satraps, the high officials and the governors have consulted together that the king should establish a statute and enforce an injunction that anyone who makes a petition to any god or man besides you, O king, for thirty days, shall be cast into the lions’ den.
8 “Now, O king, establish the injunction and sign the document so that it may not be changed, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which may not be revoked.”
9 Therefore King Darius signed the document, that is, the injunction.
These evil men appealed to the king’s pride and got him to sign a law that binds himself up and forced him to execute Daniel for being faithful to God. Daniel knew about the law. He could have stopped living out his faith so publicly. Instead, Daniel chose to remain faithful and not compromise on the little things because this was his way of life!
10 Now when Daniel knew that the document was signed, he entered his house (now in his roof chamber he had windows open toward Jerusalem ); and he continued kneeling on his knees three times a day, praying and giving thanks before his God, as he had been doing previously.
11 Then these men came by agreement and found Daniel making petition and supplication before his God. (Daniel 6)
Daniel was disciplined in Bible study and prayer. Daniel lived out his faith publicly. Daniel could have made a small compromise but he did not do it. Daniel was persecuted heavily because of his stance, but, God was and is still faithful.
II. God’s Faithfulness
King Darius fell for the trap. He signed the petition into law. He had no choice but to honor the law. As a result, king Darius had to cast Daniel into the lions’ den to be eaten alive.
16 Then the king gave orders, and Daniel was brought in and cast into the lions’ den. The king spoke and said to Daniel, “Your God whom you constantly serve will Himself deliver you.”
17 A stone was brought and laid over the mouth of the den; and the king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the signet rings of his nobles, so that nothing would be changed in regard to Daniel.
18 Then the king went off to his palace and spent the night fasting, and no entertainment was brought before him; and his sleep fled from him. (Daniel 6)
The king had no other choice but to trust in the God of whom Daniel spoke all of the time. King Darius had learned of this God from Daniel. This was where the rubber met the road. Daniel trusted the Lord all of his life and the moment of truth has come. Will God demonstrate His power and might or, will Daniel be consumed by the hungry lions? Daniel will have to trust the Lord and king Darius will have to trust the Lord.
19 Then the king arose at dawn, at the break of day, and went in haste to the lions’ den.
20 When he had come near the den to Daniel, he cried out with a troubled voice. The king spoke and said to Daniel, “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you constantly serve, been able to deliver you from the lions?”
21 Then Daniel spoke to the king, “O king, live forever!
22 “My God sent His angel and shut the lions’ mouths and they have not harmed me, inasmuch as I was found innocent before Him; and also toward you, O king, I have committed no crime.” (Daniel 6)
God was faithful to His servant Daniel. God demonstrated His power and might to this pagan king. Did you notice how king Darius addressed the God whom Daniel served? He called Him the living God. He was and is different from all of the other pagan idols. Those false gods were not living. They were figments of the people’s imagination. Daniel’s God, on the other hand, was and is a living God who was able to intervene in the affairs of men. God was faithful to His promises and He rescued Daniel from the lions’ den. This event profoundly impacted king Darius.
III. King Darius’ Faithfulness
Right away, in the previous section, we noticed that king Darius referred to Daniel’s God as the living God. There are more attributes of God that the king learned from Daniel and his own encounter with the living God.
25 Then Darius the king wrote to all the peoples, nations and men of every language who were living in all the land: “May your peace abound!
26 “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.
27 “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)
Do you remember what we learned about Daniel and his faith at the beginning of this article? Daniel lived out his faith daily by sharing it and not compromising on the little things. King Darius learned a valuable truth from Daniel. He immediately began to share his newfound faith in the living God with all of the people within his sphere of influence, similarly to the way that Daniel did. King Darius began to fear the living God for the first time in his life.
The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. (Proverbs 9:10)
King Darius had been influenced by a wise man and now, he had become a wise man because he finally chose to respect the living God. Not only that, he also chose to encourage others to respect the living God.
Do you fear the living God? Do you know wise people who respect the living God? Are you living out your faith by sharing it with others and not compromising on the little things? Are you disciplined in your Bible study and prayer time? How have you experienced the faithfulness of God in your own life? Are you teaching the Scriptures to young people so that you can impact them the way that Daniel’s parents impacted him? Does your faith impact your work ethic? Does your relationship with God impact the other relationships in your life? Have you ever introduced a person to the living God the way that Daniel introduced king Darius to the living God?
May the Lord help us live out our faith by not compromising on the little things and by being disciplined in our Bible study and prayer times!