Ladies Bible Study
The Book of Daniel
Relevance for Today
"Faith in the Face of Lions"
This is our sixth lesson in the Book of Daniel and it is the last chapter in the historical section of the book. It has been an exciting time of study of Godís Word, learning about one of the most familiar characters in the Bible and also applying the teaching to our lives as women of God.
2 Timothy 3: 16-17: All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
1 Corinthians 10:6: Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted.
1 Corinthians 10: 11-12: Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, on whom the ends of the ages have come. Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.
Clearly God expects us to know what is in His word, learn from it, apply it to our lives and become changed persons making an impact in our world for Christ. Amen!
Letís begin with a quick review.
We learned who Daniel was and how he came to be in captivity in the Babylon Empire.
We discovered that Daniel was a man of resolution, revelation and reverence.
Daniel and his companions were young men without blemish, taken into captivity to serve in King Nebuchadnezzarís court. They were given Babylonian names that reflected the godís the Babylonians worshipped, in an effort to transform them into Babylonians.
Daniel and his friends stood firm in their belief, revealing him as a man of resolution, not to partake of worldly things. This faithfulness was rewarded by God. Daniel and his friends were put in places of authority in the court. Obedience always brings about favor with God. Last month we studied about the dream of King Nebuchadnezzar. We learned how to handle difficult situations with the wisdom of God, and we also learned about the plan of God for the time of the Gentiles and the Gentile rule over the world. We learned
that each section of the statue in the dream represented world rule of a specific kingdom ending with the future rule of the revived Roman Empire in the tribulation. God gave this dream to a Gentile for the Gentile world, but He used His man Daniel to give the
interpretation, as the dream came from God and only He can give the meaning. All Glory belongs to God and God only, not to men or ourselves when God does use us.
In lesson three we met Danielís three friends, Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego. We came to understand the importance of individual and unified faith in the face of any fiery trail. These three Hebrew young men were putting into practice a principle Jesus himself taught much later.
Matthew 18-19-20: "Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. 20 "For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.''
These three young men agreed aloud to the king that they would not bow down and worship the false image, speaking from their heart what they believed. That God would deliver them completely. However, even if they died, it did not matter, they would still only worship the one and true God. This unified faith ushered in the miraculous. God proved faithful and delivered them from the fiery furnace. It is important to realize that their faith was already developed to take them through the fire. Going through the fire only strengthened it! No matter what fire you are facing, ladies God will always see you through. It is up to you to strengthen your faith to face the fire, be strengthened by the presence of the Lord through the fire and then expect the miraculous at all times. Amen!
We then saw the last of Nebuchadnezzar. He continued to walk in pride, giving himself credit for things God had done. If you remember, we ended with Nebuchadnezzer once again glorifying God for what He did.
Daniel 3:28-29: Nebuchadnezzar spoke, saying, "Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, who sent His Angel and delivered His servants who trusted in Him, and they have frustrated the king's word, and yielded their bodies, that they should not serve nor worship any god except their own God! 29. "Therefore I make a decree that any people, nation, or language which speaks anything amiss against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego shall be cut in pieces, and their houses shall be made an ash heap; because there is no other God who can deliver like this.''
However, Nebuchadnezzer flourished and gloated until God had to warn him through another dream. It really did no good for we catch up with Nebuchadnezzer about a year later puffed with pride causing God to fulfill the dream, that was once again interpreted by
Daniel and he suffered severe insanity for seven years, living in the wild like and animal, at which time he again regains his sanity when he acknowledges Godís Soverienty.
Daniel 4:36-37: At the same time my reason returned to me, and for the glory of my kingdom, my honor and splendor returned to me. My counselors and nobles resorted to me, I was restored to my kingdom, and excellent majesty was added to me.
37. Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, all of whose works are truth, and His ways justice. And those who walk in pride He is able to abase.
This was the last we saw of King Nebuchadnezzer, he ruled another 30 years apparently without incident as Daniel no longer tells us of him.
Last month was "saw the handwriting on the wall." We saw the prophecy of 70 years of captivity completed with the fall of the Babylon Empire and the death of Belshazzar the king. The empire fell easily and was not as impregnable as once thought. This brought us to the second section of the great statue in Nebuchadnezzarís dream, the arms and chest of silver.
Daniel 2:32: 32. "This image's head was of fine gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze,
This part of the statue represents the Median Persian Empire, ruled by Darius the Mede.
Daniel 5:30-31: 30. That very night Belshazzar, king of the Chaldeans, was slain. And Darius the Mede received the kingdom, being about sixty-two years old.
Let us now begin the lesson for this month.
Daniel 6: 1. It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom one hundred and twenty satraps, to be over the whole kingdom; 2. and over these, three governors, of whom Daniel was one, that the satraps might give account to them, so that the king would suffer no loss. 3. Then this Daniel distinguished himself above the governors and satraps, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king gave thought to setting him over the whole realm. 4. So the governors and satraps sought to find some charge against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find no charge or fault, because he was faithful; nor was there any error or fault found in him. 5. Then these men said, "We shall not find any charge against this Daniel unless we find it against him concerning the law of his God.'' 6. So these governors and satraps thronged before the king, and said thus to him: "King Darius, live forever! 7. "All the governors of the kingdom, the administrators and satraps, the counselors and advisors, have consulted together to establish a royal statute and to make a firm decree, that whoever petitions any god or man for thirty days, except you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions. 8. "Now, O king, establish the decree and sign the writing, so that it cannot be changed, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which does not alter.'' 9. Therefore King Darius signed the written decree.
10. Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went home. And in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days.
11. Then these men assembled and found Daniel praying and making supplication before his God. 12. And they went before the king, and spoke concerning the king's decree: "Have you not signed a decree that every man who petitions any god or man within thirty days, except you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions?'' The king answered and said, "The thing is true, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which does not alter.''
13. So they answered and said before the king, "That Daniel, who is one of the captives from Judah, does not show due regard for you, O king, or for the decree that you have signed, but makes his petition three times a day.'' 14. And the king, when he heard these words, was greatly displeased with himself, and set his heart on Daniel to deliver him; and he labored till the going down of the sun to deliver him. 15. Then these men approached the king, and said to the king, "Know, O king, that it is the law of the Medes and Persians that no decree or statute which the king establishes may be changed.'' 16. So the king gave the command, and they brought Daniel and cast him into the den of lions. But the king spoke, saying to Daniel, "Your God, whom you serve continually, He will deliver you.'' 17. Then a stone was brought and laid on the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the signets of his lords, that the purpose concerning Daniel might not be changed. 18. Now the king went to his palace and spent the night fasting; and no musicians were brought before him. Also his sleep went from him.
19. Then the king arose very early in the morning and went in haste to the den of lions.
20. And when he came to the den, he cried out with a lamenting voice to Daniel. The king spoke, saying to Daniel, "Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to deliver you from the lions?'' 21. Then Daniel said to the king, "O king, live forever! 22. "My God sent His angel and shut the lions' mouths, so that they have not hurt me, because I was found innocent before Him; and also, O king, I have done no wrong before you.'' 23. Then the king was exceedingly glad for him, and commanded that they should take Daniel up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no injury whatever was found on him, because he believed in his God.
24. And the king gave the command, and they brought those men who had accused Daniel, and they cast them into the den of lions them, their children, and their wives; and the lions overpowered them, and broke all their bones in pieces before they ever came to the bottom of the den. 25. Then King Darius wrote: To all peoples, nations, and languages that dwell in all the earth: Peace be multiplied to you. 26. I make a decree that in every dominion of my kingdom men must tremble and fear before the God of Daniel. For He is the living God, and steadfast forever; His kingdom is the one which shall not be destroyed, and His dominion shall endure to the end. 27. He delivers and rescues, and He works signs and wonders in heaven and on earth, Who has delivered Daniel from the power of the lions. 28. So this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian.
Letís start by comparing the two main leaders, both very powerful mean, both very different.
Nebuchadnezzar was rich, powerful but full of pride in himself and his accomplishments.
He was emotionally volatile, easily angered and eventually experienced a period of insanity until he was willing to admit the true sovereignty of God. We see a good example of his volatile temper with the turn of events with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. When these three young men refused to worship a false image, Nebuchadnezzar became so angry at them, that he ordered the furnace to be seven times hotter than normal, costing even the lives of the guards assigned to throw the 3 boys into the fire.
Darius the Mede was more controlled and fair. We will discuss this in depth as we continue the lesson.
As we discussed earlier, the empire now in control is the Medio Ė Persian Empire. Darius the Mede is Darius Cyaxares II, he ruled for only two years and then Cyrus, the nephew of Darius, led the kingdom.
Another difference between the two rulers, Nebuchadnezzar and Darius is the type government under each as represented by the gold head of the image and the silver arms and chest. The gold representing the total autocratic rule of Nebuchadnezzar and the silver arms and chest the shared responsibility of the princes of the kingdom as discussed in verse one of our text.
Daniel 6:1-3: It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom one hundred and twenty satraps, to be over the whole kingdom; 2. and over these, three governors, of whom Daniel was one, that the satraps might give account to them, so that the king would suffer no loss. 3. Then this Daniel distinguished himself above the governors and satraps, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king gave thought to setting him over the whole realm.
Daniel was over 90 years old by now, we now longer know anything about his 3 friends, whether alive or dead. Daniel is again placed in a position of authority and again stimulates jealousy among the other leaders. Daniel has lived most of his life in a hostile environment, continuing to live for God, never faltering from his faith and always being a "man of God" in a sinful worldly environment! Can you say the same thing about yourself?
As I think back over my life, I see many areas in which I personally stumbled. However, Praise God, He is faithful to forgive us of our sins, as we repent and come back to him! Amen!
1 John 1:9: If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
The Apostle John was writing this letter to believers, not unsaved people. We will mess up, but praise God, he is faithful to open His heart and forgive us when we realize our error and repent from it!
I then stopped and looked at the United States and how things have changed in my lifetime. Many good changes but many ungodly changes. We as believers have been "Corinthians", accepting worldly actions in other believers and accepting immoral actions as "part of the changing times." Why do you think this is? Because the things of this world have become more important to us than the things of God! We allowed the most liberal interpretation of our laws to be made, we have taken God out of the mainstream and now we are "reaping what we sowed."
Earlier this month at work, we came across a March addition of a well know magazine. One with family issues, food, recipes, decorating hints etc. As you opened the front cover of this magazine, the first thing you saw was nudity. Three older women-posing nude to advertise bodywash. Many of us were offended and shocked. We went to the website of the company selling the bodywash to enter a protest remark and were amazed at the comments entered by people from across the nation. The consensus was "Itís great that women that age felt comfortable enough about their bodies to pose nude." How sad! How can we as women of God condone this type thing? We have indeed, in many areas, succumbed to the "Babylon influence" and become worldly in our outlook. What must our Heavenly Father think? Over my life time I have seen prayer removed from school, an increase in underage drinking and drug use, deterioration of family values, people living together before marriage and an increase in unwed mothers and single parent families. We have forgotten God in our busy lives. We need to step back, re-evaluate our principles and again live a life worthy of God.
Colossians 1:9-12: For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; 10. that you may have a walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11. strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy; 12. giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light.
This is one of my favorite Scriptures and a prayer I frequently pray for my family, friends, pastors and others as God leads. It is my prayer for anyone reading this today. "That you may have a walk worthy of the Lord." This is so important! If we are not living a life worthy of the Lord, than what we are doing is not glorifying God and everything we do is to glorify Him! Amen! I urge you today to pray this prayer over yourself and others and see what God will do in your life!
Letís get back to Daniel. He clearly lived a life that pleased God, never wavering in his practices or beliefs. In fact, our Scripture reference clearly states, there was no fault found in him.
Daniel 6:3-4: Then this Daniel distinguished himself above the governors and satraps, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king gave thought to setting him over the whole realm. 4. So the governors and satraps sought to find some charge against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find no charge or fault, because he was faithful; nor was there any error or fault found in him.
I like how the New American Standard Translation puts it.
-- New American Standard
Daniel 6:4: 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.
No Negligence or corruption was to be found in Daniel. Can we say the same about ourselves?
As we read further we see the others officials planning and setting a trap to destroy Daniel. Since no fault could be found in him, they had to attack his faithfulness to the Living God.
We see the events unfold in the following verses.
Daniel 6:5-9: Then these men said, "We shall not find any charge against this Daniel unless we find it against him concerning the law of his God.'' 6. So these governors and satraps thronged before the king, and said thus to him: "King Darius, live forever! 7. "All the governors of the kingdom, the administrators and satraps, the counselors and advisors, have consulted together to establish a royal statute and to make a firm decree, that whoever petitions any god or man for thirty days, except you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions. 8. "Now, O king, establish the decree and sign the writing, so that it cannot be changed, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which does not alter.''
In this one respect, Darius was like Nebuchadnezzer, he was easily flattered and had some prided. Daniel we see, never wavering. He goes about his business without a change in his routine. He goes to pray daily, as he always does, knowing full well it would probably lead to his death. (see verses 9-10.)
We then see the conspirators "pulling the trap." They went to a place where they could see Danielís home, see him open his window and kneel to pray. We then see them gleefully running to the king with the "evidence" of Danielís disobedience. I want you to notice something. Look at verse fourteen.
Daniel 6:14: 14. And the king, when he heard these words, was greatly displeased with himself, and set his heart on Daniel to deliver him; and he labored till the going down of the sun to deliver him.
This is one of the main differences between Nebuchadnezzer and King Darius. Nebuchadnezzer became angry with the three young Hebrew men, ordering their death. King Darius became angry with himself, knowing that falling into the trap of the jealous and making a law that could not be changed, would in all likelihood end with the Danielís death. Many times we make a decision, we wish we could undo or change. How much easier, if we seek God and his wisdom first, wait on Him, lean not own our own understanding and trust in Him to direct our paths. Amen!
Letís look at one final point. Just as the three Hebrew young men had to have strong unified faith to enter the fiery furnace, so too, Daniel had to have strong faith in God to enter the "lions den." I will stress this again, you cannot wait until the fiery furnace comes, or you are in the lionís den, before you develop you faith. You must develop it first. It must come from hearing the Word of God, practicing the Word of God and applying it to your life. The trial will only strengthen your faith, not bring it into existence. Amen!
I urge you today, to remember that the devil, the advisory is prowling around, like a lion, seeking whom he may devour. He will try to drag you into the den, into the pit. It is up to you to be vigilant and resist him!
1 Peter 5:8-10: 8. Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 9. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. 10. But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.
And as with Daniel, we see that God will perfect, establish, strengthen and settle you once you do this. Daniel was not made strong in faith while in the den. He was strong before he went into the den, he only came out stronger, more established and settled on God and living a life of God because God proved once again that He would never leave or forsake his children.
Next month we will start on the prophetic section of the Book of Daniel.
Questions Chapter 6
8. How did Darius react to the salvation of Daniel and what did he do?