The First Decree (vv.1-9)
After the Joint Armies of Medes and Persia defeated the Babylon, King Cyrus and King Darius became co-leaders of the new nation in B.C. 538. While Cyrus continued to expand the territory through his military, Darius was responsible to rule the nation through his gift of administration. To govern the nation efficiently, king Darius appointed 120 satraps throughout the kingdom with 3 administrators over them. Daniel was one of the three administrators.
King Darius decided to make Daniel the top administrator among the three because of his exceptional qualities. Our Bible said that Daniel was trustworthy and neither corrupt nor negligent. His service to the crown is marked by faithfulness, attentiveness, and integrity. Although Daniel was 80 years old and was one of the government officials in Babylon—the country they had just defeated, he became the highest government official in this new country. This made other governors really jealous. They began to find a ground to charge against Daniel but they were not able to find anything since Daniel was so diligent and honest in everything he did. So they said, “We will never find any basis for charges against this man Daniel unless it has something to do with the law of his God.” They knew that Daniel would choose to obey the law of God instead of the law of the king when they were contradicting. So they lied to king Darius by saying, “May King Darius live forever! The royal administrators, prefects, satraps, advisers and governors have all agreed that the king should issue an edict and enforce the decree that anyone who prays to any god or human being during the next thirty days, except to you, Your Majesty, shall be thrown into the lions’ den.” They also encouraged the king to seal this decree with his signet ring along with theirs so that no one could change the content of this decree. According to the rule of Medes and Persia, not even the king who had issued this decree was allowed to change once it was signed. Although they only discussed with a few people, they told king that all of the government officials had agreed that the king should write and proclaim this decree. They surely did not discuss about this with Danial, even though he was the top administrator. Daniel found about this decree only after king had already signed this decree. This first decree was signed and proclaimed by king Darius based on the false accusation of the government officials who hated Daniel.
The Prayer of Thanksgiving (vv. 10-18)
“Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before. The conspirators came and found Daniel praying and seeking mercy before his God” (Daniel 6:10-11). We can learn two important lessons from Daniel.
- Daniel did not complain nor retaliate about the false accusation, but he prayed to God just as he had done before. He sought God’s mercy through prayers. When he was forced to decide whether his ultimate loyalty will be to his God or his king, he chose God at the risk of losing his physical life. Daniel chose keep his calling rather than his career; he chose his faith rather than his flag. Jesus defines it as the choice between God and Caesar (Matthew 22; Mark 12); Luke 20). There will be moments for us to choose and demonstrate our ultimate loyalty, with or without lions. I pray that all of us to choose God like Daniel, like many faithful Christians in the world, and like Jesus Christ our Lord.
2. Daniel gave thanks to God even in this difficult situation.
The Apostle Paul says in 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” If you are like me, you have probably experienced that it is not always easy to know God’s will. If that is the case for you, these are the Bible verses you need to memorize and practice. Rejoice, Prayer, and Give thanks are the three things we need to always since this is God’s will for us in Christ Jesus.
Although king Darius regretted for what he had done, it was too late. Although he tried very hard to save Daniel’s life, he couldn’t. The group of government officials kept coming back to king Darius and reminded him that he could not change the decree. They were basically threatening the king. So the king gave the order, and they brought Daniel and threw him into the lions’ den. The king said to Daniel, “May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!”
A stone was brought and placed over the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the rings of his nobles. On that night, king Darius refused neither to eat nor to be entertained. And he could not even sleep because he was so sad about Daniel’s situation. The stone that was placed over the mouth of the lion’s den and the seal of the king remind us the stone that blocked the tomb of Jesus and the seal of the Roman governors.
The Second Decree (vv.19-28)
Early in the morning, king Darius ran to the lion’s den and called Daniel in an anguished voice, “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to rescue you from the lions?” Daniel answered the king, “May the king live forever! My God sent his angel and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight. Nor have I ever done any wrong before you, Your Majesty.”
The king was so happy and gave orders to lift Daniel out of the den. And he also commanded the men who had falsely accused Daniel were brought in and thrown into the lions’ den, along with their wives and children. And before they reached the floor of the den, the lions overpowered them and crushed all their bones. And then King Darius wrote another decree and told everyone who live in his kingdom to obey. It says, “I issue a decree that in every part of my kingdom people must fear and reverence the God of Daniel. For he is the living God and he endures forever; his kingdom will not be destroyed, his dominion will never end. He rescues and he saves; he performs signs and wonders in the heavens and on the earth. He has rescued Daniel from the power of the lions.” Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrus the Persian.
Dear Riverview Family,
Let us give thanks to God in all circumstances.
Let us trust God with all our hearts; depend on him through prayers and obey His words all the time. That’s exactly what Daniel did. God has not disappointed Daniel.
The story of Daniel reminds us how God raised Jesus from the tomb. The heavy rock, the Roman guards, and the seal of the emperor were useless. Likewise, the rock that was placed over the lion’s den, the seals of king’s signet ring as well as the signet rings of the government officials were useless. Just like God proved Jesus as his Son by raising him from the dead, God delivered his servant Daniel from the mouth of hungry lions and proved that Daniel was innocent. So, like Jesus and Daniel, let us ALWAYS GIVE THANKS! Let us express our thankful hearts to God and to one another!