If you want to be thrown into a pit:
1) Do Everything with Excellence
Then Daniel became distinguished above all
King Darius had a problem in his kingdom and he knew that money was being stolen from the kingdom from some of his satraps.Satrap means protector of the Kingdom and these 120 Satraps were not doing protecting the kingdom and were stealing money from the very people they should have been protecting. Along with the Satraps there were also three administrators that were supposed to be watching over the collection of taxes of the satraps to make sure that the money was being handled properly.
Like all governments systems the corruption must have gone all the way up to one of the three administrators and so Darius was going to put Daniel, who was one of the administrators, over everyone. Daniel was a problem for the money making scheme these satraps had going so they knew they had to get rid of him if they were going to not have their corrupt ways exposed.
If you want people to be mad at you just do what you are supposed to be doing to your highest ability.
People will complain about not being given opportunities to lead but if they have not been faithful where they are currently working why should they get more or bigger opportunities to lead.
Dr Jay Strack says, “Bloom where you are planted.” How are you setting yourself apart from the rest of the people you work with or go to school with? Are you working to the best of your ability no matter how insignificant you think the job you are currently doing is?
Daniel had an excellent spirit within him.
Dr Jay Strack also says; “Your Attitude will determine your Latitude”
Daniel did everything to the best of his ability and he did it with honesty and integrity but he also did it with a good attitude. An excellent spirit can mean the attitude at which deal with life and it can also refer to the power of God that lives in us as followers of Christ. Daniel definitely had the power of God in his life so and excellent spirit could mean Gods Spirit but we all should tackle the things God has put in front of us with a good attitude knowing that our lives our in His control.
Student Leadership University defines excellence as “To Rise Above”
The idea from Student Leadership University is that of an Eagle that is having its tail feathers plucked by a crow. The Eagle can turn and try and destroy the crow, which will be a distraction to where he is flying, or the eagle can just fly higher to the point the crow cannot go.
Daniel rose above others because he did things to the best of his ability and people hated him for it. In Daniel 1 they were found to be ten times better than everyone else which shows that Daniel in every area of his life and whatever position he found himself in did it to the best of his ability.
Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
Read Daniel 6:4
If you want to be thrown into a pit:
2) Be Faithful and Faultless
Because of their hatred for Daniel the Satraps were trying to dig up something that he did wrong in order to discredit him from being second in command. Some believe these men went into the historical records of Babylon which would have recorded the rulings and issues of their day to try and find some dirt on Daniel. Daniel was in his 80’s at this point so for 60 years or so he served faithfully and faultlessly the Kingdom of Babylon even though it was not his homeland and even though they worshiped pagan gods. Politics has not changed at all for thousands of years and people who are corrupt and power hungry will try and discredit those who are not.
Daniel Distinguished Himself
The way it was written is that Daniels actions of being faithful and faultless were continuous actions. We have to live our lives consistently and not just be good from time to time. We have to be faithful and faultless in every area of our lives and not just the areas of our lives that we think are public. I am sure Daniel was tempted to take advantage of the government he served and to steal money like the other administrators and satraps were doing but he chose to live a consistent life no matter how much pressure was placed on him by others.
1 Peter 2:12 Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.
What is your reputation with those you work with? You cannot help false accusations made about you but if you live a consistent life then eventually people will see the truth by the life you live.
Read Daniel 6:5-13
If you want to be thrown into a pit
3) Practice Your Faith Publicly
The only way is by having him break a law of his God
Daniel was the type of person that what he believed did not only affect how he acted but he also shared it publicly. His life and his beliefs were known by all and these men knew that only a law going against his God would be something he would not compromise on. Practicing your faith publicly is doing things with excellence, being faithful and faultless but it is also telling people what you believe and why.Daniel must have shared what he believed along the way for these men to know how to destroy and they devised a plan through lies and deceit that they knew would either catch Daniel in a trap or have him compromise his beliefs.
Do people know you are a Christian? Have you taken the time to share with others what you believe and how God is the true God who wants a relationship with His creation?
These men acted in unison to convince King Darius that he should establish himself for one month to be god or at least the one everyone saw to pray to a god. Praying to or through King Darius was an act of loyalty to the new government that was just established and it would boost unity in the Kingdom.The king should have known better since Daniel, one of his most trustworthy administrators, was not present at the time when he was told that all the administrators and satraps were in favor of this new law.
Cast into the Den of Lions
The punishment for the next 30 days if caught praying to a god without Darius would be the lion’s den a gruesome outcome no one wanted to meet. Governments have a tendency to pass laws that go against what Christians believe. Although in America you will not be thrown to the lions den we are seeing people punished through fines and by losing their businesses by not giving into the law because it goes against their beliefs. Education is being threatened for funds to be cut off if you do not abide by the bathroom laws. NCAA is punishing North Carolina for not giving into the Presidents wishes by allowing any gender to use any bathroom they desire. Wedding venues and bakeries are being punished for not wanting to participate in homosexual weddings. Even many Christians are not in agreement with each other whether we should participate or refuse services to such venues. The topic of homosexuality and which bathroom should be used is another topic to be discussed but if you study God’s word and believe that homosexual weddings are wrong then it will cost you in the court of public opinion if it does not cost you financially.
Our government is passing laws that go against Christian beliefs and the creation of God. Christians are going to have to decide if they are going to obey them or not but this will not be easy.We already discussed in Daniel 1 if we are going to conform or not conform to the ways of the world forced upon us.
Acts 5:29 But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.
When the law was passed Daniel went and prayed
The laws of a nation did not change Daniel’s beliefs; will the laws of our nation change yours?
Christians are called to be counter cultural for the sake of the nation they live in. If Daniel would have obeyed the laws of the Land we would not be talking about him today and as we will see he would not have made an impact on the empire that he made. If we do not stand up for the truth then where will people go when they realize that they have believed a lie?
The advice the Prophet Jeremiah gave to the people before Daniel and all of them were captured gives us good advice for today.
Jeremiah 29:4-7 Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon:5 Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce.6 Take wives and have sons and daughters; take wives for your sons, and give your daughters in marriage, that they may bear sons and daughters; multiply there, and do not decrease.7 But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.
Following God means living among people who do not believe or act like you and we are to do so to show them the way to God. (Matthew 5;16) We are called to engage the culture we live in with Holy living and through prayer.
Three times a day Daniel prayed
Daniel was a busy man just like we can be and yet he knew he needed to pray not just every day but morning, noon and night for God’s wisdom and strength. Praying toward Jerusalem was based on 1 Kings 8:35-48 after the temple was built and king Solomon asked that God would bless those who prayed toward the Temple.
Psalm 55:17 Evening and morning and at noonI utter my complaint and moan,and he hears my voice.
We need to be people of prayer if we are going to live our lives with excellence as we faithfully and faultlessly live our lives in Babylon.
These men came and found Daniel
These men were waiting for their chance to act and they went to see Daniel praying in his home. The sooner Daniel was out of the way the sooner they could go back to their evil ways and stealing money from the people and the kingdom.
Daniels was in an upstairs room that more than likely had lattice over the window for privacy but that allowed air flow. Daniel could have waited till night time while he was in his bed and prayed but he was not going to change his daily routine because of a law that was passed. When they found Daniel they found him pleading with God for deliverance or the strength to be faithful through the trial. This shows that Daniel had no intention of obeying the law and he knew the cost of him being faithful would mean certain death unless God rescued him.
Daniel, who is one of the exiles, pays no attention to you
False Accusations were made about Daniel accusing him of being disloyal to the King. They were letting the King know that Daniel was not willing to obey the laws of the land and even worse they were pointing out to the King that Daniel was not one of them, meaning he did not belong in this position. They were demeaning who Daniel was and accusing him of unfaithfulness to the King and the government.
2 Timothy 3:12 Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,
Christians used to think it was a badge of honor to go through persecution and trial,(Acts 5:41) but now many churches no longer talk about it. Most people think to reach the culture you have to become just like the culture and because of that people see no difference between the followers of Christ and the rest of the world.
The King was distressed and tried to find a loophole.
The Satraps must have convinced the King in the morning to pass the new law and then went to catch Daniel praying at noon. This is why the King would have time to try and find a loop hole in the law before sunset and therefore save Daniel from certain death . The King knew his pride got the best of him and he was going to lose someone he trusted because of a law he passed. The King knew he had sentenced an innocent man to death. Historical writer Diodorus of Sicily reports a man put to death under Darius 3 even though he was known to be perfectly innocent. And it is reported that Darius repented and blamed himself for the error.
When a loop hole could not be found he had to carry out the punishment against Daniel. Daniel’s life was so impressive to King Darius that he was grieved that he had been tricked into this by the satraps and other administrators.
“Daniel and others who were taken captive felt outnumbered, dislocated, and culturally out of step- the very feelings many Christians are experiencing today…. We are no longer the home team, even though our physical location hasn’t changed. We’re playing on Babylon’s turf….God uses exile to purify his people and reorient them toward his purposes. ” (Good Faith, By David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons, Pg. 254-256)
Daniel did not make excuses why he could not follow God in a pagan culture; he lived obediently to God no matter who was against him. Daniel made his life count even though he was hated and the world was changed because of him. Many people want to change the culture but not many are willing to live their lives differently in order for others to see that a change needs to be made.