The Lion-Hearted Amount the Lions - Daniel 6
J. B. Hewitt, Chesterfield
In this chapter we can see 'pictures of the Lord Jesus'.
1) The Man of purpose set over the realm, v. 3, cp. Eph. 1. 22; Phil. 2. 10.
2) The Man of spotless character and conduct, v. 4, cp. Luke. 23. 4; Heb. 7. 26.
3) The Man of dependence, v. 10, cp. Psa. 16. 1; Luke 11. 1.
4) The Man condemned for his goodness, v. 5-11, cp. John 10. 33-39.
5) The Man who could not escape death, v. 14-16, cp. John 11. 50.
6) The Man who entered the domain of death, v. 16, cp. Psa. 22. 21.
7) The Man who was raised out of the jaws of death, v. 23, cp. Acts 2. 32.
8) The Man who was the doom for all his foes, v. 24, cp. Luke 19. 27.
9) The Man whose name was extolled world wide, v. 26-28, cp. Phil. 2. 9.
10) The Man who was exalted far above all, v. 28, cp. Psa. 72. 17-19; Luke 1. 32-33.
A Man in an Eminent Position, vv. 1-2, (cp. Eph. 2. 6)
'Daniel was first', v. 2. This is the second great empire of Medo-Persia depicted by the breast and arms of silver of the vision, 2. 32. He begins with a programme of re-organisation, v. 2. His preference is for a man of remarkable character, v. 3. Grace has placed us in an exalted position, Eph. 1. 3. God has a programme for world dominion in Christ, Eph. 5. 1-2; Phil. 1. 27. Daniel like Nathaniel, John 1. 47. Daniel was a man of wisdom, Ezek. 28. 3. His royal descent and rare discernment were a wonderful embodiment of virtue in a singularly holy life.
A Man with an Excellent Spirit, v. 3
Darius needed a man of unassailable integrity and one intimately acquainted with the conquered realms and their government. The hand of God was in all this and events turned out for the good of Israel.
Daniel rose to prominence in three empires and, amid circumstances of definite danger, maintained an unswerving loyalty to the living God. He was faithful and faultless. His character was invaluable and his conduct unimpeachable. His wisdom and prudence, his superior administrative ability to his colleagues were deserving of greater honour and authority. We should be faithful, cp. Luke 16. 10-12. We should allow this good man's constancy and reliability to stimulate our fidelity to God and loyalty to Christ.
A Man of Exemplary Character, vv. 4-5, (cp. Acts 24. 16; Phil. 2. 15)
Daniel's critics became resentful and sought defect in the performance of his duties. Their one and only accusation was his condemnation. There was no fault mentally, nor any fault morally in him. He was blameless and harmless, cp. Phil. 2. 15. His honesty, fidelity and conscientiousness were remarkable. These hostile princes were determined to disturb the calm and challenge the position of Daniel, v. 5. 'Jealousy is as evil, strong as the grave', cp. Gen. 37. 11; 1 Sam. 18. 11. We should be above all reproach, cp. 1 Tim 3. 7; Acts 24. 5, 13.
A Man exposed to Danger, vv. 6-9
These men well knew what bribery and dishonesty were like but they could not find a trace of these in Daniel's behaviour. Their plot must have brought fiendish satisfaction to them. They thought Daniel could not escape. They were unscrupulous and untruthful, vv. 6, 7. Their design seemed foolproof. The decree they framed was not to obtain obedience from the people, but to overthrow the one who was so faithful to the true God, v. 5. The kings of the Medes and Persians were regarded and worshipped as gods, and Darius in his vanity fell into a trap. He was deceived, thinking all the presidents had agreed to this plan, v. 7. Once his signature was appended the decree was irrevocable, cp. Est. 8. 8.
A Man who Exhibited Courage, vv. 10-11
When Daniel learned what had happened, it made no difference to his normal conduct. He kept on praying. He had a place for prayer, 'his chamber', direction in prayer, 'toward Jerusalem', cp. Psa. 55. 17, attitude, 'he knelt', and regularity, 'three times a day'. It was believing 'his God'; cheerful, 'gave thanks'; and fearless, 'opened windows'. It was earnest 'supplication, v. 23. He was constantly in touch with God. Prayer was the secret of his courage, the strength of his life, and a safeguard against pride. His intercessions were famous, Ezek. 14. 14. He preferred a night with lions rather than a day without prayer.
A Man who Experienced Trial, vv. 16-18
The subtlety of his rivals, v. 12. They asked the king for confirmation of his decree. It could not be altered, 3. 9-11. They describe Daniel as an exile, rather than as the appointed head over the presidents. They infer he is politically unfaithful to Darius. He is accused of contempt, v. 13, just as the Lord was also falsely accused, Luke 23. 2. The king could not prevent the execution of his decree.
Trial ennobled the character of Daniel. It enlarged his capabilities, enriched his comprehension, and energized his faith in God. Trials are educational and enriching, cp. 1 Pet. 1. 6-8.
The hungry, roaring lion is a picture of the devil, cp. 1 Pet. 5. 8. The stone was sealed as if to make his doom doubly sure, v. 17, cp. Matt. 27. 60-66.
A Man who Exercises faith in God, vv. 19-24
Confidence in God gave Daniel a restful night: a guilty conscience gave the king a restless night. The king's concern took him to the den early in the morning, cp. John. 20. 1. The care of the angels, v. 22. The impossible had happened and the fact that he had done no injury to the king saved Daniel from harm. His faith in God effected his deliverance, v. 23, cp. Psa. 22. 20, 21; 2 Tim. 4. 17. Loyalty to God led him into danger, but it ended in safety, judgement without mercy fell upon the persecutors, v. 24.
A Man who Enjoyed Prosperity, v. 28
The new decree Darius made, and his message to the people indicated that God's glory had been advanced, His name acknowledged, His kingdom announced, His salvation acclaimed, and His servants approved, vv. 26-27.
This testimony to the absolute power and sovereignty of God from the king is prophetic and a type of the Gentiles in the future who will acknowledge the Lord Jesus as the Universal Potentate. Like Daniel, there will be a faithful remnant delivered during the period of the Great Tribulation.