Lesson 7

From Lion's Den to Angel's Den

(Daniel 6)
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Introduction: Last week the Babylonian empire was defeated just as Daniel was reinstated to a very high position - number three in the empire. The Medo-Persian empire took over and Daniel faced real turmoil in his life. He might be concerned that his life would be taken by the new conquerors. We know that God has Daniel's life in His hands. Let's turn to our Bibles to see how Daniel does and to follow him through yet another adventure!

  1. On Top


    1. Read Daniel 6:1-3. New King Darius has an organizational plan. Where does Daniel fit into this new plan? (Daniel does very well in the changeover of empires. First, he is one of three top administrators. Darius plans to place Daniel in charge of his entire kingdom.)


      1. Is this kingdom the former Babylon empire or the present Medo-Persian empire? (It is not clear. However the "kingdom" is defined, Daniel has an extremely important job.)


      2. Why do you think that Daniel keeps holding positions of great importance?


    2. Read Daniel 6:4. What motivates these satraps and administrators? Why don't they want Daniel as their boss? (The Bible does not say.)


      1. Would you like a boss who is honest, trustworthy, and diligent? (The problem seems to be that he will be the boss, not that he will be a bad boss.)


      2. Read Ecclesiastes 4:4. Is envy good? Do you think envy is the motivation behind their quest to find charges against Daniel?


      3. If these three administrators sit together to make decisions, what kind of problems do you think Daniel has been facing? Do you think problems of this nature motivated Darius to decide to place Daniel in charge?


    3. Read Daniel 6:5. How do these leaders know about Daniel's God? What does this say about Daniel? (What a wonderful thing to have said about you! You are honest, hardworking, and competent. The only grounds for bringing charges against you would be your faithfulness to your God.)


  2. The Plot


    1. Read Daniel 6:6-7. Do you think all agreed? (Obviously Daniel did not.)


      1. Notice that this decree is to apply to everyone. Why is that? (It hides the real goal of this measure - to kill Daniel.)


      2. Dying from a lion attack would be terrible. How much do these leaders hate Daniel? (Their hatred is obviously demonic.)


      3. Do you see that level of hatred against Christians today?


        1. Why does the decree last for only 30 days? (My guess is that these advisors have their own gods that they want to worship. This should be long enough to catch Daniel.)


          1. Do they think that Daniel will suspend his worship of God for 30 days?


    2. Read Daniel 6:8-9. Why do you think the administrators wanted Darius to put this in writing? (We will discuss this later.)


      1. Why do you think Darius agreed?


      2. If the administrators know about Daniel's religious beliefs, would you expect Darius would know about them?


    3. Read Daniel 6:10. Do the windows need to be opened? Would it be a problem to close them for the next 30 days?


      1. What arguments do you have favoring Daniel's decision? What arguments do you have that are contrary to his decision? (There are reasonable arguments on both sides. Let's look next at some advice in the New Testament.)


      2. Read Matthew 6:6. This tells us that we have a reward from God even when we pray in secret. Would it have been a sin for Daniel to close his windows?


      3. Read Matthew 17:27. Jesus advises a course of action that avoids giving offense to those who do not share our religious beliefs. Would Jesus disagree with Daniel's decision regarding his windows?


      4. Read Romans 14:22. This chapter deals with "disputable matters" ( Romans 14:1). The moral issue is the prayer and not the position of the windows, right? We have been debating whether the windows needed to be closed. Does that mean that Daniel should have closed his windows? (If the windows are a debatable issue, then Daniel would be able to choose according to this text. I'm sure I would be inclined towards the "lion free" choice.)


    4. Look again at Daniel 6:10. Notice the phrase "just as he had done before." Why does Daniel add this point? (He is changing nothing because of this decree.)


      1. What attitude does this reflect? (A perfect trust in God. His God is in charge of his life, and nothing that these envious little subordinates can plot changes his attitude.)


    5. Read Daniel 6:11. Why did they go as a group? (They were afraid. They needed confirmation for their charges.)


      1. What is Daniel's prayer to God? (He was asking for help, no doubt about this situation.)


      2. Have you ever heard the saying, "God helps those who help themselves?" Is that true? Daniel is not helping himself in terms of concealing his violation of the decree.


      3. How would you pray in this situation? Would you ask God for directions as to the position of your windows?


    6. Read Daniel 6:12-13. How does this reflect on the group bringing the charges against Daniel?


      1. Notice how they describe Daniel - one of the slaves! (We have seen over our past studies that this is an on-going insult to Daniel.)


      2. Why did they fail to mention that he was a top administrator?


    7. Read Daniel 6:14. How do you think Darius viewed the reporting group? (He realizes that he has been manipulated by them.)


    8. Read Daniel 6:15. What does this teach us about relying on humans as opposed to relying on God? (Not even the most powerful man in the empire could save Daniel.)


  3. The Rescue


    1. Read Daniel 6:16. Compare the attitude of Darius to Nebuchadnezzar? (Nebuchadnezzar said that the true God could not rescue Daniel's friends from him. Darius says that the true God could rescue Daniel.)


    2. Read Daniel 6:17. Do you think sealing the door to the lions' den was Darius' idea?


    3. Read Daniel 6:18-22. Let's revisit a question that we spent a long time discussing earlier. Would it have been better to close the windows to Daniel's home? (The goal of keeping the windows closed was to keep Daniel safe. Daniel is safe, but look at how Darius has received a lesson that brings glory to God! Keeping the windows open is the best way to bring glory to God! Notice that Darius says that Daniel serves God "continually." No 30-day suspension of worship for Daniel.)


    4. Read Daniel 6:23-24. The text says that the men had "falsely accused Daniel." Is that true? (What was false, was the effort to kill Daniel. What was false was the suggestion that Daniel was engaged in wrongdoing towards the king.)


      1. Is this a just result? Do you think Daniel recommended it? Would Jesus have recommended it?


      2. Consider the relative outcome of Daniel and his accusers. What goal did they have in accusing Daniel? How did that turn out?


      3. Compare the results of envy and evil with the results of trusting God?


    5. Read Daniel 6:25-27. Compare Daniel 4:1-3. Who is God's agent in creating these empire-wide proclamations? (Daniel! Imagine his influence for good!)


      1. If you are faithful, if your highest goal is to bring glory to God, can something like this happen through you?


    6. Read Daniel 6:28. How does the goal of bringing glory to God work out for Daniel?


    7. Friend, faithfulness, and not scheming, is the path to being a blessing and being blessed. Will you commit today, by the power of the Holy Spirit, to be faithful?


  4. Next week: From the Stormy Sea to the Clouds of Heaven.


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Lessons on Daniel

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