Daniel, an Israelite captive taken to Babylon, has distinguished himself in his studies, exerted his identity through a successful diet plan, but then twice interpreted dreams for the king. Las week he read the “handwriting on the wall” literally for the king predicting the downfall of the kingdom and indeed that night Darius overthrew Belteshazzar. Daniel must be definitely “mature” now and climbing the political ladder. He is one of three presidents of the kingdom and headed to be number one over the whole kingdom. Few of us have experienced that kind of public success.
- Remember a time when you felt you were doing a job well. What did that look like? ______________________________
- Was there a flip side of the success, the cost of success unseen to others? __________________________________
- Were there spiritual disciplines you had in place in your life that nourished you during this time? _______________________
6 It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom one hundred twenty satraps, stationed throughout the whole kingdom, 2 and over them three presidents, including Daniel; to these the satraps gave account, so that the king might suffer no loss. 3 Soon Daniel distinguished himself above all the other presidents and satraps because an excellent spirit was in him, and the king planned to appoint him over the whole kingdom. 4 So the presidents and the satraps tried to find grounds for complaint against Daniel in connection with the kingdom. But they could find no grounds for complaint or any corruption, because he was faithful, and no negligence or corruption could be found in him. 5 The men said, “We shall not find any ground for complaint against this Daniel unless we find it in connection with the law of his God.”
- The writer credits “an excellent spirit was in him (Daniel).” What might that have looked like? ___________________________________________________
- How would you have credited your success? ____________
6 So the presidents and satraps conspired and came to the king and said to him, “O King Darius, live forever! 7 All the presidents of the kingdom, the prefects and the satraps, the counselors and the governors are agreed that the king should establish an ordinance and enforce an interdict, that whoever prays to anyone, divine or human, for thirty days, except to you, O king, shall be thrown into a den of lions. 8 Now, O king, establish the interdict and sign the document, so that it cannot be changed, according to the law of the Medes and the Persians, which cannot be revoked.” 9 Therefore King Darius signed the document and interdict.
- We would not approach a leader today giving godly stance ie pray to the leader, but a leader might be approach on the basis of his pride. What laws might be passed today that would be labeled “treason” if broken? __________________________
- Do we have any laws that we consider unchangeable? ____
10 Although Daniel knew that the document had been signed, he continued to go to his house, which had windows in its upper room open toward Jerusalem, and to get down on his knees three times a day to pray to his God and praise him, just as he had done previously. 11 The conspirators came and found Daniel praying and seeking mercy before his God. 12 Then they approached the king and said concerning the interdict, “O king! Did you not sign an interdict, that anyone who prays to anyone, divine or human, within thirty days except to you, O king, shall be thrown into a den of lions?” The king answered, “The thing stands fast, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be revoked.” 13 Then they responded to the king, “Daniel, one of the exiles from Judah, pays no attention to you, O king, or to the interdict you have signed, but he is saying his prayers three times a day.”
14 When the king heard the charge, he was very much distressed. He was determined to save Daniel, and until the sun went down he made every effort to rescue him. 15 Then the conspirators came to the king and said to him, “Know, O king, that it is a law of the Medes and Persians that no interdict or ordinance that the king establishes can be changed.”
16 Then the king gave the command, and Daniel was brought and thrown into the den of lions. The king said to Daniel, “May your God, whom you faithfully serve, deliver you!” 17 A stone was brought and laid on the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet and with the signet of king went to his palace and spent the night fasting; no food was brought to him, and sleep fled from him.
- Daniel prayed three times a day for “mercy.” What drives us to continual prayer? __________________________________
- A “stay of execution” was not possible. Just Mercy is a book these days turned into a movie about life on Death Row. Perhaps the verdict is “operation,” or “pay the bill,” or what? ________________
- The king’s prayer is, “May your God, whom you faithfully serve, deliver you!” What is your prayer request today? _____________