Recently I was reading Daniel chapter 6, and found myself struck by the impact Daniel had on those around him. After Darius the Mede took over Babylon, he chose men to help him rule, and Daniel was one of those men. Daniel excelled so much in his role that the other men chosen to help rule became jealous and sought to have Daniel removed from his position. They convinced king Darius to sign a law that for 30 days no one could petition any god or man except the king, otherwise they would be thrown into the den of lions. Daniel continued to worship and pray to God despite the new law and these men, anticipating that would be the case, assembled to catch him in the act. When they did, they brought him before the king for his death sentencing. The series of events that takes place next simply amazes me.
Verse 14 says, “And the king, when he heard these words, was greatly displeased with himself, and set his heart on Daniel to deliver him; and he labored till the going down of the sun to deliver him.” Yet despite the king trying to find a way to spare Daniel from being thrown into the lions’ den, the men remind Darius that no law that the king establishes can be changed. “So the king gave the command, and they brought Daniel and cast him into the den of lions. But the king spoke, saying to Daniel, ‘Your God, whom you serve continually, He will deliver you,’” (Daniel 6:16).
Did you catch that?! Darius had just agreed to and signed into law something that said no one in the kingdom could petition any god or man except himself. He wanted to be held in a higher position in people’s lives and hearts than anyone or anything else. And yet, verse 14 says Darius was “greatly displeased with himself…” and tried to figure out a way to spare Daniel’s life. Darius didn’t mind that Daniel was worshiping God! Darius valued Daniel and his role in the government so much that he was willing to allow this man to live who clearly believed there was One more important than Darius.
Obviously Daniel had made a big impact on Darius. In fact, Daniel had made such a big impact that Darius goes on to say that he believes Daniel’s God would deliver him from the hungry, vicious lions he was about to be thrown in to. I don’t know about you, but I think that is amazing! It blows me away that this king who (from what I can tell) did not know or love the Lord, would be so impacted by watching Daniel’s life that he actually believes Daniel’s God could save him from those lions. Based on the information we have to go off of in chapter 6, it appears that Daniel never even had a conversation with Darius about God, so Darius believed this miraculous act was possible for God simply from witnessing Daniel’s life.
The impact of Daniel living faithfully for God resulted in a man believing that God existed, that He was more important than himself (an earthly king), and that He could literally close the mouths of hungry lions that had devoured everyone else put in their midst. If God accomplished all of that through one faithful man, think of all He can accomplish through many faithful lives! I’m sure we all struggle from time to time with wondering if what we are doing is really making a difference. Sometimes we don’t get to see the fruit of our labor, and that can be discouraging if we let it be. But what a great reminder God gives us here in Daniel 6 that a humble life of surrender and faithful service can reap huge rewards for the Kingdom!
In Joyful Surrender,