Daniel 6:1-17,24 – When Faith Is Illegal
Can you imagine in this country if it became illegal to do what is righteous? In the United States of America, we can sometimes take our religious liberties for granted. These religious liberties are granted to us because of the Free Exercise clause that enables us to freely exercise our religion, pray and share our faith without the worry of censorship. However, this is an uncommon thing around the world today and America is drifting closer to losing our religious liberties.
1It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom 120 satraps, to be throughout the whole kingdom; 2and over them three high officials, of whom Daniel was one, to whom these satraps should give account, so that the king might suffer no loss. 3Then this Daniel became distinguished above all the other high officials and satraps, because an excellent spirit was in him. And the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom. 4Then the high officials and the satraps sought to find a ground for complaint against Daniel with regard to the kingdom, but they could find no ground for complaint or any fault, because he was faithful, and no error or fault was found in him. 5Then these 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.”6Then these high officials and satraps came by agreement to the king and said to him, “O King Darius, live forever! 7All the high officials 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 injunction, that whoever makes petition to any god or man for thirty days, except to you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions. 8Now, O king, establish the injunction and sign the document, so that it cannot be changed, according to the law of the Medes and the Persians, which cannot be revoked.” 9Therefore King Darius signed the document and injunction.10When Daniel knew that the document had been signed, he went to his house where he had windows in his upper chamber open toward Jerusalem. He got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously. 11Then these men came by agreement and found Daniel making petition and plea before his God. 12Then they came near and said before the king, concerning the injunction, “O king! Did you not sign an injunction, that anyone who makes petition to any god or man within thirty days except to you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions?” The king answered and said, “The thing stands fast, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be revoked.” 13Then they answered and said before the king, “Daniel, who is one of the exiles from Judah, pays no attention to you, O king, or the injunction you have signed, but makes his petition three times a day.”14Then the king, when he heard these words, was much distressed and set his mind to deliver Daniel. And he labored till the sun went down to rescue him. 15Then these men came by agreement to the king and said to the king, “Know, O king, that it is a law of the Medes and Persians that no injunction or ordinance that the king establishes can be changed.”16Then the king commanded, and Daniel was brought and cast into the den of lions. The king declared to Daniel, “May your God, whom you serve continually, deliver you!” 17And 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 his lords, that nothing might be changed concerning Daniel. 24And the king commanded, and those men who had maliciously accused Daniel were brought and cast into the den of lions—they, their children, and their wives. And before they reached the bottom of the den, the lions overpowered them and broke all their bones in pieces.
Daniel was a leader in the country of Babylon who fixed the corruption. After 70 years of service to three different kings, King Darius recognized Daniel’s excellent spirit and wanted to promote Him. However, the other administrators and leaders of Babylon were so jealous they searched for ways to bring Daniel down. They put a law in place that said that people couldn’t pray to any God or to any man for 30 days. They knew Daniel prayed three times a day, so they tried to block him from praying. Somehow, they found a way to weaponize faith against Daniel. This is not far from our current reality as it becomes more controversial for Christians to share our faith and worship publicly. There are laws being legislated that contest the basics of how God created man and woman.
The Establishment Clause states that Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion. Some have weaponized this clause to try and remove God from government, yet the United States was founded on biblical principles. In the midst of Daniel’s challenge, he could’ve left Babylon or prayed in secret – yet he prayed even more because he would not compromise his faith in God. So, Daniel suffered the consequences. He was thrown into the lion’s den, yet God protected Daniel from the consequences of breaking this unrighteous law. When we stand for righteousness, God stands for us. God protected Daniel from what destroyed his enemies.
Once King Darius realized what had been done, he was grieved and took the very men that accused Daniel and threw them and their families into the lion’s den. When you have bad laws designed to hurt God and His people, innocent people get hurt every single time.
We are living in a time where we must be vigilant about the laws that are being put in place. We must be careful that we are not so distracted by our busy lives that we neglect our responsibility as Jesus believers to stand for the gospel. May we be the men and women of this generation who will stand for truth, and be the salt and light that you desire. When we stand for God’s truth, we know that we have ultimate victory.