Daniel 6 & Psalm 112-113

Daniel 6

    It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom 120 satraps, to be throughout the whole kingdom; and 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. Then 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. Then 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. Then 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.”

    Then these high officials and satraps came by agreement to the king and said to him, “O King Darius, live forever! All 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. Now, 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.” Therefore King Darius signed the document and injunction.

    When 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. Then these men came by agreement and found Daniel making petition and plea before his God. Then 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.” Then 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.”

    Then 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. Then 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.”

    Then 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!” And 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. Then the king went to his palace and spent the night fasting; no diversions were brought to him, and sleep fled from him.

    Then, at break of day, the king arose and went in haste to the den of lions. As he came near to the den where Daniel was, he cried out in a tone of anguish. The king declared to Daniel, “O Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to deliver you from the lions?” Then Daniel said to the king, “O king, live forever! My God sent his angel and shut the lions' mouths, and they have not harmed me, because I was found blameless before him; and also before you, O king, I have done no harm.” Then the king was exceedingly glad, and commanded that Daniel be taken up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no kind of harm was found on him, because he had trusted in his God. And 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.

    Then King Darius wrote to all the peoples, nations, and languages that dwell in all the earth: “Peace be multiplied to you. I make a decree, that in all my royal dominion people are to tremble and fear before the God of Daniel,

    for he is the living God,
        enduring forever;
    his kingdom shall never be destroyed,
        and his dominion shall be to the end.
    He delivers and rescues;
        he works signs and wonders
        in heaven and on earth,
    he who has saved Daniel
        from the power of the lions.”
    
    
So this Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrus the Persian.

(Daniel 6 ESV)


Psalm 112

     Praise the LORD!
    Blessed is the man who fears the LORD,
        who greatly delights in his commandments!
    His offspring will be mighty in the land;
        the generation of the upright will be blessed.
    Wealth and riches are in his house,
        and his righteousness endures forever.
    Light dawns in the darkness for the upright;
        he is gracious, merciful, and righteous.
    It is well with the man who deals generously and lends;
        who conducts his affairs with justice.
    For the righteous will never be moved;
        he will be remembered forever.
    He is not afraid of bad news;
        his heart is firm, trusting in the LORD.
    His heart is steady; he will not be afraid,
        until he looks in triumph on his adversaries.
    He has distributed freely; he has given to the poor;
        his righteousness endures forever;
        his horn is exalted in honor.
    The wicked man sees it and is angry;
        he gnashes his teeth and melts away;
        the desire of the wicked will perish!

(Psalm 112 ESV)


Psalm 113

    Praise the LORD!
    Praise, O servants of the LORD,
        praise the name of the LORD!
    
    
    Blessed be the name of the LORD
        from this time forth and forevermore!
    From the rising of the sun to its setting,
        the name of the LORD is to be praised!
    
    
    The LORD is high above all nations,
        and his glory above the heavens!
    Who is like the LORD our God,
        who is seated on high,
    who looks far down
        on the heavens and the earth?
    He raises the poor from the dust
        and lifts the needy from the ash heap,
    to make them sit with princes,
        with the princes of his people.
    He gives the barren woman a home,
        making her the joyous mother of children.
    Praise the LORD!

(Psalm 113 ESV)

 The following is taken from D.A. Carson's For the Love of God series...

 

FROM THE ACCOUNT OF DANIEL in the lions’ den (Dan. 6), we observe a man about eighty years of age as faithful at the end of his life as he was at the beginning. Some notes:

(1) Despite his advanced years, Daniel’s administrative abilities and his pas- sion for integrity make him highly valuable to a relatively enlightened ruler such as Darius. The same virtues make him a target of envy to lesser men, who are happy to engage in a dirty-tricks campaign to bring him down. Dirty tricks were not invented by Nixon; they stretch back to the Fall. Blessed is the Christian whose life is so transparent, who is “trustworthy and neither corrupt nor negli- gent” (6:4), so that the only way he or she can be destroyed is by making Christian conduct and conviction a crime.

(2) Daniel serves as a model of how a Christian may serve in a government that is itself in no way Christian. He offers no comfort to those who withdraw not only from sin but from responsibility and godly influence.

(3) The expression “laws of the Medes and the Persians, which cannot be repealed” (6:8) was probably a badge of honor in the empire. Probably the policy was designed to discourage favoritism, corrupt exceptions, shifting pragmatism. But no legal system can ensure consistent justice. Corrupt people will always find ways of exploiting the system to oppress others and advance themselves. Hidden behind the slogan is a deeper issue. Historically there has long been a tension between positive law theory, in which the only law to be obeyed is that enacted by government, and natural law theory, in which some fundamentals are thought to be discoverable by human beings. In the name of equity and justice, British courts, until fairly recently, would sometimes set aside positive law in favor of natural law where it was pretty obvious an injustice was otherwise being committed. Both in Britain and in the United States, such considerations are now rare. In Britain, what must be obeyed is what Parliament says; in the United States, what must be obeyed is what the Supreme Court says. In both instances, positive law largely prevails, as in ancient Persia. The matter has become increasingly difficult here since Western states have come to think they have a therapeutic role in society, defining the “illnesses” that must be confronted and the “therapies” that must be imposed as they go along. The potential for injustice and inequity multiplies.

(4) In the crisis precipitated by this unjust law, Daniel remains consistent, nei- ther flaunting his independence nor hiding his convictions and habits. The outcome he leaves with God — very much as in Jesus’ prayer (“Your will be done”) and example (Matt. 6:10; 26:39). Such maturity may well become a cherished model for us.