“3 …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. 4 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 (no corruption), because he was faithful, and no error or fault was found in him. 5 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….7and 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….11 Then these men came by agreement and found Daniel making petition and plea before his God….13 “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.” 14 Then the king, when he heard these words, was much distressed and set his mind to deliver Daniel. 19 Then, at break of day, the king arose and went in haste to the den of lions. 20 As he came near to the den where Daniel was, he cried out in a tone of anguish…21Daniel said to the king, “O king, live forever! 22 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.” 23 Then the king was exceedingly glad, and commanded that Daniel be taken up out of the den….25 Then King Darius wrote to all the peoples, nations, and languages that dwell in all the earth: “Peace be multiplied to you. 26 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…he who has saved Daniel from the power of the lions.” ” [excerpts] Daniel 6:1-28
Pastor Chris tread on familiar terrain in Daniel chapter 6 with the account of Daniel in the lions’ den. Another lesson for another King who mistakenly thought he was greater than God. Chris recounted how King Darius was easily fooled by his counselors to make a decree that would bring accusation and persecution to Daniel (and, any faithful Jews in exile). Daniel was about 80 years old and he had faithfully served God and multiple Babylonian Kings. His loyalty and position were the envy of many other leaders in the kingdom. It was precisely this spirit of Babylon that manifested as jealousy in the story we all know so well.
Chris warns us that even today, people will resort to all sorts of means to usurp someone they envy. If they can’t get it themselves, they’ll connive to tear the other down. We must be on guard. Like Daniel, we face continual testing of our faith – that is what produces a bona fide testimony. Beware, jealousy is a destructive force! Envy is an insidious tactic of the devil!
“Anger is cruel, and wrath is like a flood, but who can survive the destructiveness of jealousy?” Proverbs 27:4 (NLT)
Two Forms of Jealousy:
- Selfish – “I want what someone else has.”
- Satanic – Desiring evil for someone else.
“For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.” James 3:16 (ESV)
- Envy – if you struggle with this feeling, a great book to read is“Envy: The Enemy Within: Overcoming the Hidden Emotion That Holds God’s Plans Hostage” by Bob Sorge
4 Ways that We can Respond to the Testing of our Faith
- Jealousy Manifested (vv. 1-5) – beware the emotion of jealousy and envy, understand how it hooks you and how God makes a way of escape
5 Signs You May Be Jealous:
- You’re Not Happy at Another’s Good News
- You Try to Diminish Their Accomplishments
- You Avoid a Person
- You’re Clingier with a Person
- You Feel the Need to Compete with Someone
- Trust vs. Terror: Faith vs Fear (vv. 10-18)– when persecution comes (it will), we can be prepared
12 Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” 2 Timothy 3:12 (ESV)
3 Reactions to false accusation
1. Fear (King Darius)
2. Self-Confidence (Politicians Faith in themselves)
3. Faith in God (Daniel)
“There are others who dishonor their profession, and do not live as they should. And there are those who, if they were persecuted, would speedily throw off their profession. They can go with Christ with silken slippers over smooth-shaven lawns, but as to walking through mire and mud with Him, that they cannot do. Oh for the heart of a Daniel, every one of us, to follow Christ at all hazards.” -Spurgeon
- Victor vs. Victim (vv. 19-24)– “no kind of harm was found on him, because he had trusted in his God.” Daniel 6:23
- Courage vs. Compromise (vv. 25-28)–“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.” Daniel 6:27
“You Christian soldiers in the barracks, be decided, stand up for Jesus. You will be ridiculed at first, but you will live that down before long. But if you are cowardly, the ridicule will last many and many a day, and your fellow soldiers will take delight in laughing at you. If any of you are in a workshop, take courage, do not yield.” -Spurgeon
- How have you seen the disastrous effect of jealously in people’s lives? How about in the church?
- What threats or challenges might keep many Christians from worshipping?
- What sort of compromises might modern believers be tempted to make in our culture?
- How might you respond if your conviction and practices were declared illegal?
- How do you think we can live in this excessive, self-absorbed culture without becoming corrupted by it?
- How will you serve the world in the name of Christ without becoming a servant to the world?
- When you are faced with jealousy or envy, how do you respond? If you are convicted by your answer, consider reading the recommended book. Or, at least answer the jealousy questions honestly and commit to God to make daily changes.
3 Questions to Ponder for the Entire Series in Daniel
- Who or what is supreme in your life?
- Does your life portray this?
- What spirit are you following?