Wednesday, June 16, 2021

An Excellent Spirit

 


"Then these men said, “We shall not find any charge against this Daniel unless we find it against him concerning the law of his God.” - Daniel 6:5

These "men" were the other governors and satraps that were appointed over the land - other than Daniel - who was appointed as one of three governors because "excellent spirit was in him". They wanted to kick Daniel out of the government because they felt threatened by him. King Darius was thinking of making Daniel head of the government.

But NOTHING Daniel did was wrong. They figured out that the only way to find guilt in Daniel was to try to make him sin against God. Imagine being so pure minded, so filled of goodness, so sin-free and guilt-free that your enemies know that the only way to make you fail is to try to make you do something God would be displeased with.

So they ran to the king, I'm thinking out of breath even and say to him "“King Darius, live forever! All the governors of the kingdom, the administrators and satraps, the counselors and advisors, have consulted together to establish a royal statute and to make a firm decree, that whoever petitions any god or man for thirty days, except you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions."

They knew Daniel would not worship an idol. After all that's why God had destroyed his hometown of Judah and allowed he and his people to be taken captive to Babylon. Even though they were his enemies, they knew where Daniel stood when it came to God. King Darius, acting on his own opinion without the counsel of one who had 'an excellent spirit in him', agreed to the law and it was passed.

I think you already know the rest of the story, but allow me to tell it again because I LOVE IT!

So the image was constructed and placed in the city to be worshipped. But every single day, three times a day, facing Judah is his window in public view, Daniel prayed to God. His faithfulness overcame His fear!

Darius was beside himself. He didn't want to harm Daniel, but He had passed the law that would cause Daniels death!

So they put Daniel into a pit filled with lions, covered it with a large stone, and the king put his signet (wax sign of the king) onto the stone. The King was heartbroken, and cried out to Daniel “Your God, whom you serve continually, He will deliver you.”

Somehow along the way, this idolatrous King had come to believe in God. Maybe it was just Daniel's love and faithfulness to God, maybe it was Daniel's
'excellent spirit' or maybe it was the three thrown into the fire and he looked in and saw a fourth one in the fire, and they were not burned or even singed!

King Darius went home in misery! He fasted. He wouldn't allow musicians nor anyone to comfort him. And he couldn't sleep all night.

The next morning Darius runs to the pit and cries out to Daniel, “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to deliver you from the lions?”

Now if it had been me, I would have sat there petting my lion friends, and not answered for an hour or so just to make him worry! But that's just me.

Daniel did answer, “O king, live forever! My God sent His angel and shut the lions’ mouths, so that they have not hurt me, because I was found innocent before Him; and also, O king, I have done no wrong before you.”

Of course in no time flat he had men bringing Daniel out of the pit. (No mention as to whether they left the lions in there or what...which I've always wondered about.). Daniel didn't have a scratch! Those little kitty cats were in love with Daniel and the 'excellent spirit' he had too, by the commandment of Almighty GOD!

So what is a King to do after something this miraculous happens? I mean, God could have just killed the king and all those bad boys and delivered Daniel himself. But there was something here for the King to learn, to walk forward with the understanding given from this miracle.

King Darius makes another law, because that's what politicians do! And the law goes like this:

"I make a decree that in every dominion of my kingdom men must tremble and fear before the God of Daniel.

For He is the living God,
And steadfast forever;
His kingdom is the one which
shall not be destroyed,
And His dominion shall
endure to the end.
He delivers and rescues,
And He works signs and wonders
In heaven and on earth,
Who has delivered Daniel from
the power of the lions."

There are so many lessons we can learn from this story. What have you learned from it?

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