Daniel 6 (3)
King Darius had overstepped his bounds. By insisting on when people could pray, and making himself the focus of prayer, if only for 30 days, he abused his God-given office and usurped the prerogatives of God. When government does that, not only must it not be obeyed, it must be disobeyed. The Hebrew midwives understood this, and they were blessed of God. No doubt Daniel was banking on their example as he took up his own act of civil disobedience to maintain obedience to God. The king had spoken; but Daniel, since he served another King, was undeterred.
Read Exodus 1.15-21.
Read Daniel 6.10.
Think it Through
1. Our text stresses that Daniel knew about this wicked law that Darius had been flattered into signing. Do you think it’s a good idea to keep up on the laws, regulations, and court rulings of civil governments, especially as these may have a bearing on the practice of our faith? Explain. Daniel knew this law, and then went directly to disobey it. Wait a second: What about Romans 13.1-4? How can we reconcile Daniel’s action and Paul’s teaching? What is the key phrase in Romans 13.4?
2. Daniel can teach us about prayer, both here and, as we shall see, in subsequent chapters. First, let’s remember that Daniel was one of three governors of the Persian Empire (vv. 1, 2). We can imagine that he was a very busy man. But this did not prevent him from praying three times a day, every day (“as he had been doing previously”). Meditate on Psalm 55.16, 17. Is there some advantage to having set times like this for prayer? Next, we note that Daniel had a specific place for prayer, and he assumed a particular posture as he prayed. How can these help us in our prayers? Finally, we note that his prayer consisted of “praying and giving thanks before his God”. Why was it important to mention both these practices? What can you learn from Daniel to improve your own practice of prayer?
“Note how much this verse implied in a few words in mentioning the piety and courage of blessed Daniel. First, when Daniel learned that the decision has been reached, ‘he went into his house’—that is, when he got news of the passing of the law, he had great scorn for it and continued openly doing the opposite. It next mentions a further detail that reveals his courage: the windows were open, it says—in other words, he said his prayers not in secret but openly, with everyone watching, not for vainglory but in scorn for the impiety of the law.” Theodoret of Cyr (393-466 AD)
So they called them and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.” Acts 4.18-20
Lord, I need to set my mind, today and every day, so that nothing men or governments say, do, or threaten will keep me from bearing witness to Jesus. To that end, today help me to…
Pray Psalm 66.8-15.
We may be tried, burdened, opposed, and oppressed at times, but we must still come to the Lord and offer ourselves as living sacrifices to Him.
Psalm 66.5-16 (Regent Square: Angels from the Realms of Glory)
Great and awesome is our Savior in the works which He has done.
He the sea and river dried to let His people cross as one.
Then our joy was great to worship Him our mighty, sovereign One.
He the nations watches ever – all you rebels, humbled be;
Bless our God, all men and nations, praise His Name eternally!
He preserves our souls, and He will keep His paths beneath our feet.
You have tried us, Lord, as silver, and have brought us into nets,
Made us carry heavy burdens, let men trample o’er our heads.
But through all Your grace sustained us and has brought us through to rest.
To Your house we come with off’rings, what we vowed, Lord, help us do.
O, receive our praise and homage as we give ourselves to You.
Come and listen, all who fear Him: hear what this great God can do!
T. M Moore
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All psalms for singing adapted from The Ailbe Psalter. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006.