Daniel served the Babylonian empire faithfully for almost 70 years and then continued to serve the new Medo-Persian administration of King Darius.
Darius appointed provincial rulers who were responsible for security and collection of tribute. Three chancellors or presidents oversaw their work, making sure the tribute reached the king’s treasury. Daniel was one of the three and he had such a good reputation–“an excellent spirit was in him”–that Darius planned to promote him to a position over the whole kingdom (6:3).
The other officials in the Medo-Persian court resented Daniel and conspired to bring about a royal edict they knew Daniel could not obey. They encouraged King Darius to decree that for thirty days no one was to petition any god or man except the king himself and all offenders would be cast into a den of lions.Daniel continued his practice of prostrating himself in prayer three times daily toward Jerusalem, a practice that must have made it easy to gather the evidence needed to convict him.
In spite of the king’s efforts to rescue Daniel, Darius was forced to acknowledge that his royal decree condemned Daniel to the den of lions (vs. 15-16). Daniel was in the den of lions overnight and when the king came the next day to check on Daniel, the king was overjoyed that Daniel had survived: “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” (vs. 23). Then King Darius had all the men who maliciously accused Daniel thrown into the den of lions and he issued a new decree that all people in his kingdom were to worship the God of Daniel (vs. 26).
This story demonstrates the powerful effect of a good reputation built on faithfulness to God. People trust people who trust God!
What kind of example do you set before people? Is your way of life a witness to the salvation of God?
St. Francis of Assisi said, “Preach the gospel, and if necessary use words.”
“And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.” (1 Corinthians 2:1-5, ESV)