Conflict Over True Worship
Daniel 6 is probably the most popular chapter in the book of Daniel. Those with a Christian background are familiar with Daniel and the lions’ den. If you are unaware of the plot, here’s the gist of it:
Daniel is a successful executive in the kingdom of Medo-Persia. He is placed above all the other executives, pretty much second only to the king. Some other executives under him are jealous and try to find a way to “impeach” him to use a political term. They cannot find any wrongdoing, so they pass a law that will make something he does illegal. A law is passed saying everyone can only worship the king. Daniel continues to pray to God openly facing towards Jerusalem. The jealous executives tattle on him to the king. The king is sad because Daniel is not just a trustworthy worker but a friend. But the king has to follow the law so he throws Daniel into a den of lions. In the morning he wakes up and hurries to the den, calling out to see if Daniel survived. Sure enough, the old prophet emerges and the king ends up throwing the jealous executives and their families into the lions’ den.
There are many similarities between Daniel 6 and Daniel 3, which we discussed here. Both are stories regarding worship. Both issue laws regarding worship. Both laws go against the beliefs of God’s people. Both stories require God’s people to remain consistent and firm in their beliefs. Both are sentenced to death. And both are delivered by God himself!
However, unlike Daniel 3, which sees a decree making false worship legal, Daniel 6 sees a decree making true worship illegal. Daniel 3 required the three Hebrews to do something outside of their beliefs in order to live, Daniel 6 required Daniel to not do something inside his beliefs in order to live. God’s people will face both types of situations in the last days. Daniel 3 was an external attack on God’s law, Daniel 6 was an internal attack on God’s law. Daniel was told to worship the king. And some may argue that religious people should just mind their own business and everything will be okay with society, however this story reveals that minding one’s own business is not a guarantee of safety against laws attacking worship! Daniel continued to kneel three times a day towards Jerusalem, as he always did.
Again, like Daniel 3, Daniel had to make the decision to follow Jesus even it meant going against the law of the land before the conflict came. Daniel did not wait to make a decision when the law was passed. He did not crawl into his closet or pray silently while he was walking to work. He continued to do what he had always done, because he wanted to obey God rather than man.
Some people argue that Daniel was saved from the lions’ den because the lions were not interested in eating him, thus Daniel got a lucky break. However, when we read further we see that the evil executives were thrown into the lions’ den, and they did not even make it to the bottom as the lions shredded them to supper. They were hungry. This was a saving act of grace on God’s part. Like Nebuchadnezzar before him, King Darius witnessed the saving power of God Almighty.
God’s people will find one day in the end of time that their way of worship will be considered illegal. We have discussed this in depth with topics on Babylon Rising and the Mark of the Beast. During the Middle Ages Christians were thrown into the pit to be torn apart by animals or burned at the stake because their way of worship conflicted with the law of the land. But they stood firm. Do not be mistaken while Daniel 6 is considered part of the historical part of the book of Daniel nevertheless it shows that what Daniel is about to see in visions will entail everything he has experienced, but on a greater scale. This is just the beginning.
What should you take away from this chapter? That you should decide to stand for Jesus no matter what happens around you. There is no escaping or avoiding the test that will reveal whether you have chosen to follow God or man. Make the choice now, with the power of God and the mercy of Jesus!