Dr. S. Lewis Johnson expounds the famous story of the conspiracy to sent Daniel into the lion's den.
[Prayer] We thank Thee again Lord for the privilege of the study of the Scriptures and we turn again with anticipation to them. We thank Thee for the faithfulness of Daniel and for the inspiration that his life has been down through the centuries and is to us today in 1979. And we pray Lord that some of the stability of character and some of the spirituality may become ourselves as we reflect upon the relationship that he had with Thee.
We realize that the things that Daniel was able to accomplish are ultimately traceable to the grace of God. And so Lord we pray that Thou wilt give us the submission to the working of God in our hearts and lives that we will produce the fruit that will bring honor and glory to Thy name. We ask you that this hour may be a time of spiritual blessing for each one of us.
We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
[Prayer] We are turning tonight to Daniel chapter 6 and the subject is “Daniel in the lions’ den”. Daniel was a man of a royal race and what is far better, he was a man of royal character. And one of the things that emerges as one looks at the character of this great man is that he believed in the high sovereignty of the King of Kings. It is great of course to live in the presence of kings of this earth. But it is much more significant to live in the presence of the King of Kings and that is one of the things that characterizes the life of Daniel. He was a man who believed in the sovereignty of the King of Kings and his life is a life that is lived in the presence of the King of Kings.
In the 16th chapter of the Proverbs and verse 7, it is said when a man’s ways are pleasing to the Lord, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him. And as a result of the experiences of Daniel, one can see that scripture fulfilled. Remember when we were beginning our study of Daniel and as we have been going chapter by chapter, we have sought to suggest to you that there are three principles of interpretation that we may keep before us in all of the prophetic sections of the word of God. There is the primary interpretation of the passage, which we discern by a grammatical, historical study of the context. What does the grammar suggest? What was the history lying in the background of the accounts suggest? And the point that is made by the grammatical, historical method of interpretation and I think we should understand that under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. So it is really grammatical, historico-grammatico-spiritual interpretation. In this case it is the deliverance of Daniel from the den of lions.
Passages in the prophetic word also have a present application; that is, the principles that one sees operative in the passages of the principals that pervade all of the ages of the unfolding of the divine revelation. And so in this chapter there is an outstanding application of principle that is found here and it is the trust in God in the difficulties brings the people of God ultimately deliverance. And then finally in this particular section which may seem to be at the first only a passage of history there is also illustrated in it. It seems to me God’s deliverance of Israel out of The Great Tribulation of the future.
In the Book of Jeremiah, in the 30th chapter in the 7th verse, the prophet Jeremiah speaking about the great tribulation says, alas! for that day is great. There is none like it and it is the time of Jacob’s distress, but he will be saved from it. And so the deliverance of the Jewish man Daniel from the lions’ den is an illustration of the future deliverance of the Nation Israel from the time of trial that will come to pass upon the earth. Lots of other all people who believe that the church will go through that period of Great Tribulation and there are people who believe that the church will not go through that time of Great Tribulation. This is not the time to discuss the issue like that; that belongs to other sections of the Bible because in Daniel we don’t have any thing about the local church, or the church of Jesus Christ directly. So far as the New Testament is concerned, one can make a fairly good case for the church not going through the Tribulation and one can make a pretty good case for the church going through the Tribulation. One thing I do know that when the rapture takes place there will be some in Believers Chapel, no doubt, who will go up rather rapidly and the reason for that is the Bible says the dead in Christ shall rise first. [Laughter] And in Believers Chapel, we have a few like that, I am sure.
Now we are turning to first three verses of Daniel chapter 6. There was nothing personal about it. I just saw one or two, they were already nodding in the meeting and they needed to be awakened. So will you turn now and we are going to do as we have been doing all along we are going to read the section and then make a few comments rather than reading the whole chapter at the beginning.
So Daniel chapter 6 verse 1 through verse 3, and the prophet writes,
“It seemed good to Darius to appoint a hundred and twenty satraps over the kingdom that they should be in charge of the whole kingdom and over them three commissioners of whom Daniel was one. That these satraps might be accountable to them and that the king might not suffer loss. Then this Daniel began distinguishing himself among the commissioners and satraps because he possessed an extraordinary spirit and the king planned to appoint him over the entire kingdom.”
You notice in the last verse of the preceding chapter, it says so Darius the Mede. Biblical students have wondered about the identity of the Darius the Mede, because there is no reference specifically to Darius the Mede. Consequently, some of the students of the history of the Bible have suggested that verse 31 of chapter 6 should be rendered in a slightly different way and that Darius the Mede is really a reference to Cyrus. Others have made a good case for Darius the Mede being a reference to Kubaru who was Governor of Babylon. The point is not of great significance except to say that there is an explanation for a longtime an apparent historical error in the Book of Daniel.
Now it is no accident of course that Daniel is possessed of a very high position in the government in Babylon. We read that he was one of these commissioners and we will see as we go through the biblical record of the history of Israel that it was no accident because this is just before the time of the end of the seventy years of captivity and it is possible that Daniel by virtue of his high position is able to influence Cyrus with reference to the return of the children of Israel to the land. And it would appear from the Book of Ezra which records this that he was of influence. Consequently, Daniel is possessed of this position by no accident at all. “Them that honor me I will honor,” we read in the Book of 1 Samuel but while it is true them that honor me I will honor, others are going to be judged and that is what we find here.
There are others who are jealous of Daniel. If I may suggest to you that this passage illustrates the relationship between the Jews and the future and the great tribulation and the events of the last days, I would suggest to you that this jealousy which they found toward Daniel is paralleled by the attitude that the nations have today to the Jewish people. Because the Jewish people have been endowed by God with certain unusual properties and the history of the Jews reveals the fact that God’s hand has been upon them. There are certain skills that they have in which they excel among the nations of the Earth. It is as a result of the divine distinguishing grace which God has manifested to them and others are jealous of them.
We have seen the illustrations of that in the 20th Century with the way the Germans, with the way the Russians, with the way others; the Italians have treated the Jewish people. Hamlet said to Ophelia, “Be thou hast chastest eyes as pure as snow, thou shalt not escape calumny,” and the believing Christian shall expect that others will be jealous of the things that God has for them. So Daniel here is in the midst of a heathen nation. He has been a very high position but others don’t like it. And so a plot takes place against Daniel and we turn to the 4th verse now and read through verse 9 for the plot against Daniel.
Then the Commissioners and Satraps began trying to find a ground of accusation against Daniel in regard to government affairs. But they could find no ground of accusation or evidence of corruption in as much as he was faithful and no negligence or corruption was to be found in him. Then these men said, we shall not find any ground of accusation against this Daniel unless we find it against him with regard to the law of his God. It is clear that the light of the truth of God in the heart of Daniel was shining in the court of the pagan king. Then these Commissioners and Satraps came by agreement to the king and spoke to him as follows,
“King Darius, live forever. All the commissioners of the kingdom, the prefects and the Satraps, the high officials and the governors have consulted together that the king should establish a statute and enforce an injunction that anyone who makes a petition to any God or man besides you, O king, for thirty days will be cast into the lions’ den.
“Now O king establish an injunction and sign the document so that it may not be changed according to the law of the Medes and Persians which may not be revoked. Thereupon, King Darius signed the document.”
That is, the injunction. Alexander McClaren describes the court of Darius in words like this. He said, “It was high of shambles and hay of a pigsty. It was characterized by luxury, by sensuality, by lust, by self-seeking, by idolatry, by ruthlessness, by cruelty, and things like that.” The environment of this man of Daniel therefore was the environment of this. They went on to say that Daniel was different and then added that there is no circumstance in which a man must have his garments spotted by the world. That of course is true. If you look at the 4th verse you will see that Daniel was a man who was unspotted in both his official life and in his personal life. The commissioners and Satraps began trying to find a ground of accusation against Daniel in regard to government affairs. But they could find no ground of accusation or evidence of corruption. Even in the midst of a government that apparently was as corrupt as our GSA. Daniel is a man with no official spot upon him.
Further in the same verse it is said that he was faithful in the personal matters. They could find no evidence of corruption in as much as he was faithful and no negligence or corruption was to be found in him. So he is a man who was faultless in his official life and faultless in his personal life. What a great testimony to the grace of God in Daniel. That is the kind of thing that believers who name the name of the Lord Jesus Christ should make it one of their petitions to emulate. And so Daniel was a man blameless according to the standards of the time. But nevertheless in spite of the spotlessness of Daniel, trouble comes and so now we turn to verses 10 through 17 and read of the predicament in which Daniel will find himself.
Now when Daniel knew that the document was signed, he entered his house. Now in his roof chamber, he had windows open toward Jerusalem and he continued kneeling on his knees three times a day praying and giving thanks before his God as he had been doing previously. Then these men came by agreement and found Daniel making petition and supplication before his God. Then they approached and spoke before the king about the king’s injunction. And they ask a question very politely,
“Did you not sign an injunction that any man who makes a petition to any God or man besides you. O king, for thirty days he is to be cast into the lions’ den. The king answered and said. The statement is true according to the law of the Medes and Persians which may not be revoked. Then they answered and spoke before the king. Daniel who is one of the exiles from Judah pays no attention to you, O King, or to the injunction which you signed but keeps making his petitions three times a day. Then as soon as the king heard the statement he was deeply distressed and set his mind on delivering Daniel and even until sunset he kept exerting himself to rescue him. Then these men came by agreement to the king and said to the king, recognize O king that it is a law of the Medes and Persians that no injunction or statute which the king has establishes may be changed. Then the king gave orders and Daniel was brought in and cast into the lions’ den. The king spoke and said to Daniel, ‘Your God whom you constantly serve will deliver you,’ and a stone was brought, laid over the mouth of the den and the king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the signet rings of his nobles, so that nothing might be changed in regard to Daniel.”
Now the reason for Daniel’s predicament is stated in the 10th verse. It is said here, when he knew that the document was signed, he entered into his house, he left his windows open immediately, even bothered to close his windows. He left his windows open which were open toward Jerusalem and he continued kneeling on his knees three times a day praying and giving thanks before his God as he had done previously. I am sure that when the news came to Daniel that the decree had been signed that anyone who offered a petition to anyone other than king Darius for thirty days, it brought a blush to the cheek of Daniel because of the wickedness of foolishness of the king that he was seeking to serve. He saw that he had become the dupe of the vile courtiers who are after his job.
Daniel was just like people today who work in a commercial or business establishments and who discover that the people around them want their job. That even happens in the churches, by the way. People always want the job of the person about them. Daniel was the kind of man whose service was as unto the Lord and I am sure that it embarrassed him to think that the king had been made such a fool of by these men who were about him. Daniel was about 87 years of age at this time, so he was an old man. The thing that characterized him is prayer. He prayed.
Now the Lord Jesus said that men aught always to pray. Now he prayed. That is the first thing that characterized him. He was a man of prayer. And the fact that he prayed three times a day in his own room suggests that three times he left his place of business, his place of service. Now whether it was in the same building or not, the Scriptures do not say it. May well have been in another building, so three times a day he left his work. At least once he left his work and once before work, in any way three times a day he prayed. So it was a regular thing for him. The injunction meant nothing to Daniel.
The Scriptures say incidentally that we are to pray without ceasing. Now that does not meant we are to constantly have a prayer upon our lips or in our minds because of course we could not have everything upon our mind. The word translated unceasing is the word that was used of a person who had a hacking cough and so it means to pray at frequent intervals. And throughout the day characteristic of Daniel was the offering of the petitions to the Lord. So he prayed and he prayed habitually. And notice too that he prayed thankfully. The Scriptures say in verse 10, that he was praying and giving thanks before his God as he had been doing previously. So he prayed, he prayed habitually and he also added to his petitions, words of thanksgiving. Those were some very, very appropriate words concerning prayer.
Let me ask you a question? My dear Christian friend who attend Believers Chapel and insists you are not one of the dead in Christ, Do you pray? Do you really pray? Do you pray habitually? Is there a time when you get down upon your knees and spend some time in prayer? Is there some place in your house which you know as a place where you often pray? As you look at that place you think about the many times that you have knelt by that chair, by that bed, and have spent time in prayer. Is that really an experience of yours? Do you pray, do you pray habitually, and do you intersperse your petitions with thanksgiving for the things that if characterized your life, all the way down, from your salvation, right on through all of your experiences to the present time, both thanksgiving for the good things and for the bad things, humanly speaking, that have happened to you?
I wonder what would happen if in Believers Chapel we had a regular prayer meeting and there should go forth a decree that no one should pray for thirty days and if anyone was caught praying they would be put in the electric chair. I imagine that the attendance at the prayer meeting would be somewhat diminished. After all, if it were even a lions’ den that is not a very comfortable place, a lions’ den. What about it? What do you think? Do you think you would pray? There was a man whose motto concerning him is put in Westminster Abbey, he feared man so little because he feared God so much. And one of the best ways to learn the fear of God is to get down upon your knees and spend sometime in prayer before the Lord.
There are people I am sure who would have had some very rational reasons why Daniel should not have prayed. After all he was a very useful man. He was a useful man for those who are members of the tribe of Judah or of the Jewish people who were in captivity. Probably he was the most important man of all of the company of the captivity. I am sure that if the word had gone out and a discussion was held all kinds of reasons might have been offered by which Daniel might escape the possibility of finding his way into the lions’ den. Daniel, you are so useful to us. And why should you not for thirty days stop praying; it is only thirty days. And thirty days will be over and then you can go ahead . You will outwit your enemies if you don’t do what they think you are going to do. And they have already in their minds put him in the lions’ den. But if you just would not pray for thirty days. Many of us don’t pray for sixty or ninety days. Just thirty days Daniel, and everything is going to be alright.
Well, I will make good sense because I could say you are useful to us. You are necessary for our well being, in Babylon. It is like the person who says that he is so useful in the apostate church in which he finds himself or in the heretical company of which he is the part. But he thinks that that is where you have to stay. And so it is almost as if in the name of almighty God we are to do evil that good may come. Or perhaps an even more a rational kind of thing, Daniel, you don’t have to pray aloud. You can pray in your heart. You don’t even have to move your lips. You can close the windows and no one will know that you are praying. But you will be praying and therefore you will escape the lions’ den and you will outwit these vile courtiers who is seeking your job and seeking to do us bad. So why not cease praying and outwit those fellows. Pray in your heart.
Daniel was not that kind of man. For him, principle meant something. John Bunyan as many of you know was a man of conviction. When they brought him up before the magistrates, they told him, he must not preach. But I will preach, said he. I will preach tomorrow by the help of God. But you will be put in prison again. Never mind, I will preach as soon as I get out. But you will be hanged or kept in prison all your life. If I lie in prison said he, till the moss grows up on my eyelids I can say nothing more than this. With God’s help I will preach whenever I get a chance. Don’t tell me that these are nonessentials.
Mr. Spurgeon says, “Come in, do not tell to men that will follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth, even the opening or the shutting of a window if need be is essential. We are jealous over what I call trifles. They may be mere straws but they show which way the wind blows.” Then Mr. Spurgeon goes on to say, “We want a raise of grand old bigots back again.” I didn’t know the origination of the term bigots, but he said that it rose out of the fact that a Protestant on one occasion was bidden to bow down before the cross when he was about to be knighted. And he was told to bow down before the cross and he was also told it is only a forum, so bow down before it. But he said, “By God,” I won’t. And they called him “By God” and there were others who didn’t do and so they called them “By Gods” from which came the word “bigot.” Those who would not yield to pressure from any one but would bow down only to the true God.
And Daniel is probably the grandest bigot of them of all. He would not bow down even to the king and the law of the Medes and Persians but he will pray right on. You may call him bigoted fool, you may call him ridiculous, you may say that he risk his usefulness with the king but nevertheless the Scriptures speak of this as one of the great decisions found in the word of God. The great illustrations of this one of the most famous is the statement of Polycarp one of the early church fathers made when he was threatened with martyrdom if he did not reproach Christ and he said, “Eighty and six years have I served him and he never did me injury. How then can I blaspheme my King and Savior?”
Now it seems to me that we need individuals in the Christian church, yes in Believers Chapel, who will stand for truth enough that they will in spite of what people say do what is right. We do need some people who have the courage of their convictions. Now a man like this is preserved and so we read in verses 18 through 23 of the preservation of Daniel. Then the King went off to his palace and spent the night fasting. And no entertainment was brought before him and his sleep fled before him. Then the King arose with dawn at the break of day and jogged over to the lions’ den, says went in haste. So he did run over there. [Laughter] He was very anxious to find out what had happened; I thought maybe joggers would like that. I have a preacher friend who says it’s not jogging it’s jiggling. That is the way it looks most of the time.
“And when he had come near the den to Daniel, he cried out with a troubled voice, the King spoke and said to Daniel, Daniel, servant of the Living God, Has your God whom you constantly serve been able to deliver you from the lions. Then Daniel spoke to the King, O King live for ever. My God sent his angel and shut the lions’ mouths. And they have not harmed me in as much as I was found innocent before him and also told you O King, I have committed no crime. Then the King was very pleased and gave orders for Daniel to be taken up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den and no injury whatever was found on him because he had trusted in his God.”
Do you think that Daniel may have had some kind of a reaction when he was put in the lions’ den as what is this? Is it really fair? After all I have served you all of these years and now I am going to wind up as food for lions. I wonder what really happened in that lions’ den. Because in a moment when the others are thrown in theirs, it is just a moment before everybody is within the lions. But in this case as they rushed out to take hold of Daniel suddenly something came over the lions and instead of being wild and ferocious beast they suddenly are as tame as kittens and you can just imagine the prophet leaning up against the walls of the den with the animals lying around him and keeping him warm during the night.
Now there is an application for this of course the present day application is that by virtue of the relationship that Daniel had to his Lord, he has the assurance that the Lord will deliver him. Our God is able to deliver us, so the Scriptures say. There is an interesting story to me which I think must have illustrated something of the feeling in Daniel. Someone has been fiddling with the mike and it is acting little differently. But anyway, a workman was employed on a building project where it was necessary for him to work at night, and while he was busy on the edge of the wall several stories high he lost his balance. And just as he was falling he managed to grasp the edge of the wall with his hand and he clung desperately to the side of the wall, but it was night time and no other noises were being heard and consequently when he yelled for help no one heard him.
And it was dark, no one saw him until finally his hands began to grow numb and his strength gave up, slowly his fingers slipped and against every effort of his will to hold on at last he could no longer hold on and with a terrifying cry he fell about three inches to a scaffold which was right under him. Now the darkness had prevented him from seeing that. That is like many of our experiences. We are terrified by the predicament in which we find ourselves but when we really let the Lord take over we discover it is not really so bad after all. Daniel must have had something of that feeling in the lions’ den as he, with trepidation, no doubt was thrown into the den but discovered that the animals are now tame.
There is an interesting I think prophetic illustration here because Daniel representing those of the captivity of Judah placed in the midst of the lion’s den with the gentiles about in the heathen king and the other enemies of the people of Judah being placed in there suggests to us the future when Israel shall in the great tribulation experience the judgments of God but shall be delivered from it. It is as we read a moment ago from Jeremiah chapter 30 and verse 7, that future day, that last week of history before the Second Advent, it is the time of Jacob’s trouble but he shall be saved out of it. And so we do have an illustration here of the future of the nation Israel and their deliverance from The Great Tribulation.
Next week, when we start the prophetic sections of the Book of Daniel, we will see the beginnings some of these things. There is another point I want you to notice in verse 22 and that is that Daniel says, “My God sent his angel and shut the lions’ mouths.” If you turn back to chapter 3 verse 25 and verse 28 where we read about Daniel’s friends in the fiery furnace. Remember, we discussed the fact that when they looked into the fiery furnace instead of seeing three of the Hebrews, there were four. In verse 25 we read, he answered and said, Look I see four men loosed and walking about in the midst of the fire without harm and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the Gods. And then verse 28, Nebuchadnezzar responded and said blessed be the God of Shadrach, Mishach and Abednego who has sent his angel and delivered his servants who put their trust in him.
Now we pointed out that the reference there to the one who was like the son of God was a reference to a theophany of the second person of the Godhead most likely. Commentators and students of Daniel generally agree that that is true. That is the fourth person was our Lord Jesus Christ in one of his preincarnate appearances. We call them theophanies, and you know the many times in the old testament he is called the angel of Jehovah and you read about the angel of Jehovah in passages and then soon the angel of Jehovah this, angel of Jehovah that and then instead of the angel of Jehovah, just Jehovah. So the angel of Jehovah becomes Jehovah in the context because the Lord Jesus is Jehovah the son.
Now he has called here in chapter 3 both one like unto the son of God and then in verse 25, he is called the angel. So the angel and the son of God, one like the son of God are the same. Daniel says, my God sent his angel and shut the lions’ mouth. So it is most likely here in the sixth chapter that we have a second Theofani of the son of God, the second person of the Trinity who in another preincarnate appearance delivers Daniel from the lions’ mouths. Let us go on now and read of the perishing of Daniel’s enemies. This is the good part. Verse 24,
“The King then gave orders and they brought those men who had maliciously accused Daniel and they cast them with children and their wives into the lions’ den. And they had not reached the bottom of the den before the lions overpowered them and crushed all their bones.”
Note in the promises that God made to Abraham, he said, those that bless you they will be blessed, those that curse you will be cursed. And there is an application of that principle right here. For these men hoped to execute a kind of persecution upon Daniel of the Jewish people that would mean his death. But instead they themselves are the ones that suffered from the lions’ den. God makes the wicked to praise him and those who seek to do harm to his people are themselves often exposed to the same judgment that they thought to bring against the servants of God.
Now Darius issues then a proclamation in verse 25 through 27,
“Then Darius the King wrote to all the peoples’ nations and men of every language who are living in all the land. May your peace abound, I make a decree that in all the dominion of my kingdom men are to fear and tremble before the God of Daniel.”
You notice here, while he has great regard for the God of Daniel, it is still the God of Daniel, it is not my God. So he is the living God. He knows something about the self existent God and he endures for ever. He knows he is an eternal God. He has learned a great deal about this God but so far as we can tell himself does not have any personal trust in him. That of course is the experience of many, they attend church, they know there is such a person as God; they even know he is supposed to be eternal and they know probably that he lives for ever; they also think that they may know about him but so far as the personal relationship to him is concerned many do not have personal relationship to him.
How about you? Is your relationship to the Lord a personal one? Is it a day by day a personal thing with you? Listen to what else he says, that his kingdom is one which will not be destroyed and his dominion will be forever. He knows about an eternal kingdom. He is a royal God. He delivers and rescues and performs signs and wonders in heaven and on earth who has also delivered Daniel from the power of the lions. So he knows a great deal about this God of Daniel but so far as we can tell he has no personal relationship to him and finally the chapter concludes with a word concerning the success of Daniel. So this Daniel enjoyed success in the reign of Darius and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian.
What is the secret of Daniel? Well, the Scriptures say that in verse 23, no injury was found on him, because he trusted in his God, or as the Authorized Version has it, “he believed in his God.” But the decree of Darius said, nevertheless than what his God said. So the secret of Daniel is that while he no doubt had a high regard for the sovereignty of King Darius the Mede, for Daniel the supreme standard of life is what does my God think and he will be faithful to his God regardless of what may come to him apparently physically and that is an important principle. That is an important principle which if everyone in Believers Chapel will make that a principle of his life which he lives out, well, there is no telling what kind of assembly this might be.
Now I think that there are some of you who do have this spirit of Daniel. But it would be great if we all had the spirit of Daniel and what concerned us was not what our friends say, not what other circumstances might suggest that we ought to do but what does the Word of God say. We will follow that. John Guild was a Baptist Calvinist, a very fine man. He has written some very unusually good works. He has written an exposition of the whole of the Scriptures. I think he, it said, is the only Calvinist who ever wrote an exposition of the whole of the Sccriptures. I don’t know whether that is true or not. Calvin almost did, but John Guild completed it. In fact it is being sold over here in the book room. I don’t know the price, but it rather expensive. I think about $200. And Mr. Guild was an outstanding man. He was a man who was a super-lapsarian Calvinist, i.e., he was the Calvinist of the Calvinists. He was a man that you probably could call an ultra-Calvinist. He was a man who wrote a little book called, The Cause of God and Truth.
Now when he wrote this book it was an attempt to defend Calvinism and it is not a bad defense. I have never seen an Armenian answer it but they can answer lots of things. They have never answered so far as an almost Guild’s little book. But he was warned when he wrote that book. Mr. Guild, if you publish this book you will lose a lot of friends and furthermore you are going to lose a lot of income too. You will lose both friends and money. Mr. Guild replied, I can afford to be poor but I cannot afford to injure my conscience. So he published it. And I am sure that if you were able to ascertain the truthfulness of that he probably did lose some friends and he probably lost some income. But down through the years his name has stood as an illustration of a man who no matter what it may cost him preached the truth as he saw it.
There are students who attend theological seminaries. There may be some of these boys lurking around in this auditorium tonight. You attend theological seminary and so you see some truth that your faculty members don’t understand yet. And that the institution may not stand for. And so you begin to propagate this truth and soon you are called in by the authorities, the administration. And one of the things that they like to tell you is this, now if you hold this truth, they don’t try to argue the truth necessarily, we are assuming that you are right. And that is very often the case. They will say now, if you hold this truth, you are going to discover that you are not going to able to get a church; you know, it won’t be able to find a place where you can preach, and furthermore we won’t recommend you to these churches.
Now this is the kind of approach that is taken that is to scare you, that’s to see if you have got a spiritually yellow streak. They warn you. If you don’t tow the line you will suffer for it. But after all what is the principle by which the servants of God are to be guided? The principle is what does Scripture teach, not what do the ecclesiastics say. Let me assure you this. You who are a young man and you who are older man too teach the word. If you have by God been given the urge to preach the word of God genuinely you don’t have to worry about open doors.
God will open the doors and you will have an opportunity to preach. So if he has laid his hand upon you, you don’t have to worry about what the ecclesiastic say, you don’t have to worry about what your friend say. Of course, you want to be a gentleman, you want to be honest, you want to be a man who can be trusted, you want to have integrity, Daniel had integrity, but he also had that conviction that he would obey God even at the cost of his life and the truth is important. The truth of God is the truth of God and those that honor him He will honor. You can be sure of that.
So let them warn you, you don’t have any place to preach. O my goodness, you might have to go down on the street corner and start preaching. You may be terrible. You won’t be able to preach to a nice congregation, who every Sunday morning dresses up in their nice clothes and comes and thinks about adding a room to the house or cutting out a new dress while you are preaching the word. Some of you do that. You didn’t know I could read your minds. You know why I know that? Because I have been told that specifically.
I had a good friend that was a woman, she was a lovely person. She had a real good sense of humor. I didn’t blame of her doing it for some of the preaching she had to listen to. What she said that when a certain man preached and she named the man and then she described his life. She said his life is so bad that every time he preaches in our church I cut out a new dress in my mind. You may not be able to get the kind of church that they want to give you, you may not be able to have meetings in the churches that they think that you ought to have meetings in.
But if you are a man called by God, he will open the doors and you will have an opportunity to preach and furthermore do you know what the Holy Spirit will do? He leads the seeking souls in whose hearts he has planted the desire to be saved, he leads them out of the church in which you cannot preach over into that group of people where you are preaching and they will be saved, because he is sovereign in his activities and he will save exactly those persons that he intends to save. No more, no less. He will save them through the preaching that he himself is responsible for to which he has called the man of God. He believed in his God. He trusted his God and that was his secret.
Now the theme of the chapter of course is deliverance, you will find that it is mentioned six times in this chapter. When you think about the deliverance that Daniel received it suggests all kinds of deliverance but specifically two kinds. There is the deliverance not referred to in this chapter, specifically of the portent of our sins, the deliverance from the divine judgment that is to be meted out to those who have never believed in the Lord Jesus Christ. But there is also deliverance from other experiences of life and this goes along with the salvation that we have in Christ. He gives us the forgiveness of sins and he gives us also through the Holy Spirit the assurance that we will be delivered from all of the experiences of life, unpleasant though many of them may be to the glory of our great God.
One of the commentators on the Book of Daniel told the story of a persecuted saint who was on the run and some soldiers were after him and so finally he saw a cave and he rushed into the cave to hide there. And the soldiers arrived sometime later and as they looked at the entrance to the cave and started to go in they noticed spiders web across the cave and then reasoning that if the spider’s web is across the cave no one has gone into the cave so they went off. And as later on he came out and walked through the spider’s web and realized why they had not gone in. He said within himself, with God, a web is as a wall but without God a wall is as a spider’s web.
See God is sovereign, and he is able to protect all of his saints and deliver them from all of the troubles that he wishes to deliver them from. A girl was once asked why Daniel was not afraid of the lions in the den. She answered rightly, because the lion of the tribe of Judah was there and the lion of the tribe of Judah is more powerful in all those animals we call lions.
May God help us to have some spiritual convictions by which we may truly live and may he enable us to have the courage of Daniel to stand for the word of God in spite of what others might say to us or even in spite of what we may think in our natural mind. If you hear tonight and you have never believed in the Lord Jesus Christ your responsibility is first of all to put your trust in him who offered the atoning sacrifice for sinners and if you have never come to receive the forgiveness of sins as a free gift you are lost and under divine condemnation and your pathway leads straight to the lake of fire. May God deliver you through Christ from the judgment through trust in him. Let us bow on a closing word of prayer.
[Prayer] Father we are so grateful to Thee for these great chapters from the word of God. Enable us Lord to have something of this spiritual disposition of Daniel the Prophet. Enable us O God to be true and faithful to the Scriptures and to Thy word. And not only as preachers but as simple servants of the Lord help us Lord to have the boldness of a Daniel, the stability of a Daniel, and the proper bigotry of a Daniel.
For Jesus sake, Amen.