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June 18, 2020 4:00 am
God rules in history and nations make combinations. My goal even our own.
But God's redemptive plan is unfolded through his people will go on. According to schedule the people of God through the rise and the formation they transcend, we see that in Daniel applied to a certain candidate meant to identify him as someone willing to change his positions on issues if it helped him politically. He would flip-flop. Of course politicians aren't the only ones who flip-flop maybe you found yourself tempted to compromise your Christian convictions in the things you say the decisions you make, the relationships you keep or what you watch, read, listen to so how do you stand on convictions under light pressure or heavy pressure when consequences are minor or when there's serious the story of Daniel in the lion's den offers an excellent example to follow. When John MacArthur looks there today on Grace to you with the lesson. Here's John were looking at Daniel.
Chapter 6 the famous chapter in which we find Daniel in and out of the lion's den. Just as introduction, let me make a couple of comments relative to what we learned in the text. Nations are born they live in they die they rise and they fall with great regularity. In fact, as you study history. You are more and more impressed with the fact that nations rapidly pass from off the sea. We look back to the empires of the Hittites, the Egyptians, the Assyrians and finally the Babylonians where we find Daniel first taking the role of Prime Minister. They were followed by the Persians of the Medes and the Greeks and the Romans, all of them came and all of them went on our own continence in the Western Hemisphere, we find tales told of the great Mayan, the great Inca, the great Aztec civilizations but little or no trace remains.
Except for some archaeological artifacts they have, and they have gone in more modern times. Some of you lives in the greatness of the days of England.
Remember the greatness of France you remember when Italy was a major power in the world and threatened even to dominate Europe under the leadership of Mussolini. Remember Germany, Hitler, who with his Aryan philosophy thought he could conquer the world and America, maybe on the wane nations rise nations fall they come and go but the Bible tells us in acts 17 at the times of the nations are bounded by the sovereignty of God and what happens to the nations is all in the predetermined plan of God for history. What is especially thrilling is that the coming in the going of nations has very little to do with the ongoing of the people of God. There couldn't be. Imagine a more cataclysmic event than just happened in chapter 5 of Daniel Babylon is fallen at the height of its glory. Supposedly, the head of gold. The greatest empire that humanity had ever known Medes and the Persians entered the city and without firing a shot, as it were, the whole empire fell, but what is amazing about it is that it had little or no impact on what God did with his people. For Daniel rides through the ebb and flow of nations and as we come to chapter 6 we have the second and the great four empire seen in the image of Daniel chapter 2. The Medo Persian Empire.
The breast in the arms of silver, and as we look at that empire. We don't see Daniel in absentia, but we see Daniel right at the heart of the matter. He was a Prime Minister of Babylon, and he will equally be the Prime Minister of Medo Persian that excites me to think about that because I see today across America and even around the world, a preoccupation among many Christian peoples with the preservation of certain nations, even our own in a strange way.
They are attempting to equalize America with the church or America with the plan of God, not just as in the way it is. Nations come and go, God's work goes on and no nation is really significant when set against the backdrop of eternity in God's plan. For example, in Isaiah chapter 40 in verse 15 it says, behold, the nations are like a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance very interesting statement. Nations are like one drop that spills out of a bucket. The only word I can think of is inconsequential. There like the dust on the balance which is not a factor in the cut in the weighing it all when God sets about the way out the history of humanity. The nations are not the issue when God pours out the floods's of the flow of his redemptive plan. One drop is inconsequential. The nations are drops their dust backing up in Isaiah 40 to verses seven and eight. He compares the nations to grass that withers and dies and fades away.
We think back to Nimrod and soon after ribbon Nebuchadnezzar and Cyrus in Artaxerxes and Alexander in the Caesars, the pharaohs, Napoleon Churchill, Mussolini, Hitler, Mao, Stefan, into our modern time and the leaders in the nations common goal in God's work goes on in chapter 4 of Daniel in verse 17. You remember that great word. This matter is by the decree of the watchers in the demand by the word of the holy ones to the intent of the living may know that the most high rules in the kingdom of men and gives it tombs every will. God rules in history and nations may common nations. My goal even our own. But God's redemptive plan is unfolded through his people will go on. According to schedule the people of God go through the rise in the fall of nations they transcend is a great help for us and we see that in Daniel Babylon is fallen, the head of gold is crushed, the times of the Gentiles is moved into phase 2. But Daniel is right where God wants it. God is unencumbered by the decisions of men when you think about the fact that Babylon is fallen.
It's really amazing.
So it is with the world with God's people in God's plan transcends all that.
So we see Daniel surviving and in chapter 6 we find him in the midst of the Medo Persian Empire. Now I want some keywords to take us through this text want to begin at the beginning of chapter 6 is a narrative text. We don't need to spend a lot of time on each section.
We want to get to the climax and then draw some practical implications will you some keywords just to help us keep our places we go. The first one is promotion, promotion, and that deals with verses 1 to 3 it please Darius to set over the kingdom. This is the Medo Persian kingdom and hundred and 20 princes who should be over the whole kingdom and over these three presidents and by the way, that's the only place in the Bible that were present as ever, using the Hebrew, Aramaic, rather, and it appears to be a word that means chief.
He said over these hundred and 20 satraps or territorial leaders, three chiefs to whom they reported, of whom Daniel was first in order that the princes might give accounts under them, and the king should have no damage, then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes because an excellent spirit was in him and the King thought to send them over the whole room.
Another we find the promotion notice. First of all that we meet Darius not Darius is a very elusive person because we have no extra biblical data in existence to tell us anything about Darius. We just really don't know who he is, we find nobody at that particular point in history whose name Darius doesn't seem to be a place in the genealogical record of the kings of that time for a man named Darius some scholars feel that Darius is another name for a king by the name of the barroom good barroom who is not really a king but was really someone appointed under Cyrus as kind of a ruler of the of the territory of Babylon, Cyrus being the great monarch of the whole empire of Medo Persia appointed this good barroom as the one the rule in Babylon, and some say that this word Darius is just another name for good barroom, but an exclamation that I prefer is that Darius is just another name for Cyrus. Just another name for Cyrus. I feel that that's perhaps the best explanation of all why because the word Darius is a title is a title it's kind like Farrell or King or Caesar. It's a title we find the word Darius for example, used on inscriptions in archaeology for at least five different Persian rulers there all called Darius so it seems best to see this as a title is a title of honor. The title of significance and so we could assume then that is just the title given to Cyrus.
If you look at verse 28.
At the end of chapter 6, you might get some little help on that basis, so this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius and and of course in the Aramaic. It could read even in the reign of Cyrus the Persian.
There are some commentators who favor that rendering rather than an the reign of Cyrus making a parallel using even in the reign of Cyrus nephew back up in the chapter 6 you find that Darius sets over the kingdom hundred and 20 princes and it seems to me that if you were doing that, it would have to be bigger than some localized ruler in babbling and if he was going to establish three chiefs over the whole kingdom we have to be somebody pretty important. I believe he is seeing Dan as the, the Medo Persian monarch Cyrus just by another official title.
The very fact that he had to set up 120 princes would indicate that he had to have a broader dimension of rule than just babbling itself just the city state of Babel. So we meet down this man. Cyrus perhaps best seen behind the name Darius. He is a capable man is an intelligent man is an effective man in terms of organization structure is powerful man is a man without commitment to God.
That is the God of Israel but to his own gods and yet he is a man, it does indicate some great interest in the God of Daniel and that increases as we get through the six chapter not noticed it says that when he appointed 120 and the three presidents verse two says Daniel was first, it is possible to see the word first is just the word one Daniel was one.
Or we could see it as the word first, and meaning that he was the first one chosen 40 was the first in rank really doesn't matter. What does matter is in verse three that Daniel was preferred above everybody else in the word preferred in the Aramaic is a participle which means he was distinguishing himself constantly over the others he was without question the finest statesman in the entire Medo Persian Empire as he had been the finest statesman in the Babylonian Empire as he, perhaps, is the finest statesman who ever walked on the face of the earth. You notice in verse three it says that anyone was an excellent spirit that's really talking about his attitude and of course attitude pervades everything we do. This is a commendable thing at a right attitude, but Daniel had more than that going for. He had experience.
I mean, he had lived through the last regime as the Prime Minister, he had wisdom. Wisdom like nobody else had.
He had a sense of history.
He had apparently dramatic leadership ability of what he was able to do in the lives of the three young men early in the book is any indication of the model that he set the administrative ability was given responsibility in a wide and far-reaching basis and beyond all of that he had the ability to interpret dreams and visions and give everybody an idea what was coming in the future that's invaluable to a monarch when a man got put them right where he wanted God allowed Darius to recognize the capability of Daniel and to put them in a very strategic place, a place of influence. You know what's interesting is in the first year of Cyrus or the first year of Darius, he gave it decreed that the Jews could go back to Judah.
The decree of Cyrus the 70 years of Babylonian captivity was up and Cyrus gave that decree that he go back the debt. Rather, that the Jews go back and I really believe that Daniel was the one who was the great influence on him. To that extent it was because of the power of the life of Daniel because of the wisdom of the man because of the influence of the man that even in the first year of Cyrus rule around 538 or 537 BC he made the decree to let the people go. That occurred before the Lions den incident in the very first year of Cyrus. So we see again Daniel, but this time rather than looking at him as a young man, as we have been in the past we see them as a very old man.
In fact, mark this in chapter 6. Daniel is pushing hard at 90 years of age, 90 years of age and he still God's man.
He still God's choice and he was still the choice of the king to be the Prime Minister and God put them right where he wanted and the politics of Medo Persia had little to do to withstand second word first is promotion.
The second is plot versus 49 whenever a man is lifted up by the Lord to a place of prominence.
He falls into certain difficulty. There's always a price to pay. And that is the fact that whenever you get into that position. You will find yourself dogged and hounded and followed by envy, just awaiting we find in Philippians chapter 1 don't we where Paul was in prison and somewhere adding affliction to his bonds by saying evil things about his ministry. They wanted to make you feel worse that he did being a prisoner in your preaching Christ content justly is a negative ministry against Paul.
It's amazing how when God lifts up somebody other people's hearts burning rage and jealousy and bitterness, even when that individual is done them no injury and absolutely no harm. How can anybody hate Daniel. How can anybody despise such a man last you tougher question. How could anybody crucify Jesus Christ what they did in London, contemporary with young Charles Spurgeon was an older preacher who'd been in the city for a generation. He'd spent years laboring faithfully in his ministry and along came Charles Haddon Spurgeon this fire, you win some you dynamic individual who arrived in London when he is about 20 years of age and rather immediately. I may not even in a year or two or three, but immediately when he seen he had such an impact that people just flooded here. Spurgeon preached he was like a star that appeared in the sky just flashing in the older minister said that when the throngs began to crowd around the young man envy and jealousy began to enter my heart and it ate me. It ate me up there. He was a famous preacher in London, but the throngs listening to Spurgeon and the older pastor said he got on his knees and cried out before God and he told the Lord all about it and then he said the Lord began to put in his heart.
Praise and intercession and pleading for the young man Spurgeon. He said quote the day came after I prayed and took it to God, one upon every victory.
Spurgeon one I felt as though I had done it myself.given victory, but it doesn't always happen but see the opposite of that as we look at verse four and the presidents and princes sought to find occasion against Daniel concerning the kingdom, but they could find no occasion or fault for as much as he was faithful. Neither was there any error or fault found in him. Daniel had no water gates had no skeletons in his closet.
There was no way to indict this man now and Amanda is 90 years old and he gets all of the people in political office around them digging around to try to find something and they come up with zero that's an honorable man of great integrity great on a street great purity great nobility. They found no fault should heat up, which means Kurt to corrupted no corruption, no error salutes means to neglect.
In other words, the correction is the sin of omission and the error is the sin of omission. They couldn't find anything.
He did that he shouldn't of done anything that he didn't do the shoot of the one a virtuous man. They couldn't find anything verse five then said these men.
We shall not find any occasion against this Daniel except we find it against him concerning the law of his God a people. I wish we had time to just preach on that verse when they can't find anything against you but the fact that you are absolutely sold out to your God then you are fulfilling the fact of the New Testament principle of suffering for righteousness sake. The only thing they said will ever get them on is that he is totally committed to his God. What a commendation. Couldn't find anything else if there was anything they would've found they could were six, then these presidents and princes assemble together to the king, and thus they said unto him, king Darius live forever. Typical amenities retiming coming.
I gotta say that dangling says that the lion's den's pushing the point little bit but anyway verse seven. All the presidents of the kingdom, the governors, the princes, the counselors and the captains have consulted together.
That's just pure intimidation because it's a lot of hogwash was a group of and that may apply. Not all of them agreed. But just stacking up all of those individuals just intimidated and they all consolidate said to establish a royal statute and make a firm decree, that whosoever shall ask a petition of any God or man, for 30 days except the videogame shall be cast into the deadline you heard of Queen for a day. This is king for 30 days. We want you to be God for 30 days. Now when you can be elected to be God got bad theology.
And when you're only God for 30 days. It's even worse theology. Here they come in. We have consulted all the governors and the princes in the presidents and the counselors in the captains and everybody is agreed we automate the law. You're so wonderful. You are worthy of 30 days of being God and were just going to work to give you that and we just want to make a rule here, whoever shall ask a petition of any God or man, for 30 days.
Was it you shall be cast into the den of lions. It's interesting here that if you look back at verse six there's a verb there assembled together. It's a very interesting verb in the Aramaic. It means they they came hastily and tumultuous league. It's kind of like a rabble. I mean they were kind of a tumultuous group they were stirring in and milling as they came in a very strong verb and it does indicate a large group of them who had pulled off this plot, but not everybody agreed because Daniel was the leader and he didn't agree jury wasn't even consulted, so they all come in and pull off their lie when they said all the presidents.
That's not true was one of them who didn't agree. You didn't even know. Perhaps we want to make a statute and affirm a firm decree and by the way, the double use of that a royal statute, the firm decree shows you how binding and strongly wanted to be nobody but nobody can worship or make a petition of anybody but you.
For 30 days. By the way, in those days.
Of course their religion had established deities that were like men.
Their duties were as fallible as men were another was they made their image of God from their own image and so their gods were fallible and so different to say that a man could be a God to us. This is absolutely ludicrous because God is holy and righteous and perfect and has none of the imperfections of humanity but for them it wasn't a problem. In fact, if we study history carefully will find that the Egyptians believed that the pharaohs were God's that the Romans believed that the Caesar's were God's the Ptolemies were believed to be God there are indications that the Seleucids acclaimed that the role of deity. Even the heretics you remember next 12. Took the place of God's so that it was not uncommon for monarchs to do this well. Darius was flattered. I me when you get the whole body politic coming in and want to do that for you boy, that's pretty tough to resist.
And so he wasn't thinking he was swept away in the emotional deal verse eight now locating establish the decree and sign the writing to be not changed according to the law, the Medes and Persians which old earth not know we don't know a whole lot about the law. The Medes and Persians except we do know that once you made the light couldn't violate that was built into their system and most studies indicate that the reason they did that was to prevent whimsical laws that once a lot was made it was binding and so they were rather careful about those law. But when these guys came along and hit this king at the point of his vulnerability. His ego, he responded verse nine he signed the writing and the decree now there was a law you make a petition of any God. But this God and you go to the lines did this is grace to you with John MacArthur. Thanks for being with us. John's focus today Daniel in the lion's den. You know if anyone could ever justify compromising a little bit, it would be Daniel. The fact that he didn't bend is the thing that makes this story so powerful, but John, here's a question.
As we read about Daniel and see what he did is it realistic for someone in a can. The culture we live in today to attain that level of integrity or is that just for heroes of the Bible well yet is reasonable for us as believers in any culture to live the way Daniel lived. You could even make an argument that we have more power in some sense then perhaps Daniel did because we have the full word of God. Daniel didn't didn't have even the whole collective Old Testament.
He certainly didn't have the New Testament instruction.
He didn't have the church to surround him as he was living in the palace there in Babylon, and he didn't have in the sense that we hear Jesus speak about it though the power of the Holy Spirit in the way that we do because the Holy Spirit now lives in us. I think the Spirit empowered believers in the Old Testament, but there was some kind of a catalog is a qualitative difference in some way.
And yet Daniel lived a life of integrity that we had and the influences on him more profoundly pagan, profoundly pagan, they they attacked him every way possible to break him down and and never could do it and that he actually stood among the lines as we remember and was undaunted and his commitment to to the Lord. So yes, Daniel is a model we can follow and we have greater knowledge of the truth and that of more full experience with the spirit of God than even Daniel had so we need to live that way about reminder again of the book the power of integrity. How to build a life without compromise. We would love for you to get a copy of this book. It is a character study of people in the Bible whose lives were marked by integrity and of course Daniel is one of them. We talk about him. The consequences of an uncompromising life Daniel in the lion's den. We talk about in the book the defense of integrity that the idea of doctrinal integrity, which is behind behavioral integrity great gift for young Christian man or woman order copy today are copies enjoy 25% off for a while.
That includes the other volumes that we you might want of the MacArthur study Bible, or individual commentaries on the New Testament, yes, and friend. I want to make sure you caught that last part. The power of integrity and nearly all of John's audio series and books are 25% off the regular price. The sale ends this coming Sunday.
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Let us know how John's teaching is strengthening you spiritual. Perhaps today's message encouraged the series.
John concluded yesterday the integrity factor maybe help you overcome a specific sin and we certainly want to hear. If someone you know has come to faith in Christ after hearing her broadcast. Maybe that person is you email your story to letters@TTY.that's letters@TTY.or you can send your note to Grace to you. Box 4000 panorama city, CA 91412 L4 John MacArthur in the whole grace to you staff on Phil Johnson inviting you back for tomorrow's broadcast. When John wraps up his look at Daniel in the lion's den and shows you how to persevere and how to experience God's blessing in trials be here for the next 30 minutes unleashing God's truth one verse at a time wasting