How to persevere under trial – Part 2
The power of God’s transforming grace revealed itself in the virtuous character of Daniel. “He was faithful.” His faithfulness attracted the favour of God and the commendation of the king. But this same faithfulness was construed as a crime by his envious colleagues. Envy will paint a saint as a sinner or regard the righteous as a rebel. Daniel was faithful to his God and faithful to the king. “Neither was there any error or fault found in him.” That was a great testimony to the uprightness of his character. “Concerning the kingdom” or “Concerning the law of his God” his life and actions were above reproach.
Yet they “sought to find occasion against Daniel.” Why? The king was planning to promote him above the presidents. They sought to discredit him and destroy his character, so that they would bring him to a state of disgrace and degradation. He who God favours the world frowns at. The promotion of the righteous excites the envy of unrighteous men. Base and envious men always seek the ruin of good and righteous men. The observation of these most determined enemies of Daniel is the highest testimony to his godly character. “We shall not find any occasion against this Daniel, except we find it against him concerning the law of his God.”
They conceived an evil plot through which they intended to destroy Daniel. They flattered the king and exalted him to the position of a god for thirty days. For a period of thirty days, all requests would be directed to the king. Daniel was not consulted about this decree, yet they said, “all the presidents of the kingdom, the governors, and the princes… have consulted together to establish a royal statute, and to make a firm decree.” Flattery blinded the king’s eyes. Daniel was not there, but the king could not think clearly after hearing that he would be treated like a god for one month.
There is a great deal of evil in the decree. If a child wanted bread, he could not ask the parents or he would be cast into the lions’ den! “Whosoever shall ask a petition of any God or man for thirty days, save of thee, O king, he shall be cast into the den of lions.” If anyone needed divine help, which could not be rendered by the king, he must not pray to God, otherwise he would be cast into the den of lions. It was an unrighteous law, a satanic statute, a wicked ordinance and a despotic decree. Men in responsible positions should well consider the consequences of a proposed law or edict before they give their consent or assent to it.
Daniel’s life of devotion was marked with conviction, consecration, communion, courage and consistency. Kings rise and fall, persecution arises or peace returns, danger is imminent or deliverance is ascertained, the king thinks favourably toward him or the presidents are furious against him, promotion in the king’s palace is awaiting him or violent death in the lions’ den is to be his portion. Only one thing can possibly be his choice – devotion to God, “as he did aforetime.” “When Daniel knew that the writing was signed”, he made no change in his habits of communion and worship of God on account of the decree.
Daniel had a holy contempt for the unrighteous, God-dishonouring decree and he maintained his holy concern for God’s glory. He knew his God and his first and constant commitment was to honour and glorify Him, whatever the reaction of the world would be. Daniel’s action shows that he would not consent to the wicked decree. Neither because of fear nor desire to please man would he consent to anything contrary to God’s glory. When the honour of God is at stake, we must not conceal our Christian conviction, but boldly and faithfully act and live to please God, even at the hazard to our lives.
Further Reading (King James Version): Daniel 6:1-10; Daniel 6:4-9; Psalm 37:12,13, 32-37; Jeremiah 18:18; 20:10,11; Proverbs 27:4; Isaiah 10:1; 26:11; Titus 2:7,8; 1 Peter 2:9-12; 3:15,16; Daniel 6:10; Psalm 55:17; Colossians 4:2-6; 1 Thessalonians 5:17,18; Psalms 112:7,8; 119:51,69,83-87, 109,110,112,141,143,157,161; Matthew 10:22; 24:12,13; Acts 20:24; Revelation 2:25,26.
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