GOD’S RIGHTEOUSNESS IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN OUR REPUTATION
“1 It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom 120 satraps, to be throughout the whole kingdom;2 and over them three presidents, of whom Daniel was one, to whom these satraps should give account, so that the king might suffer no loss.3 Then this Daniel became distinguished above all the other presidents and satraps, because an excellent spirit was in him. And the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom.4 Then the presidents and the satraps sought to find a ground for complaint against Daniel with regard to the kingdom, but they could find no ground for complaint or any fault, because he was faithful, and no error or fault was found in him.5 Then these men said, “We shall not find any ground for complaint against this Daniel unless we find it in connection with the law of his God.”
6 Then these presidents and satraps came by agreement to the king and said to him, “O King Darius, live forever!7 All the presidents of the kingdom, the prefects and the satraps, the counselors and the governors are agreed that the king should establish an ordinance and enforce an injunction, that whoever makes petition to any god or man for thirty days, except to you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions.8 Now, O king, establish the injunction and sign the document, so that it cannot be changed, according to the law of the Medes and the Persians, which cannot be revoked.”9 Therefore King Darius signed the document and injunction.
10 When Daniel knew that the document had been signed, he went to his house where he had windows in his upper chamber open toward Jerusalem. He got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously.11 Then these men came by agreement and found Daniel making petition and plea before his God.12 Then they came near and said before the king, concerning the injunction, “O king! Did you not sign an injunction, that anyone who makes petition to any god or man within thirty days except to you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions?” The king answered and said, “The thing stands fast, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be revoked.”13 Then they answered and said before the king, “Daniel, who is one of the exiles from Judah, pays no attention to you, O king, or the injunction you have signed, but makes his petition three times a day.”
14 Then the king, when he heard these words, was much distressed and set his mind to deliver Daniel. And he labored till the sun went down to rescue him.15 Then these men came by agreement to the king and said to the king, “Know, O king, that it is a law of the Medes and Persians that no injunction or ordinance that the king establishes can be changed.”
16 Then the king commanded, and Daniel was brought and cast into the den of lions. The king declared to Daniel, “May your God, whom you serve continually, deliver you!”17 And a stone was brought and laid on the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet and with the signet of his lords, that nothing might be changed concerning Daniel.18 Then the king went to his palace and spent the night fasting; no diversions were brought to him, and sleep fled from him.
19 Then, at break of day, the king arose and went in haste to the den of lions.20 As he came near to the den where Daniel was, he cried out in a tone of anguish. The king declared to Daniel, “O Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to deliver you from the lions?”21 Then Daniel said to the king, “O king, live forever!22 My God sent his angel and shut the lions’ mouths, and they have not harmed me, because I was found blameless before him; and also before you, O king, I have done no harm.”23 Then the king was exceedingly glad, and commanded that Daniel be taken up out of the den. 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.24 And the king commanded, and those men who had maliciously accused Daniel were brought and cast into the den of lions—they, their children, and their wives. And before they reached the bottom of the den, the lions overpowered them and broke all their bones in pieces.
25 Then King Darius wrote to all the peoples, nations, and languages that dwell in all the earth: “Peace be multiplied to you.
26 I make a decree, that in all my royal dominion people are to tremble and fear before the God of Daniel,
for he is the living God,
his kingdom shall never be destroyed,
and his dominion shall be to the end.
27 He delivers and rescues;
he works signs and wonders
in heaven and on earth,
he who has saved Daniel
from the power of the lions.”
28 So this Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrus the Persian.”
Today’s passage is yet another “Sunday School” story that you probably learned when you were little, but don’t let that cause you to miss out on what God wants us to see in the this text. Take a look at what got Daniel convicted by the king. Not so much the actual act but the fact that they could count on him doing what (verse 10,11)? What does that model for us today?
They knew that Daniel was going to seek God at this particular place and time each day. In fact it’s his integrity that gets him thrown to the lions. Now keeping in mind that the king does not worship the Lord look at his response to the punishment Daniel is to receive. What is it? Do you see how Daniel’s following of God’s righteousness impacted the life of the pagan king? What hope should this give us for the role that righteousness should play in our lives?
These thoughts and prayers are just a guide to get you started in your conversation with God. Think of them as conversation starters rather than a check list to quickly pray.
Look at verse 16, and then at 26-27 see how Daniel’s righteous living transformed the king. The Righteousness of God is more important than our reputation. In fact the righteousness of God will form for us a new reputation.
Pray that the righteousness of God will be more important to us than our reputation among our friends, families, and coworkers.
Pray that our consistent seeking of God will establish a new reputation of integrity and holiness
Stop for a minute and genuinely think about whose opinion matters the most to you. Take a moment and ask the Lord to bring you to repentance for not being most concerned about God’s opinion, and then ask Him to help shape you into someone of righteousness.