Just recently I was having a phone conversation with my wife Amy as she was driving to work. And yes, she had me on speaker phone … safety first! As we were talking, Amy wanted to know if I had already developed a message for my up coming blog post. The Lord is never short on giving me messages and He always seems to place a message on my heart at just the right time. But, He’s also given me a wife, as a helper, and I’ve learned the importances of tapping into her wisdom as often as possible. So needless to say, I was excited to hear what she had on her mind. She said she thought I should continue with a finale post on the Standardbearer … Why not give your readers a Biblical example of a man upholding the standards of God? Made sense to me. But then came the hard part, deciding which Biblical example to use.
APPLICATION IS FAITH SET IN MOTION
So what does it look like in practice? What will you do as a man when all eyes are upon you. What will you do when no one is there to watch you? Will the standard remain intact or will it be compromised? Will you lower the standard to fit in or to satisfy your own desires or to satisfy the desires of those around you? Think about these questions as you read and study the Book of Daniel with me.
The issue of men being called to be standardbearers runs deep throughout the entire Bible. Men of God faced ridicule, imprisonment and even death, but they would not surrender God’s standard to please men. The prophet Daniel is just one of God’s many men who upheld His standard rather then succume to the standards of this world.
MAN’S STANDARD VS GOD’S STANDARD
It pleased Darius to appoint 120 satraps to rule throughout the kingdom, with three administrators over them, one of whom was Daniel. The satraps were made accountable to them so that the king might not suffer loss. Now Daniel so distinguished himself among the administrators and the satraps by his exceptional qualities that the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom. At this, the administrators and the satraps tried to find grounds for charges against Daniel in his conduct of government affairs, but they were unable to do so. They could find no corruption in him, because he was trustworthy and neither corrupt nor negligent. Finally these men said, “We will never find any basis for charges against this man Daniel unless it has something to do with the law of his God.”
Verse one begins with Darius appointing men who would please him, by looking out for his best interest. Darius was wise enough to appoint three administrators over these 120 men, one of which was Daniel a man of God. Where there is no accountability, corruption will soon follow. But, Daniel had exibited exceptional qualites. Daniel had distinguished himself as a Godly man. Darius saw the excellent spirit that Daniel had and planned to set him over his entire kingdom. Darius must have understood that men who are placed in position of power are subject to corruption, no matter what manmade standards are put in place.
Because Daniel could not be corrupted, he was uniquely different, he was trustworthy due to the excellent Spirit of God that dwelt in him. Ungodly men fear those who they cannot control. Sadly, some of this thinking has also crept into The House of God. So these 120 satraps, or princes, got together to plot against Daniel. Does their plotting remind you of how they plotted against Jesus before they crucified Him? Who’s standard were they attempting to enforce, the world’s or God’s?
THE WORLD’S STANDARD ENFORCED
Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before. Then these men went as a group and found Daniel praying and asking God for help. So they went to the king and spoke to him about his royal decree: “Did you not publish a decree that during the next thirty days anyone who prays to any god or human being except to you, Your Majesty, would be thrown into the lions’ den?”
The king answered, “The decree stands—in accordance with the law of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be repealed.”
Then they said to the king, “Daniel, who is one of the exiles from Judah, pays no attention to you, Your Majesty, or to the decree you put in writing. He still prays three times a day.” When the king heard this, he was greatly distressed; he was determined to rescue Daniel and made every effort until sundown to save him.
Then the men went as a group to King Darius and said to him, “Remember, Your Majesty, that according to the law of the Medes and Persians no decree or edict that the king issues can be changed.”
So the king gave the order, and they brought Daniel and threw him into the lions’ den. The king said to Daniel, “May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!”
A stone was brought and placed over the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the rings of his nobles, so that Daniel’s situation might not be changed. Then the king returned to his palace and spent the night without eating and without any entertainment being brought to him. And he could not sleep.
At the first light of dawn, the king got up and hurried to the lions’ den. When he came near the den, he called to Daniel in an anguished voice, “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to rescue you from the lions?”
Daniel answered, “May the king live forever! My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight. Nor have I ever done any wrong before you, Your Majesty.”
The king was overjoyed and gave orders to lift Daniel out of the den. And when Daniel was lifted from the den, no wound was found on him, because he had trusted in his God.
At the king’s command, the men who had falsely accused Daniel were brought in and thrown into the lions’ den, along with their wives and children. And before they reached the floor of the den, the lions overpowered them and crushed all their bones.
Then King Darius wrote to all the nations and peoples of every language in all the earth:
“May you prosper greatly!
“I issue a decree that in every part of my kingdom people must fear and reverence the God of Daniel.
“For he is the living God
and he endures forever;
his kingdom will not be destroyed,
his dominion will never end.
He rescues and he saves;
he performs signs and wonders
in the heavens and on the earth.
He has rescued Daniel
from the power of the lions.”
So Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrus the Persian.
What is it that clouds or interferes with your decision making? Is it flattery? Is it the popular opinions of those you’ve entrusted to look out for your best interest? Is it a worldly standards you’ve chosen over God? Only you can answer these questions. Daniel knew the power of God and prayer. It was his standard to pray three times a day. I’m sure that this type of relationship with God helped Daniel to drown out all the ungodly noise that surrounded him.
Daniel didn’t allow the sound of the stone being rolled in front of the Lion’s Den to move him nor the thought of the fate of those went before him. No, Daniel had his eyes and mind stayed on the author and perfecter of his faith…God Almighty.
God was TRIED AND TRUE to the prophet Daniel because he had seen the goodness of The Lord time after time. Daniel recognized that it is God who saves and rescues. God sent His angel into the Lion’s Den to save Daniel.
Daniel chapter 6 really parallels the greatest Standardbearer of them all. Jesus, the Son of God, was sent by God to save and rescue us from the Den of Sin. Jesus is the ultimate standard for all to follow.