In our study of Daniel chapter six, we will look at two opposing forces in pride vs. prayer. We will look at the effects of each in the story of Daniel and the lions' den and apply the lessons learned to our world today.
"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." NIV translation
We often run right past this opening passage in our rush to get to the story of the lion's den but it is very important to pause here and realize what God has done. In chapter five, we saw the difference between pride and humility as King Belshazzar was judged because of his pride while Daniel was elevated because of his humility. Darius invaded the city and King Belshazzar was put to death but Daniel was spared. He was the number three man in the kingdom and normally the rulers were killed when they were conquered but, instead, Daniel was spared and even elevated to the position of administrator as we see here.
"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." NIV translation
Daniel stood out from the crowd of leaders as the king saw the Spirit of God at work in him. This same thing can and should characterize our lives as Christians. Have you ever had someone stop you and stare or ask you why you are so different? That is the same type of thing that happened to Daniel and, because of what the king saw, he planned to elevate him to be the head of state.
We notice that he was not out to climb the political, economic, or social ladder but instead Daniel was a humble servant of the Lord and did his job well. That is what we, as Christians, are called to do in our own places of work.
"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." NIV translation
Why do bad things happen to good people? Daniel was simply doing his job and doing it well but this brought jealousy from the other leaders. They set out to get him by looking for something that he had done wrong at work but could not find anything. You see, Daniel worked for the king as if he was working for the Lord and so he was honest and hard working. We all have to ask ourselves whether we act the way that Daniel did at work and do the best that we can or like the others and try to get by. This is the same thing that Paul was urging the Colossian believers to do (see Colossians 3).