I read a sermon recently given by someone that I really respect, on Daniel 6, and the big idea, the main point, the takeaway for those listening was that you need to behave like Daniel:
- You need to pray, formally, multiple times a day.
- You need to be super loyal to your employer but even more loyal to God.
- You need to be absolutely blameless in your conduct and character professionally, and personally for that matter.
- So, you, take the example of Daniel, run with it, and make it all about you.
As I was reading all I could do was just think no, no, no! Because, whilst there is a nugget of truth in those statements (yes, have those as goals and ideals, sure, work hard on your personal conduct and character, your prayer life, your professional conduct) teaching that Daniel 6 is there to show you the standards you need to reach is like seeing someone drowning and throwing them bricks to hold on to. It’s like “oh, you’re in the water and you feel you’re going down, here, hold this brick for me, and this one, and this one…and then actually, there’s someone over there drowning, take those bricks and save them too…”. Teaching Daniel 6 like that is akin to giving people more burdens to carry. That is not what God is about, that’s not what His Word communicates to us.
So, are you a Daniel for our day and age?
No, you’re not. And that’s ok, you don’t need to be.
You are not our guy or girl, our representative to the ruler, you’re not our bridge, our branch, our advocate, or our mediator. Please don’t think that Daniel 6 is a moral message and a set of conduct commands for you, it’s not. It’s not about you. The Bible is not first and foremost about you.
Daniel 6 is a signpost. It’s a wonderful story, it’s an exciting story of danger and deliverance, but, really, it’s a signpost. God is in the business of Good News, not good novels. Daniel 6 is a signpost toward a person and toward events. Daniel 6 is a dot to join in the big picture of Scripture. Let me join just a couple of them for you right now.
We read in vv.1-5 that Daniel was found blameless and without error or fault deserving of death. What did Pontius Pilate say about Jesus?
When I examined him before you, I did not find this man guilty of anything you accused him of doing. Neither did Herod, for he sent him back to us. Look, he has done nothing deserving death.
When this unjust sentence was to be carried out, where was Daniel found?
…praying and asking for help before his God…
Where was Jesus found when His unjust sentence was to be carried out?
Praying in the garden (Luke 22.39-46).
He went away from them about a stone’s throw, knelt down, and prayed…
So what is Daniel 6 really about?
Well, it’s not about you. It’s about a man. Daniel 6 is about
- A man without blame, faithful to God in all his ways.
- A man known for prayer.
- An innocent man that was sent to his death by the plotting of his enemies and the law of the land.
- A man thrown into a stone hole that was meant to be his tomb.
- A man sealed off from the world by a large stone that was guarded by ruling authority.
- A man who, when the stone was rolled away, came out victoriously glorifying God.
Daniel 6 is not about you, these events happened to Daniel but they all point to one man.
Daniel 6 is about Jesus.
Do we need to be a Daniel for our day and age? No, we don’t. Take that burden off yourself.
Do we need to be a Daniel for our day and age? No, we don’t. Jesus is.
Now we’ve joined the dots and we know what this is all about, what do we do? We stop burdening ourselves with the unrealistic expectation of being a Daniel for 2020. You are not our guy or girl, our representative to the ruler, you’re not our bridge, our branch, our advocate, or our mediator.
You can stop trying to earn and deserve some blessings from above by conducting yourself perfectly. That is, very simply, becoming a Pharisee in 2020 not a Daniel. We think of the words of Jesus in John 5.39 when talking to those with an earn and deserve mindset.
You study the scriptures thoroughly because you think in them you possess eternal life, and it is these same scriptures that testify about me, but you are not willing to come to me so that you may have life.
Paul writes that we know that no one is justified by the works of the law but by the faithfulness of Jesus Christ (Galatians 2.16).
Daniel was faithful, Jesus more so.
For you – have faith in the faithfulness of Jesus. Take the burden off yourself. As Jesus said, come to me so that you may have life. Stop trying to be Daniel. Deepen your faith in the faithfulness of Jesus. As He said, come to me so that you may have life.