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A Man of Affairs
Selections from Daniel 6:1-28
In a previous study, we observed Daniel as a seer. Here we will see him as a man of affairs.
As we watch Daniel moving among the great leaders of the Babylonian empire, managing affairs of state with marvelous wisdom, standing head and shoulders above all the men of his day in his moral integrity; we assure ourselves that the seed which produced so great a life was sown in the days of his youth.
Daniel, the model youth, was Daniel, the model man of affairs in embryo. Character may be displayed to greater advantage in the maturity of the man, but character is in formation in the boy and the youth who knows how to dedicate himself to God, and to say "no" to sin and the world.
Few men in the Bible stand forth in the limelight of unimpeachable integrity as did Daniel. He was a man against whom neither God nor man found fault. Nevertheless, Daniel, himself, confessed his own sin and the sins of his people.
We need men today in every realm of life, panoplied as was Daniel with the armor of righteousness.
Queen Elizabeth asked a merchant to go on business for the crown. The man held back, saying, that his business would suffer. The queen replied, "You take care of my business and I'll take care of yours." The result was that the man obeyed his queen and the queen in turn directed a great volume of business toward the man. He who serves God faithfully, God will serve.
Daniel never was so entangled in the affairs of Babylon that he neglected his life of prayer and his duties toward God, He served his generation with marked success but he first served God. Has not God said, "Seek ye first the Kingdom of God, and His righteousness"? When this is done will not God add unto us the "all things"? We need men who will never stoop to a mean deed or an un-Christly act in order to seek preferment in business. It is far better for men to secure the backing of the great and eternal God, whose eyes run to and fro throughout the whole earth to show Himself strong toward the perfect, than it is to seek the plaudits of all men. Men may do much, God can do indescribably more.
I. THE SUPREMACY OF DANIEL (Daniel 2:48 )
The time came when Nebuchadnezzar dreamed a dream. He called for the wise men of Babylon and demanded that they tell him both his dream and the interpretation thereof. In this they utterly failed. Therefore, the king in wrath sent forth a decree that all of the wise men should be slain. When Daniel heard what had been done, he said, "Destroy not the wise men of Babylon: bring me in before the king, and I will shew unto the king the interpretation."
As Daniel stood before the king, he said, "There is a God in Heaven that revealeth secrets." He and his three comrades gave themselves to prayer and God showed Daniel the dream and made known unto him the interpretation.
Let us consider whether the treachery of the worldly-wise was worth as much to them as the faithfulness of the Divinely-wise. If it had not been for Daniel and his God all the wise men of Babylon would have been slain. No one can doubt that it pays to keep in touch with the One who holds all wisdom in His hands.
In after years the wise men of Babylon sought to destroy Daniel because of Daniel's preferment, but once more the God of Daniel delivered him, and the men who were so treacherous against him were themselves slain by the order of the king.
He who puts God first will be put first. He who honors God will be honored by God. It was God who brought Daniel into favor. It was God who gave Daniel knowledge and skill. It was God who gave Daniel preferment in the reign of various kings throughout a long and eventful life.
We appeal to men to take God into their business affairs. The men who desire to reach the top, must be prepared in character and in intellect to hold sway, and no one dare deny that both character and intellect are tremendously enhanced by walking with God.
Petty politicians and frenzied financiers may be men of questionable integrity but the man who reaches the heights of honor in any realm must be the man of unimpeachable morals.
"Let us work and pray together,
With a firm and strong endeavor;
Hearts and hands united ever
In the service of the Lord:
In His constant love abiding,
And to Him our all confiding,
With His gentle hand still guiding,
We shall conquer through His Word."
II. THE FAR-FLUNG VISIONS OF DANIEL (Daniel 1:17 ; Daniel 2:28 ; Daniel 5:12 )
Daniel can never be rightly appreciated without emphasis being placed upon his far-flung visions. It was said of old, concerning Joseph, "Behold this dreamer cometh." Daniel was pre-eminently more than a dreamer. He was a man to whom God revealed Himself and to whom God revealed His will. The truth is that Daniel looked far down through the centuries, through millenniums and saw the very end times in which we now dwell.
Daniel was not a dreamer in the visionary sense of the word. His gift was the interpretation of dreams, which had been Divinely given. It was in the night visions that Daniel saw one like unto the Son of Man coming in the clouds of Heaven. It was in a dream, and in the visions of his head upon his bed, that Daniel saw four great beasts which outlined the four great world empires. This vision concluded with the ten horns on the fourth beast, which are ten kingdoms which shall arise, and which we believe are even now forming.
It was to Daniel that the angel said, "Understand, O son of man: for at the time of the end shall be the vision."
It was to Daniel that the angel said, "I am come to make thee understand what shall befall thy people in the latter days: for yet the vision is for many days."
It was to Daniel that the angel said, "I will shew thee that which is noted in the Scripture of truth."
Daniel did not live with his vision and ambition circumscribed by the petty four walls of his own interests. He held a whole world in his grasp. Its needs were his needs. Its cry, his cry. More than this, however, Daniel held a world in his grasp that had not yet arisen. He looked far down the centuries and saw the finality of blessedness which should come to his own nation, Israel, in the end times; and he saw as well, the array of nations in those same days. Yet, more than this, Daniel saw in visions of the night, the Lord Jesus Christ descending from Heaven; he saw His throne established and His righteous reign.
We need today men of a like vision. Too many of us are circumscribed by our own little personal affairs. Moses endured because he saw Him who was invisible. Abraham and the patriarchs lived looking for a city whose builder and maker was God. David said, "I have set the Lord alway before me: * * I shall not be moved."
"Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the Author and Finisher of our faith; who, for the joy that was set before Him, endured the Cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God" (Hebrews 12:1-2 ).
"The prize is set before us;
To win, His words implore us:
The eye of God is o'er us,
From on high!
His loving tones are calling,
While sin is dark, appalling;
'Tis Jesus gently calling:
He is nigh!"
III. THE PRAYER LIFE OF DANIEL (Daniel 2:18 ; Daniel 6:11 ; Daniel 9:3-4 )
Daniel early learned to look away in prayer to the God of Heaven. As we read the Divine Record which reveals Daniel at different epochs of his great life, we always find him with his face turned toward God. He prayed as naturally as a flower lifts its face upward. Prayer to him was not a great mountain peak followed by valleys of self-seeking and God-forgetfulness, and then another mountain peak of petition, and so forth. Daniel walked and talked with God.
"He walks with me, and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own,
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known."
Daniel in his prayer life was not of the sort that prayed, "God bless me and my wife, my son John and his wife, us four and no more." Daniel prayed with a passion burning in his soul for his own people. He remembered the day when the city was taken and when his people were carried into captivity. To be sure, he, himself, had been raised by a foreign nation to a place of power and affluence. That however, did not cause him to forget the cry and tears of those who suffered in servitude.
Three times a day this mighty man, this man of affairs, this man upon whom many demands of state fell, took the time to plead with God, with his windows open toward Jerusalem. He could heartily join with the Prophet who said, "If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning. If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth; if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy."
God give us men, not only with a great vision, but with a great prayer. He who lives for himself, lives in vain. He who lives for others and for God is thrice blest in his life. The man who prayed for others, could also pray for himself. When the king cast him into the den of lions, Daniel committed himself unto the Living God. He had been taken as it were, from his very knees as he prayed for others; how then could God forsake him, when he, himself, was in need? Thus, did God shut the lions' mouths and delivered His servant.
"Sweet hour of prayer! sweet hour of prayer!
That calls me from a world of care,
And bids me at my Father's throne
Make all my wants and wishes known.
In seasons of distress and grief,
My soul has often found relief,
And oft escaped the tempter's snare,
By thy return, sweet hour of prayer!"
IV. THE UNDAUNTED COURAGE OF DANIEL (Daniel 4:19 ; Daniel 5:17 ; Daniel 6:9-10 )
When Daniel was a youth, he was not afraid to request of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself. When Daniel heard of the decree of the king to slay the wise men, he was not afraid to request Arioch to bring him in before the king and there Daniel stood stating positively that God would reveal to the king his dream and its interpretation.
The supreme test, however, came to Daniel when Nebuchadnezzar dreamed the dream which foretold his downfall. Daniel stood before him then and shunned not to declare the whole counsel of God. He told Nebuchadnezzar that by reason of his pride, God was going to cut him down. That a beast heart was to be given him until seven times had passed over him. Then Daniel pled with the king to break off his sins by righteousness and his iniquities by showing mercy to the poor.
Another great proof of Daniel's courageous faithfulness was when he stood before Belteshazzar and pronounced upon him his doom, giving interpretation of the handwriting upon the wall.
Yet another great proof of Daniel's undaunted courage came, when he threw open wide his windows and prayed toward Jerusalem, knowing that the king, Darius, had signed a decree that would involve his certain casting into the den of lions.
As test after test came to Daniel and he stood true and unflinching in his fidelity to God, he found that God never failed him. Has not God written, "Be strong and of a good courage, * * neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with thee whithersoever thou goest"?
In this namby-pamby, milk-and-water age, when so many are mere automatons, the dupe and slaves to public opinion, carried about by every waft of wind, we need real men, who will not be afraid of the faces of those who would oppose their fidelity to God.
"Oh, for a faith that will not shrink,
Though pressed by every foe;
That will not tremble on the brink
Of any earthly woe:
That will not murmur or complain
Beneath the chastening rod;
But in the hour of grief or pain
Will lean upon its God:
A faith that shines more bright and clear
When tempests rage without;
That when in danger knows no fear,
In darkness feels no doubt."
V. THE SPOTLESS REPUTATION OF DANIEL (Daniel 6:4 )
Whatever else may be said concerning this Prophet, this seer, this man of affairs, it would all fall into nothingness, had Daniel not been above reproach in his record, both morally, politically and spiritually.
The Lord, our God, is looking for men who are clean in character, untarnished in business: men who are living soberly, righteously and godly in this world, denying ungodliness and all worldly lusts.
When Paul left Titus in Crete, he commanded him that he should ordain elders in every city; men who were blameless as stewards of God; not self-willed, not soon angered, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre, but a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate; holding fast the faithful Word as he had been taught. Titus may have thrown up his hands in despair, saying, "There are no such men in Crete, for the men of Crete are foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts, and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another."
When the Holy Spirit gave command to look out seven men to put over the affairs of the church at Jerusalem, he said, "Look ye out from among you, seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom."
Daniel stood every test of both God and man. If you want the world to discover any "meanness" that was in your buried past, or even in the past history of your nearest relatives, just run for office. The politicians of Daniel's day were a group of ingrates they sought to slay the man who had saved their lives; not that alone, they scoured the whole history of Daniel and finding no vulnerable point in his morals, and conduct of the affairs of state, they sought a case against him on account of his God.
VI. THE RICH REWARD THAT AWAITS DANIEL (Daniel 12:13 )
How meaningful are the words. "Thou shalt stand in thy lot at the end of the days." Do you wonder what Daniel's lot may be at the end of the days? Do you wonder as to what place of honor and of responsibility shall be given unto Daniel, in the reign of Christ?
The expression, "The end of the days" need not bother us. Those words are used frequently in the revelations given to Daniel. Let me suggest some of them:
"There is a God in Heaven... [who] maketh known... what shall be in the latter days" (Daniel 2:28 ).
"O son of man: for at the time of the end shall be the vision" (Daniel 8:17 ).
"What shall befall thy people in the latter days" (Daniel 10:14 ).
"Even to the time of the end" (Daniel 11:35 ).
"Even to the time of the end" (Daniel 12:4 ).
"What shall be the end of these things?" (Daniel 12:8-9 ).
With a study of the words quoted, in the light of their context, it is easily seen that the end of the days is the time of the Lord's Return, and the time of Israel's restoration.
In those days Daniel will stand in his lot that is, Daniel will receive his reward. Has not Christ said, "Behold, I come quickly; and My reward is with Me"?
We must all stand before the judgment-seat of Christ to receive the things done in our body. God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labor of love, which ye have showed toward His Name.
Bless God, Daniel shall receive a rich reward! We, too, will stand in our lot at the end of the days what will the Lord say unto us, and what reward will He give?
How many nice people there are in the world; so kind, loving, generous, so upright and honest, goodness itself; thinking nothing a trouble if they can in any way give others a helping hand, willing to spend and be spent, full of sympathy and practical philanthropy, loved and admired by all who know them, temper and temperament finely adjusted, perfect characters, charming in every way; but just wanting one thing, and that, the vital thing, Christ!
It is morality without conversion, amiability of the flesh alone; beauty of character, untouched by the beauty of holiness; good citizens of the world, but not soldiers of Jesus Christ; excellent members of society, but not members of His Body, Just like some exquisite picture or charming piece of sculpture, every feature and line perfectly brought out; people gather round and are never tired of gazing at it, such wondrous beauty, but it has no life, and is only painted canvas or chiselled marble, cold and irresponsive to all life and power.
Just one thing wanting. What is the worth of a cypher? nothing, not a farthing, but with "1" in front it is ten immediately. All these good virtues in a man are just a row of cyphers, without Christ, nothing, no good, lifeless, worthless, see £000,000, but with Christ we might put it thus, £1,000,000.
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Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Neighbour, Robert E. "Wells of Living Water Commentary on Daniel 6". "Living Water". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 25 / Ordinary 30