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Daniel is raised to preferment under the new government. He is cast into the den of lions. He is saved from danger, and his accusers destroyed.
Though there is no date as to the time when this event took place, yet from common calculation, Daniel must have become an old man; for the seventy years were nearly run out of Israel's captivity. And therefore if Daniel had been but a mere youth at the commencement of it, he could not now have been much less, if not more, than fourscore at this time. Reader! recollect that sweet passage, Isaiah 46:3-4 . How often is it found in the Lord's people!
Was there ever a more lovely portrait drawn of any man than what is done here of Daniel; and that by his professed enemies. Reader! think what a blessed badge it is, to be charged of bad men for faithfulness to the Lord. Here we see very eminently, that blessedness spoken of by our Lord, Matthew 5:11-12 .
I think it would be wrong to swell the Commentary by unnecessary observations here. The plan was evil; and the intention evil; though as we shall find by the sequel, the Lord overruled it for good. Think, Reader! what must his wisdom be that makes good to spring out of evil; and so arrangeth orders and events, as to make men the unconscious ministers of bringing about the very reverse of what they intended. Such was the history of Joseph's brethren, when from the pit, and the prison, all the illustrious events which followed in the Patriarch's life, were produced. Genesis 45:5-8 . Such was the case of Mordecai. Esther 7:9-10 . And yet more blessed than all such in the cross of Christ. For the Jews thought by crucifying the Lord of life and glory, that they should put out his name forever; whereas that very cross is the believer's triumph. Galatians 6:14 .
What a lovely and engaging representation is here again made of Daniel! That which would have daunted the confidence of any man, became the very means of giving Daniel boldness: and what would have kept back the boldest heart from a throne of grace, was made the occasion to drive Daniel thither. Reader! I pray you observe the conduct of this servant of the Lord. He did not go to the king, to beg of him to reverse the sentence, or to pray that he might be excused in the disobedience; but he carried his request to the court of heaven, and there he lodged all his petitions. Here is no concealment, no evasion, no smothering things, and hiding his religion, to comply with the times: but with his windows thrown open towards Jerusalem the holy city, with an eye to the temple, the well known type of Christ, as if looking for his coming; three times a day, according to his usual custom, he presented his supplications before the throne. Reader! pause, and ask your own heart, whether there he any correspondence in your devotion to that of Daniel's? Can the closet witness for you that you are frequently there; and is your person well known, and familiar to the king, and the glorified inhabitants of Jerusalem? Precious Jesus! what would have become of me in a thousand instances past, and what should I do now, were I prohibited from calling on thee, and presenting all my wants before thee? Oh! for three times three; yea, seventy times seven, to enjoy the fellowship of God and the Lamb in holy communion!
The event is here stated, just as might have been expected. But oh! how little did those wretched characters consider the awful consequences they were laying the train for; and what a pit they were digging for their own destruction!
What a train of evils the king by his inconsiderateness had brought himself into? But is there not somewhat like the language of faith, and that in lively exercise, in what the king said to Daniel? Well might Darius spend the night fasting, when for aught he knew, a faithful servant of his, and by his appointment also, was in the same night devoured by lions.
Behold, Reader! what a mighty change! Who so apparently forlorn and wretched as faithful Daniel, when cast into the lion's den: who so blessed when taken out? Reader! do not lose sight of these things; for they are the michtams of the Lord; and ought to be had in everlasting remembrance of all Christ's redeemed and exercised ones.
The subject ends as it might be expected to end. God's faithful servant is delivered: the enemy brought down; and the Lord Jesus himself adored in the salvation of his chosen. So, Lord, let all thy people praise thee, and in the less exercises of the saints of God, give them strength to their day, and send thy salvation out of Zion, to bless thy people in Jerusalem. Amen.
READER! remark here how unremitting the malice of hell hath been of old, and continued from age to age, against Christ and his Church! When nothing could be found to ruin Daniel in his trust with men, such is the venom of hatred, that the attempt is made to poison his reputation in his dealings with God. Such hath been, and ever must be, the bitterness of the Esau's against the children of promise. But how blessed is it to behold the grace of God in its actions, and on the hearts of God's people! Oh! for the same spirit as actuated the soul of Daniel! The prohibition of men is nothing, when the fear of God possesseth the heart. Among the gods, said one of old, will I give thanks unto thee, O Lord! And so will every faithful follower of the Lord, though lions be in the way, and hell and destruction oppose. It will be a blessed improvement of this Chapter, if the heart both of Writer and Reader be led therefrom, to seek to the Lord for a portion of the same spirit as actuated the mind of Daniel. Precious Jesus! in thy bright example we behold how blessed it is, when bulls of Bastian set themselves against thy people all around, to lay hold by faith of thy strength and grace, and to be more than conquerors through thy power helping us. Oh! Lord! be thou my confidence all the day, so shall I be saved from the lions dens, and from the mountains of leopards: and my God will be mine everlasting strength and my glory.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Daniel 6". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 25 / Ordinary 30