Rev. Natalie Blake
St. Andrew Parish Church Hall
November 11, 2017
A Reading of Daniel Chapter 6
Characters – The king – the boss
Worker – Daniel
Co-workers – other presidents and satraps
Situation – Daniel was given a promotion:
6:1 It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom one hundred twenty satraps, stationed throughout the whole kingdom, 2 and over them three presidents, including Daniel; to these the satraps gave account, so that the king might suffer no loss.
He became a senior manager – answering to the king
Daniel’s work ethic was so impeccable he was up for another promotion:
6:3 Soon Daniel distinguished himself above all the other presidents and satraps because an excellent spirit was in him, and the king planned to appoint him over the whole kingdom.
Even when co-workers looked for cause to complain about his work – they found none
6:4 So the presidents and the satraps tried to find grounds for complaint against Daniel in connection with the kingdom. But they could find no grounds for complaint or any corruption, because he was faithful, and no negligence or corruption could be found in him.
Daniel lived a God-centred life not just at home, but even at work so that his values were reflected in every aspect of his life
That is what is required of the Christian worker – we must distinguish ourselves, living out the Christian life, even in the workplace – we too must be faithful, not negligent nor corrupt.
Additionally, our co-workers should know the basis for our value system, that our identities are bound up in Christ – that we follow God. If anything – let that be our main fault – that we are faithful to God.
Nevertheless – it is easy to follow Jesus and show faith in God when all is going well – how do Christian workers respond when we are challenged because of our faith? Are we willing to sacrifice anything/ everything for the sake of our faith?
In verses 5-13 Daniel’s co-workers conspired to make some trouble for him. They recognised that he had religious values – they put him in the difficult position of choosing between worshipping his God and keeping his job and his life.
They inveigled the king (boss) to prepare and execute an interdict for everyone to pray only to the king for 30 days:
For others, this was no big deal, but for Daniel, it was the ultimate test of his faithfulness to God.
Daniel could have – chosen to avoid the potential conflict – by not praying to anyone within the time.
Or he could have compromised and prayed to the king –
He could have said – God will understand that this is what I need to do to keep my job, then deal with the resulting guilt.
Our Response to Ethical Dilemmas:
How do we as Christians respond to the ethical dilemmas that sometimes come up within the workspace?
[Share stories of issues Christians have faced]
Will we say that there are things we are not willing to do to keep our jobs
The things that go against the values that are inspired by Jesus are the things that we ought not to be willing to do –
Daniel chose to be faithful – He continued to go up on his roof and pray to God.
He had a regular prayer life, and his response to the ethical dilemma that he faced was to remain faithful to it.
Daniel had no support from his boss (the king) who basically told him – his hands were tied – the interdict had been signed and he had to execute it. He could not afford to lose face.
Daniel was therefore totally reliant on God.
Seeds of Faith:
But note the statement made by his boss as he sent him to the lions:
6:16 The king said to Daniel, “May your God, whom you faithfully serve, deliver you!”
Here was a man who was not a believer – yet the seeds of faith appeared to be taking root in him. He had concern for his worker Daniel – he cared within himself. (He did not eat nor sleep 6:18)
Lions – The Consequences of our Decisions/ Actions
The lions that we face in our lives are the consequences of choosing to remain faithful. Others watch to see if we will remain faithful under that adversity and whether God will indeed deliver us.
How we face the situations of great trial can draw others to faith – as the martyrs of the church did – and it was not that God prevented them from being killed – but rather that they faced their death with words of faith on their lips – refusing to give up the confession of their beliefs to save their lives. They refused to compromise and lose their souls to save their lives.
The boss was relieved that Daniel was still alive in the morning, Daniel’s response was:
- Respectful – O King, live forever
- Full of praise for his God – he claimed God – “My God…” he had a relationship with God –
- Daniel shared his testimony, using the opportunity that was now available to him – he made it clear that it was God who delivered him. Now he spoke freely about his experience of God
6:22 My God sent his angel and shut the lions’ mouths so that they would not hurt me, because I was found blameless before him; and also before you, O king, I have done no wrong.”
What about the co-workers and their families: They had no faith support – therefore when they faced the consequences of their actions – again symbolised by the lions – they were overpowered and crushed (6:24).
Faith is shared and then passed on:
The faithful but not overt action of Daniel commended his faith to his boss who then instructed his people to fear (respect) the God of Daniel.
25 Then King Darius wrote to all peoples and nations of every language throughout the whole world: “May you have abundant prosperity! 26 I make a decree, that in all my royal dominion people should tremble and fear before the God of Daniel:
For he is the living God,
His kingdom shall never be destroyed,
and his dominion has no end.
27 He delivers and rescues,
he works signs and wonders in heaven and on earth;
for he has saved Daniel
from the power of the lions.”
The story of Daniel read from this perspective makes it clear that we do not need to be overt in our show of faith, but we must be faithful/ intentional in living out that faith. We do not need to wear our dresses to our ankles or put the Bibles prominently on our desks – or even to say to every other person that we are radical Christians.
We must be clear about our identity as Christians and be unwavering in our values which we must live out through our impeccable work ethic and behaviour.
We build trust when our actions and our words coincide – people will want to listen to us, therefore when the opportunities come to share about God– we can testify- share the Good News of Jesus as we have experienced God for ourselves and commend belief in God to others and thereby disciple a co-worker or even a boss.