Conflict Over True Worship

In Daniel chapter 3 King Nebuchadnezzar endeavors to force the three Hebrew children to worship a false god by insisting they bow down to his golden image, he is unsuccessful in his attempt of coercion. In Daniel chapter 6 there is an attempt to prohibit the worship of the one true God. In Daniel chapter 3 the Hebrew children could have still worship the one true God but only if the admitted that the false god was superior. While in Daniel chapter 6 worship to the one true God is prohibited.

Likewise in the last days the book of Revelation reveals that God's people will first be enticed to worship God falsely, and finally they will be prohibited from worshipping the one true God on penalty of death. God's people will not yield on either point. They will be as faithful as the three Hebrews were when faced with the fiery furnace and as Daniel was when he was tossed into the lion's den.

The reason for their steadfast faithfulness is the personal relationship they have developed with God. A personal relationship with God is the most important thing we can have as we enter into the final scenes of earth's history.

The Decree Prohibiting True Worship
1. How many princes were set over the kingdom of the Medes and the Persians? Daniel 6:1 "It pleased Darius to set over the kingdom an hundred and twenty princes, which should be over the whole kingdom;"  
2. How many presidents were over the 120 princes? Daniel 6:2 "And over these three presidents; of whom Daniel was first: that the princes might give accounts unto them, and the king should have no damage."  
3. Who was preferred among the three presidents? Daniel 6:3 "Then this Daniel was preferred above the presidents and princes, because an excellent spirit was in him; and the king thought to set him over the whole realm."

This is an amazing story. Here was a man who served as prime minister in Babylon, was made third ruler in Babylon on the night Cyrus conquered Babylon, and now the Medo-Persians were willing to place him in charge of all the affairs of the new kingdom. What a testimony to the righteous character of Daniel. All of these rulers knew that he could be trusted because of his relationship with God.

4. Could the scheming princes find any fault with Daniel? Daniel 6:4 "Then the presidents and princes sought to find occasion against Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find none occasion nor fault; forasmuch as he was faithful, neither was there any error or fault found in him." No matter how carefully they searched they could find nothing against Daniel. He didn't cheat on his income tax, he didn't keep two seats of books, he was honest in everything he did.
5. What was the one area of Daniel's life where the princes found fault? Daniel 6:5 "Then said these men, 'We shall not find occasion against this Daniel, except we find it against him concerning the law of his God.'" The princes' of Medo-Persia could not handle that a Hebrew, a captive of Babylon, would be esteemed greater than they so they sought an occasion to bring fault against Daniel and found it in God's law. Through Daniel's witness and Obedience to God's law they found what they were looking for and made Daniel's worship of God the central issue in this conflict. Because the stories of Daniel illustrate the crisis in the end-time we can expect that in the final crisis a similar issues will be used against God's people; how God's people worship Him and stay true to His commandments.
6. What request did the scheming princes make of King Darius?

Daniel 6:6-8 "Then these presidents and princes assembled together to the king, and said thus unto him, King Darius, 'live fore ever. All the presidents of the kingdom the governors, and the princes, the counsellors, and the captains, have consulted together to establish a royal statute, and to make a firm decree, that whosoever shall ask a petition of any God or man for thirty days, save of thee, O king, he shall be cast into the den of lions. Now, O ling, establish the decree, and sign the writing, that it be not changed, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not.'"

Daniel 6:9 "Wherefore king Darius signed the writing and the decree."

These scheming princes tried to flatter Darius into thinking that he was so important that folks should make requests of him only. Since all these ancient emperors liked to think they were gods, Darius signed the decree, not realizing the intent of the princes to destroy Daniel. Here was a decree signed by the government that said Daniel could not pray or worship God - a total prohibition against the worship of the true God.
Daniel's Prayer Life
7. What did Daniel do when he knew the decree had been signed by the king? Daniel 6:10 "Now when Daniel knew the writing was signed, he went into his house, and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime."

Daniel did not change his prayer habits when the decree was signed. He could have prayed in his closet, but that would have been hiding his faith. Instead, he went by the open window and did exactly as he had done every day before - he prayed three times daily to his God. Here was the secret of Daniel's power. This was the reason for Daniel's great strength in Babylon and Medo-Persia. If there was ever a time when Daniel needed to pray, it was now. Nothing could keep him from worshiping his God.

Had Daniel changed his prayer habits under pressure, he would have denied his relationship with God. Some people might feel that this was a small thing, that he could have prayed secretly and no one would have known the difference. In that way he could have avoided the lion's den. But to Daniel, obedience to God was more important than life itself. He would not give anyone the opportunity to think that he was not faithful to his God. A relationship with God was more important to Daniel than life itself.

8. When the princes saw Daniel praying, what did they report to King Darius?

Daniel 6:11-12 "Then these men assembled, and found Daniel praying and making supplication before his God. Then they came near, and spake before the king concerning the king's decree; 'Hast thou not signed a decree, that every man that shall ask a petition of any God or man within thirty days, save of thee, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions?' The king answered and said, 'The thing is true, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not.'"

Daniel 6:13 "Then answered they and said before the king, 'That Daniel, which is of the children of the captivity of Judah, regardeth not thee, O king, nor the decree that thou hast signed, but maketh his petition three times a day.'"

The princes did not hesitate a moment. As soon as they saw Daniel praying as he had always done, they reported him to the king. Now they would get even. They could get rid of Daniel. No longer would they have to worry about his honesty. They could cheat the king and Daniel would never report it. He would be gone.
In the Lion's Den
9. How did King Darius feel when he realized what the scheming princes had really planned? Daniel 6:14 "Then the king, when he heard these words, was sore displeased with himself, and set his heart on Daniel to deliver him: and he laboured till the going down of the sun to deliver him." Now that Darius saw what the princes were up to, he did his best to deliver Daniel. He tried to find a way out of the law, but the princes had written the law all too well.
10. Although Darius was forced to put Daniel into the lion's den, what remarkable statement of faith did he make? Daniel 6:15, 16 "Then these men assembled unto the king, and said unto the king, 'Know, O king, that the law of the Medes and Persians is, That no decree nor statute which the king establisheth may be changed.' Then the king commanded, and they brought Daniel, and cast him into the den of lions. Now the king spake and said unto Daniel, 'Thy God whom thou servest continually, He will deliver thee.'" Even Darius knew the secret of Daniel's success. Perhaps he had heard some of the stories of Nebuchadnezzar and knew God had delivered the Hebrews in the past. Therefore he expressed faith that Daniel's God could deliver him again. Interestingly, Darius notes that Daniel serves God "continually." Darius knew that the secret of Daniel's success was his relationship with God.
11. How did the king spend the night while Daniel was in the lion's den? Daniel 17, 18 "And a stone was brought, and laid upon the mouth of the den; and the king sealed it with his own signet, and with the signet of his lords; that the purpose might not be changed concerning Daniel. Then the king went to his palace, and passed the night fasting: neither were instruments of musick brought before him: and his sleep went from him" Darius could not sleep that night for he was deeply troubled about Daniel.
12. What did the king discover very early the next morning when he came to the lion's den? Daniel 6:19-22 "then the king arose very early in the morning, and went in haste unto the den of lions. And when he came to the den, he cried with a lamentable voice unto Daniel: and the king spake and said to Daniel, 'O Daniel, servant of the living God, is thy God, whom thou servest continually, able to deliver thee from the lions?' then said Daniel unto the king, 'O king, liver for ever. My God hath sent His angel, and hath shut the lions' mouth, that they have not hurt me: forasmuch as before Him innocency was found in me; and also before thee, O king, have I done not hurt.'" How happy Darius was that Daniel was yet alive. His god had delivered him.
13. What command did the king give concerning the scheming princes? Daniel 6:24 "And the king commanded, and they brought those men which had accused Daniel, and they cast them into the den of lions, then, their children, and their wives; and the lions had the mastery of them, and brake all their bones in pieces or ever they came at the bottom of the den." The lions were indeed "un-fed" and " hungry! This is further proof of God's miracle working power in keeping Daniel from harm.
14. What decree did Darius now make? Daniel 6:25-28 "Then king Darius wrote unto all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth; 'Peace be multiplied unto you. I make a decree, That in every dominion of my kingdom men tremble and fear before the God of Daniel: for He is the living God, and steadfast for ever; and His kingdom that which shall not be destroyed, and His dominion shall be even unto the end.'" What a tremendous witness Daniel was. Two world rulers, Nebuchadnezzar and Darius, were brought to acknowledge the true God because of the tremendous witness of Daniel. But let us not forget the key to Daniel's successful witness - his personal relationship with his God.
15. How important is a relationship with God? John 17:3 "And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent." It is eternal life to know Jesus Christ. There is nothing more important than a relationship with God. It is most important thing in the world!
16. How did Daniel develop such a deep personal relationship with God? Daniel 6:10 "Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime." The secret of Daniel's success, the reason that he had such a deep personal relationship with God, was the amount of time that he spent with God. His was not a hasty prayer in the morning or the evening. "Three times a day" he spend time in special communion with God. The only way in which we can develop a personal relationship with God is to spend time with Him. Because Daniel spent this quality time with God, he could make it through the lions' den. In the last days when the apostate power will prohibit the worship of God and impose false worship and disobedience to God's law, only those who have, like Daniel, developed this personal relationship with God will be able to withstand the trials of this time. No earthly relationship can be throughly established unless people take time together. A husband and wife will grow apart if they don't set aside time to develop their relationship. Likewise, a Christian who does not spend time with his God will not be prepared for the final scenes of earth's history. The secret of Daniel's success is his prayer life - his relationship with his God.
17. How can the Christian maintain his relationship with God? II Timothy 3:15 "And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus." The Christian who is building a relationship with God will spend much time studying God's sacred Word. The Christian will not only study, but will follow Bible principles. "His delight is in the law of the LORD; and in HIS law doth he meditate day and night." (Psalm 1:2). Bible study and prayer are the essential ingredients in building a solid personal relationship with God. In the final crisis the issues will be the same: a relationship with God that enables the Christian today to obey the commandments of God (Revelation 14:6-7; 12:17).
18. What si Bible study profitable for? II Timothy 3:16 "All scripture is given by inspiration for God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness." Bible study will help us discover what is correct doctrine, it will reprove us or our sins, it will correct us where we have gone wrong, it will provide instruction in the pathway of righteousness, and it will let us know the way that we should go.
19. What will be the result of a proper study of the Word? II Timothy 3:17 "That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works." The word "perfect" means mature, complete. Bible study and proper use of the Word will help a Christian to grow and mature in his relationship with God. There is no way to grow except through Bible study and prayer. Any Christian who is serious about being ready for the closing scenes of earth's history will be spending a lot of time developing a relationship with God through Bible study and prayer.
20. Is it your desire to be a faithful Daniel by developing a deep personal relationship with God through Bible study and prayer so that you might be prepared for the closing scenes of earth's history?