Daniel 6:1-9
Godly Success in an Ungodly Environment
Prepared by Dr. John E. Marshall

Daniel 6:1-3 (Holman) Darius decided to appoint 120 satraps over the kingdom, stationed throughout the realm, and over them three administrators, including Daniel. These satraps would be accountable to them so that the king would not be defrauded. Daniel distinguished himself above the administrators and satraps because he had an extraordinary spirit, so the king planned to set him over the whole realm.

At 90, Daniel was still true to God and earning regal honors. Prominent among three chief administrators, he was about to be placed over all the satraps of the realm. Daniel had achieved worldly success, and had remained successful with God. His was Godly success in an ungodly environment.

Daniel’s devout life was rooted in most unfavorable soil. Babylon, a spiritual pigpen, was filled with sensuality, lust, drunkenness, paganism, self-seeking, envy, hatred, and cruelty, yet Daniel’s faith blossomed.

Daniel’s life teaches that purity, holiness, and communion with God do not depend ultimately on surroundings. A good environment can help and a bad one hurt, but ultimately success depends on the inner will of the person.

Joseph stayed true in Egypt; Adam fell in Eden. Seven thousand remained true under Ahab; Nadab and Abihu were smitten in the tabernacle. Saints lived in Caesar’s household; God killed Ananias and Sapphira among believers.

It seems a paradox, but evil circumstances can be favorable for developing Christian character. Such settings offer no temptation for believers to try to depend on the world for spiritual help. Thus, they lean on God. The more we are thrown back on Him the more likely is our faith to be pleasing to Him.

There is a vital lesson here for local churches. Outward environment does not dictate the future of a church. If we believers do not build powerful Christ-honoring, God-fearing, Holy-Ghost-filled, spotlessly beautiful fellowships, it will be because flaws in us, not our communities, prevented it.

We cannot blame the world for a local church’s failure. God has always been able to grow flowers on a manure pile.

Our spiritual futures are not in the hands of the lost or those opposed to us. We are not dependent on changes in economy, social status, shifting population, etc. Nothing “out there” controls our destiny. Our futures are in our hearts, dependent on what we let God make them.

Daniel 6:4-5 The administrators and satraps, therefore, kept trying to find a charge against Daniel regarding the kingdom. But they could find no charge or corruption, for he was trustworthy, and no negligence or corruption was found in him. Then these men said, “We will never find any charge against this Daniel unless we find something against him concerning the law of his God.”

Daniel’s success can be explained in one word ( Godliness. His earthly laurels were incidental. The issue of supreme importance was his success with God. Every other benefit sprang from his spirituality.

Daniel was above all else a man of God. To him God was real, living, reliable. He never lost confidence in God and always depended on Him.

Daniel was raised to his high position not by talent alone. He was no doubt able and competent, but these would not count for much if they were all he had. His real strength was in his being yielded to God. His heart and spirit, more than his brain, determined his destiny.

Look at what commitment to God produced in Daniel. “Distinguished himself above” is literally “outshone.” No one could hold a candle to him. There was something special about him, an intangible greatness, charisma.

“No charge” means “no ground of accusation.” Nothing wrong had ever been done or said by him. When Daniel spoke, it was time for all others to be silent. “If this man spoke first they were sorry they ever opened their lips upon the subject when Daniel declared his judgment” (Parker).

“No corruption” means “no moral corruption.” This was listed twice for emphasis. He had taken no bribes, had no unjust dealings. He was morally impeccable. There was nothing in him to cause embarrassment to the throne.

“Trustworthy” means “loyal.” In everything he had proven himself worthy of the king’s trust. He could never be accused of treason.

“No negligence” means he had always done his duty. They couldn’t find anyone he had overlooked or mistreated. Daniel was preferred because “he had an extraordinary spirit,” an excellent will, a good dominant disposition.

Daniel 6:6 So the administrators and satraps went together to the king and said to him, “May King Darius live forever.”

Having found Daniel to be above reproach, the leaders “went together” to the king. The original actually reads they “tumultuously thronged” the king. They rushed the king with sudden, noisy excitement, as if they had an idea needing immediate implementation. They were so excited that they forgot all the etiquette of the Medes and Persians and literally took the king by storm.

Why are they so anxious? Maybe they intend to tell the king how their investigation of Daniel resulted. He surely deserved their commendation, but instead of praise, they brought a scheme of cold-blooded murder to destroy the greatest, best, and purest man in the kingdom.

A plot conceived in hell to destroy a good man was transplanted to wicked hearts, incubated in a meeting, and hatched in the nest of a blatant lie.

Daniel 6:7 All the administrators of the kingdom, the prefects, satraps, advisers, and governors have agreed that the king should establish an ordinance and enforce an edict that for 30 days, anyone who petitions any god or man except you, the king, will be thrown into the lions’ den.

They said “all” agreed, but the main leader had not been consulted. These men understood human nature. If you touch a man’s vanity he will do almost anything. They swayed Darius with flattery. The king lost all reasoning ability in a moment’s time due to flattery. No wonder the Bible scathes flattery. “May the Lord cut off all flattering lips” (Psalm 12:3a). “A flattering mouth causes ruin” (Proverbs 26:28b).

Flattery is Satan’s counterfeit for the spiritual gift of encouragement. Flattery, excessive and insincere praise, involves lying to make someone think they are better than they are. The Hebrew word for flatter means “smooth, slippery, fallacious.” Flatteries are smooth fallacies on which people slip.

Pride was the real problem here. Mob morality and flattery would have been ineffective had Darius not been filled with pride. The thought of being God for 30 days was too intoxicating to resist and Darius fell.

Pride is one of Satan’s most destructive weapons. God wants us to sense self-worth and self-love, but the Devil’s counterfeit is pride and self-sufficiency.

Beware flattery, people approaching us with smooth and oily words. Look out for a slick trick. Flattery springs from a wicked heart and carries with it an ulterior motive. Honest encouragement ( Yes! Flattery ( No!

Daniel 6:8-9 Therefore, Your Majesty, establish the edict and sign the document so that, as a law of the Medes and Persians, it is irrevocable and cannot be changed. So King Darius signed the document.

This whole episode is one of reckless abandon. Had the princes thought a little longer they would have realized the king would inevitably be angry with them for this. But their envy made them rush. They wanted the law signed now.

Quicker than it takes to tell the story, in a moment of careless haste, Darius signed what was, in effect, the death warrant of his best friend. He agreed in haste and regretted in leisure. According to Medo-Persian law, an edict could not be reversed. He made an irreversible decision on impulse.

What a pity he did not sleep on it. Wisdom would have delayed, for there was no need for an immediate decision. Except for rare emergency situations, take time in making decisions. Consult God and others.