Let’s say that a visitor from another galaxy, through a malfunction of his teleportation device, dropped into our world this morning. He is totally unfamiliar with our solar system; he didn’t even know that it existed. But his highly developed technology gives him the ability to understand our speech. And here he is in the 6th row on the east side of our auditorium, just as our church service begins. He hears us sing some of the songs of Zion, and wonders why some sing with enthusiasm, but the minds and mouths of others are miles away. He hears me announce our text and watches some open their Bibles, while others seem totally unconcerned. Then what is he to think as he hears me read these six verses? “What are these strange aliens doing? Is this like the child’s story-time at the local library? Is this the introduction to a movie, to a fable, to a legend?” Is there any purpose to words like these?

This is a tiny piece of a rather entertaining, but small part of ancient history. And we know that it is also a part of the eternal, inspired Word of God. We aren’t here to be entertained, even though it might be entertaining. We are here to learn something about our God and of what He expects of us. With the blessing of the Lord, this could be an important hour in someone’s life, as they come to realize that they are under the microscope of judgment. So, Mr. Alien, pay attention, and you might become better prepared for eternity. And by the way, that alien might be merely an unchurched heathen, an highly religious Protestant, or a child of our Sunday School, who hasn’t been paying attention until today.

Let’s begin by considering the JUDGMENT of the “JEALOUS” people in this scripture.
The Medes and Persians had taken over the city and empire of Babylon. In some ways it was bloodless, at least as far as the enemy army entering the city and taking command. Unfortunately for many of the people who were at Belshazzar’s feast, after the conquest, it became very bloody. History tells us that many hundreds of people, mostly from among the rich and powerful, were crucified. Crucifixion was not originally a Roman method of execution – it began in Mesopotamia.

The new king then replaced the old local government with an entirely new staff. Undoubtedly there were Persian sycophants and bootlickers who believed that they would be, or should have been, given the job of running the city. But some kings actually have a good head on their shoulders, or who at least have good counselors. Darius aqpparently had been informed about the qualities and leadership shown by Daniel during the days of Nebuchadnezzar. Daniel had not been a part of the government of Belshazzar. Perhaps at first, just after he lost his job to some younger incompetent, it stung, and he was depressed. But as it often is with disappointments, now he could see the providence and blessing of God. Had he remained among Belshazzar’s counselors, or in the leadership of Babylon, he would have been crucified with the rest. So as a relative outsider – one of those original children of Judah whom Nebuchadnezzar had kidnapped – and as intellectually qualified, Daniel was made one of the highest leaders in the new regime. “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.”

Incidentally, and somewhat ironically, remember that Belshazzar promised Daniel the spot as the third ruler in the on-going Babylonian kingdom. That kingdom came to an abrupt end, and Belshazzar was not able to keep his promise. But here is Daniel, and now he is at least the third ruler in the kingdom, or perhaps even “number two.” It is Jehovah who raiseth up kings and sets them down. And it is the Lord who raises up the second and third in command as well. Don’t fret or murmur when you don’t get that justified promotion. It may not have been the best thing for you. And besides, the Lord may have something far better for you, if you’ll just be a little patient.

But of course, with Daniel as the first president, and with princes having to give account to Daniel, he was not necessarily a very popular individual. And as verse 2 suggests, it was his responsibility to see to it that the “king should have no damage.” It is very likely that there were other government officials who were either incompetent or embezzlers. Daniel may have been forced to fire or report a few fools and even to have some jailed or executed that “the king should have no damage.” We aren’t surprised that some of his wicked co-workers were jealous of him.

Now, here is the thing of which to take note at this point: Daniel was in his position of honour and responsibility because of the grace of God. Yes, he was personally qualified, but he was qualified because of the blessing of the Lord. And then as I’ve already said, it was the Lord who preserved his life and then put the spot-light upon him once again in the sight of the new monarch. The blessing of God, of course, was not something of which these jealous people were aware. We aren’t surprised to see that Daniel will be safely brought through the den of lions, because the God who has brought him this far is going to see him through the next few miles as well. But his accusers, and probably Darius himself, could not initially see the hand of God in Daniel’s life.

Second, many jealous people are not willing to bring themselves up to the character and qualifications of the people of whom they are jealous. Rather than develop the excellent spirit and intelligence necessary for them to lead properly, they only want to tear down the man who is properly qualified. Or, as in this case, perhaps some of them wanted Daniel removed, because they were dishonest, and he was hampering their wicked exploits.

The point is – the wicked often make their judgments based upon what they see in themselves – or want for themselves. They look at others and judge others, like Daniel, through a somewhat transparent mirror. They see the other person’s image, but superimposed over it is their own face. As a result, the judgments that they render are inaccurate and often unjust. And when Christians do this sort of thing they join the ranks of the wicked. There isn’t very much that the victim can do about this unjust judgment, except to trust in the Lord. As we see in this chapter, just because wicked men condemn us, that doesn’t mean that God agrees with them, or that He will permit them to carry out their wicked sentence against us.

The wicked were MISJUDGING and CONDEMNING a godly man – Daniel.
According to their own testimony, Daniel could not be charged or even accused of wrong-doing. “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.”

As I have said before, Daniel is one of the very few Bible characters in whom we cannot find fault. Abraham, Moses, Job, Peter and Paul all were men of like passions as we are – obviously – And right now on Wednesday nights, we have been nearly throwing-up over the stench of David’s sins. But Daniel’s rivals couldn’t find anything with which to charge him before his employer, King Darius. And the casual Bible reader can’t find fault with him either. That doesn’t mean that he had no sin, because every child of Adam is a sinner and over time aspects of his depravity will become manifest. “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” “If we say that we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and (God’s) word is not in us.” Earlier I said that it may have stung Daniel, when he lost his job after the death of Nebuchadnezzar. If there was a twinge of jealousy or resentment; If there was a moment of murmuring, it would have been proof that Daniel was child of Adam. Actually, he was a child of Adam, and there were sins in his heart – if not often seen in his life. But the fact remains that his adversaries could not find those sins.

Psalm 37 gives us two pairs of verses which relate to this theme: “The wicked plotteth against the just, and gnasheth upon him with his teeth. The Lord shall laugh at him: for he seeth that his day is coming.” “The wicked watcheth the righteous, and seeketh to slay him. The LORD will not leave him in his hand, nor condemn him when he is judged.” Solomon adds, “An unjust man is an abomination to the just: and he that is upright in the way is abomination to the wicked.”

Daniel would have made an ideal Christian pastor. He might say with the apostle Paul, “Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.” Because if you will remember, Christ Jesus was sinlessly perfect – He “did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth.” His accusers brought Him to Pilate, just as Daniels’ accusers wanted to bring him to Darius, but Pilate had to honestly say, “I find no fault in him.”

This is the standard that we are to put before our eyes, Christian. If we would like to be of service to Christ, we must be blameless before the eyes of the honest unbeliever. Peter says, “Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation. Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.” “If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified. But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters. Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.” Daniel knew the meaning of these words without ever directly hearing them. And he knew the meaning of Paul’s words in Philippians 2 – “Do all things without murmurings and disputings, That ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world; Holding forth the word of life; that I may rejoice in the day of Christ, that I have not run in vain, neither laboured in vain.” What if the Lord had brought Daniel to Babylon, spared his life from the furnace, set him in an high office, removed him from that office in order to spare his life, and set him up in an high office under Darius, only to have Daniel destroy all that by some sin or crime against one of the just laws of the Persians? What if there was one charge of immorality, one accusation of drunkenness, one act of embezzlement? Every Christian needs to be able to pass the through the judgments of the world with the testimony – “We can’t find any fault in him; he is faithful to his responsibilities; Neither is there a single error in the performance of his duties.” This should be one of the goals in our lives. Daniel’s clean record, unfortunately, didn’t protect him from the hatred and jealousy of his rivals. In fact, his clean record probably just intensified…

The ATTACK upon Daniel.
Just because the wicked are fools when it comes to sin, that doesn’t mean that they are stupid. In this case, Daniel’s competitors wisely spotted something in the man and plotted a course to bring him down. Daniel was the type of saint, who would not let anything stand between his soul and the Lord. He was not going to compromise a single precept or principle, law or legality of Jehovah his God. As much as he desired to keep the laws of Babylon, when those laws clashed with God’s laws, there wasn’t a choice to make, there was nothing but Christian duty. And even though he owed much to Darius for his recent promotion, the king wasn’t Jehovah, and Jehovah wasn’t to be denied.

Daniel had proven his before, even though Darius might have not known the details. When he was still a teenager, and fresh from Jerusalem, the prince of the eunuchs had ordered Daniel and his friends to eat the king’s special diet. Daniel was not convinced that the king’s diet was God’s diet, so he respectfully declined, asking Melzar and Ashpenaz to put the Jews to a test. As it turned out the Lord’s diet was superior to that on which the king was dining. Daniel had a long-standing reputation of putting the Lord before the commands of earthly kings.

And this was true of the other Hebrew children as well. Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah refused to bow before Nebuchadnezzar’s idolatrous image. They were even willing to face the wrath and the punishment which the human law demanded. But as far as they were concerned, the laws of men were not to be allowed to conflict with to the laws of God.

Knowing that this still stood as a military guard around his heart, Daniel’s wicked rivals knew that they could use the conflict between man’s law and God’s law to dethrone him. And since there appeared to be no laws currently enacted which worked to their advantage, it was necessary to come up with something new. “Then these presidents and princes assembled together to the king, and said thus unto him, King Darius, live for ever.” What a devilish hoard of hell-bound reprobates! They secretly came before the king like a small army, and then they lied through their clinched teeth. 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.” There was one president who was not consulted and who had not agreed to this wretched law. These men might have been doing everything they could to create a smoke screen, making sure that Darius couldn’t see that Daniel was not among them. “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.”

What a blatant play upon the ego of the most powerful man in the world. The whole idea was ludicrous – stupid. Taken to its fullest extent – No child could ask his mother for an apple, or a lost pedestrian for directions from a policeman. No lawyer could ask for a continuance and no idolater could ask his god for rain or fertility. Oh, but that idolater could ask the king for rain, for a baby boy, for a beautiful spouse, or for a new car. That really made a lot of sense. It seems obvious to me that there was no other purpose in this law than to trap Daniel, and Darius should have seen it. (Maybe I should apologize for implying that he had a good head on his shoulders.) These wicked, wicked men, inflated the ego of the king in order to destroy a righteous man.

But in so doing, they highlighted an IMPORTANT PRINCIPLE
The Lord and His law really is the only standard for true justice and judgment. Not only did these men say that Daniel could be condemned only in his relationship to God’s law, the law that they enacted – their human law – was so totally unjust as to pass into the category of the asinine. And then when their foolish law was applied, and they tried to carry out their execution, the omnipotent God proved who was God and what law really was law.

There is only one standard by which sinners will be truly judged – the precepts contained in this book – the Bible. Last year we concluded our lengthy look at the Book of Romans. One of the primary purposes of that book, was to teach us about this Book. “Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” “For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound.” The Bible is a revelation of God – the heart of God – the character of God – the standard of God. And what is the purpose of the law? “What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet. For without the law sin was dead.”

This foolish law of the Medes and the Persians was designed to remove Daniel from office – and from life. But it failed to accomplish either. In fact, it flipped over on the law-makers themselves, and they died in their own lion’s den. That law then went on to justify Daniel’s desire to serve the Lord according to God’s law.

Ultimately, you are going to be judged by the law of the Lord, despite what the laws of men have said about us. Sadly, God’s law will prove you to be a sinner – it already has. Furthermore, it says that “the wages of sin is death.” Therefore you need a Saviour – someone who has passed through the law unscathed. Daniel is not the Saviour – he needed a Saviour. The Lord Jesus Christ is the only sacrifice, the only Saviour, the only substitute, capable of delivering us from the judgment that God demands for the sinner. You need Christ. Have you bowed before this Saviour in repentance and faith?