Daniel Lesson 06 - From Babylon to Bethlehem

Daniel Lesson 06 - From Babylon to Bethlehem

Series: Daniel
Ref: Daniel 6

In this message, Stephen shows us the source of Daniel's effectiveness in the midst of a land that defied His God and his people.

Transcript

From Babylon to Bethlehem

Daniel 6

I fear the average Christian is under the impression that:

  • the older you grow in Christ, the lighter your battle becomes;
  • the closer you live to God, the easier your walk becomes;
  • the more openly you live for Christ, the more respect you will gain from others

We’re under the impression that God rewards faithfulness with smoother sailing and peaceful times.

If there is one detailed account in the Bible that shatters that myth, it’s the life of Daniel.

By the time we reach the climax of his faithfulness to God, Daniel is in his mid-80’s; he’s spent most of his life in a foreign country that had defeated his own people, more than likely killing his parents some 70 years earlier.

Daniel has risen to become the chief Magi – the leader of Babylon’s elite wise men – legendary for their role in grooming kings and political leaders.

But Daniel’s life never got easier.  He never went from dangerous to peaceful.  In fact, nearly every time we read from his biography, his life is in danger – not because he was unfaithful to God, but because he was faithful.

Before the dust settles in in chapter 6 and the biography of Daniel comes to a close, a lifestyle of wisdom will be obvious to everyone in the kingdom of Persia.

It’s been said before, that knowledge is knowing the right answer; wisdom is having the right attitude.

Knowledge is being able to repeat back the truth; wisdom is being able to live out the truth.

Five words that characterize a life of wisdom

Five words that characterize a life of wisdom surface in this final, biographical event from the life of Babylon’s leading wise man.  The first characteristic is often downplayed, if not ignored.

Personality

Notice verse 1.  It seemed good to Darius to appoint 120 satraps over the kingdom that they would be in charge of the whole kingdom, 2. And over them three commissioners (of whom Daniel was one), that these satraps might be accountable to them, and that the king might not suffer loss.

Darius is more than likely one of Cyrus’ vice-regents – a man by the name of Ugbaru, chosen by Cyrus to reign as king in his stead.

The name Darius was a title of honor, as was Caesar, in the Roman Empire or Pharaoh in the Egyptian empire.

In fact, the word ‘dara’ from which Darius is derived, is the Persian word for ‘king’.  / Frank E. Gaebelein, ed: The Expositors Bible Commentary, Volume 7 (Zondervan, 1985), p. 76

This particular Darius will reign in the place of Cyrus here in the former capitol city of Babylon for around 14 years.

Now notice verse 3.  Then this Daniel began distinguishing himself among the commissioners and satraps because he possessed an extraordinary spirit, and the king planned to appoint him over the entire kingdom.

Mark that phrase – he possessed an extraordinary spirit.  You could render it, an excellent attitude.

Simply put – Daniel had a great attitude.

It wasn’t all that complicated – he had chosen to demonstrate a heart and life of wisdom through a winsome spirit.

The thing that made Daniel stand out wasn’t the fact that he was an administrative genius or a leader with just the right amount of charisma to make him likeable but not untouchable.

He wasn’t being promoted because he knew how to hobnob with the politically connected or the wealthy or the hoi polio. 

Frankly, the most attractive thing about your life as a Christian will never be what you drive, how much money you have, your title at the office or salary and benefit package.  The greatest attraction to Christianity is a Christian who seems to be glad he is.

Christians who are motivated and driven by the joy of the Lord – which really is their strength – are exceptional advertisements for the gospel.

I remember contacting a potential speaker to come to our church for a special Sunday – a national figure who was known as an outspoken Christian.  We could only contact this man through his agent, who informed us that this man wouldn’t consider coming for less than $75,000 fee, including specifications for the private jet we would have to charter to bring him to town. 

He was famous.  And it would cost $75,000 dollars for him to share with us his testimony.  One of my associate pastors laughingly told me he’d volunteer to share his testimony for half that amount!

Daniel was third in the kingdom, but he was so down to earth and everybody was marked by his extraordinary spirit – his winsome personality.  And he was remarkably unpretentious and humble.

But let’s not overlook the obvious.  By the age of 85, Daniel should have been old and ornery.

By now he should be ill-spirited, angry and bitter.  He’s served more than one king in a long list; he’s in Babylon only because he was abducted from his home in his early teens when Nebuchadnezzar crushed Jerusalem. 

Jewish tradition as well as the early church believed Daniel had been subjected to castration as a young teenager, making him a eunuch  – chapter 1 implies as much.  We also know that that Daniel will remain unmarried his entire life.

We also know that Daniel was forced to endure blasphemy upon blasphemy by the kings he served.  His political colleagues were idolatrous, conniving, pagan men.  He’d watched empires grow and collapse under their cruel hand.

And now, after years of faithful service, he is set aside and forgotten, only to be called out of retirement to decipher handwriting on a palace wall – a message from God that the Babylonian kingdom will be overthrown by the Medes and Persians.

Before Daniel exits that banquet room, the king effectively promotes him to Prime Minister.  Within hours, the incoming, conquering king of Persia immediately drafts him as one of three leaders. Daniel reenters the political scene, overseeing a collection of political leaders who will soon have him thrown to the lions so they can get him out of their way.

All that to say – if there was anybody in the kingdom with the right to be a bitter old man – it would have been Daniel.

In fact, if there was anybody in the kingdom you’d never want to be around, it would be this 85 year old bachelor who had lived nearly his entire life in a foreign country which ignored his God and mistreated his people.

If you were writing Daniel’s biography, about this time would be a great time to allow Daniel to phase out of the political scene and retire from political pressure.  Surely it would be time to let him spend his remaining days planting a little vegetable garden, sitting on a porch overlooking the Euphrates or even better, to go Home to his reward.

But God is writing this biography.  And in His mind, it’s the perfect time to test the heart of Daniel in a way he’s never been tested before.

There’s another wisdom characteristic that emerges from this text.

Integrity.

When the news leaked out that the king was going to promote Daniel over all the rest of them, notice verse 4.  Then the commissioners and satraps began trying to find a ground of accusation against Daniel in regard to government affairs; but they could find no ground of accusation or evidence of corruption, inasmuch as he was faithful . . .

That verb translated twice – to find – reveals the absolute tenacity of these officials as they searched for some ground of accusation against Daniel. . Sharon Pace, Daniel (Smyth & Helwys, 2008), p. 200

This is akin to some candidate in our own country running for office . . . rivals look everywhere, searching for dirty laundry.

Surely this Jewish bachelor had dirt hiding somewhere.  He’s lived in Babylon, for crying out loud – when in Babylon, do as the Babylonians!

They effectively started tailing Daniel; they hacked into his computer and followed his internet searches; sifted through his mail and tracked his credit cards. 

There’s gotta be something . . . somewhere!

This verse informs us that these officials are inspecting his public life from top to bottom – trying to find a ground of accusation against Daniel in regard to government affairs.

They went all the way back to the time he was appointed as a 19 year old; they checked his time cards and business expenses all the way through the reign of Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar.

Listen, they’re not checking his Old Testament Bible reading schedule.  They’re not interested in his religion; they couldn’t care less about his prayer life . . . at least not yet.

When they wrapped up their search, gathered in the backroom of the palace to share their results, all they could do was stand there, scratching their heads with amazement . . . the guys was clean!

The last part of verse 4 emphases their futile attempts; and no negligence or corruption was found in him.

Not only was he a man of integrity in public, he was a man of integrity in private.

It’s one thing to appear to be a person of integrity in public, but it’s another thing to be a person of integrity in private.

D. L. Moody once said that character is what a man was like in the dark.

Wouldn’t it be great to be more like Daniel?  I wonder how long someone would have to tail us before they found something wrong.

If you’d like to begin modeling your life after the wise pattern of Daniel, confess whatever you need to confess now . . . get right with God where you need to get right . . . make a resolution today not to be defiled by your kingdom of Babylon and begin living it out this very day. 

As I study this biographical event, I can’t help but wonder if Daniel knew the investigation was taking place.  He probably did.

So what do these men do now?

Verse 5.  Then these men said, “We will not find any ground of accusation against this Daniel unless we find it against him with regard to the law of his God.”

In other words, let’s figure out a way to use his relationship to God against him.

And that’s exactly what they will do.  Then these commissioners and satraps came by agreement to the king and spoke to him as follows: Darius live forever.  All the commissioners of the kingdom, all the prefects and all the dirty little rats – I mean the satraps – we’ve all consulted together that the king should establish a statute and enforce an injunction that anyone who makes a petition to any god or man besides, you, O king, for thirty days, shall be cast into the lions’ den.   (vv. 6-7)

Here’s the plan – O King, we’re gonna make you the god of the month!  Nobody can pray to anybody else but you for 30 days.  And if they dare, we’ll throw them to be eaten by your personal lion collection.

While the king was told that they had all consulted together, they were obviously missing one person. 

But the king doesn’t notice – probably because the word for agreement can actually refer to a throng of people. / Expositor’s Bible Commentary, p. 79

In other words, they packed the king’s throne room with a lot of people so that Darius would have been less likely to notice one of his missing wise men.

Which brings up another descriptive word for wisdom, reflected in the life of this truly wise man . . .

Consistency

Therefore King Darius signed the document, that is, the injunction.  Now when Daniel knew that the document was signed, he entered his house (now in his roof chamber he had windows open toward Jerusalem); and he continued kneeling on his knees three times a day, praying and giving thanks before his God, as he had been doing previously. (vv. 9-10).

Daniel is revealing a consistent prayer of faith that his own people – the nation Israel – would repent and be allowed to return to their homeland.

Daniel already knew from the prophecy of Jeremiah that the Jewish captivity would end after 70 years and Daniel is turning that promise into a prayer. / Warren Wiersbe, Daniel: Be Resolute (Victor, 2000), p. 76

Three times a day.  In other words, this decree from the King isn’t going to change anything.

I can’t help but wonder – what does it take to get our prayer life started?  What does it take to get it stopped?

Daniel could have decided to have a month of silent prayer; or start praying during the nighttime rather than in the middle of the day.

He could have gone for a noisy cart ride and prayed without being overheard.

Furthermore, he could have simply decided to skip 30 days of devotions and assume that God would be fine with that; after all, he’d been doing this for 75 years . . . what would 30 days hurt?

Oh, and he didn’t have to open his windows either.

He could have avoided what he obviously knew was a trap. / Renald Showers, The Most High God (Friends of Israel, 2002), p. 67

But this was the pattern of Daniel’s prayer life – and Daniel refuses to change his pattern even when under pressure. 

John Phillips recorded in his commentary on Daniel a personal story from his own struggle during World War II.  He writes, “I found myself in a crisis.  I had just been drafted into the British army.  I found myself sitting on a train, alone except for a friend who had also been drafted.  Like myself, he was a professing Christian.  It was a dark, cold, blustery night.  As the train rattled over the points and roared through the tunnels, I did some thinking.  After a while I said to my friend, “Fred, this time tomorrow we’ll be in a big barrack room somewhere in Bradford.  What are you going to do when it comes time to go to bed?  Are you going to say your prayer in bed or down by your bunk? 

He did not hesitate responding – “In bed, of course!” he said.

I retired to my corner and thought some more. I had made a profession of faith at the age of ten and had been drilled in all the basics of the Christ life.  I knew, however, that I had no vibrant testimony.  I thought back over my high school days; I thought of my past few years in banking.  I had been a compromiser.  I had managed to jog along showing one face to my friends at school and my colleagues in the bank and quite another face to my parents and my Christian friends.  I [realized] there in that drafty, noisy train that what I had was a secondhand faith, the kind of faith that Lot had who compromised with his world; I needed the faith of Abraham – [and Daniel].

By this time, Fred was sound asleep.  I pulled my coat collar up and shrank down into my coat for warmth; and there I prayed, “Lord, I am not proud of my Christian life.  I don’t even know if I am a Christian.  But here and now I purpose in my heart to let You be the Lord of my life.  And I’m going to kneel by my bunk in that barracks tomorrow night.  With your help, I’ll be a real Christian from now on.”

John Phillips writes, “I still remember that first day in the army.  We were hauled here, there, and everywhere.  We were given shots and issued boots.  We were offered tasteless army food and documents to sign . . . we were soldiers.

Then bedtime came.  I did what I had decided to do.  I put my Bible on my bed, and knelt down [by my bunk].  And nothing happened . . . nobody noticed . . . nobody cared.  I don’t know whether or what I [really] prayed.  I vaguely remember counting up to 50 and saying, “Amen!” that was all right with God – I’m sure, for starters.  I had made my statement.  I had purposed in my heart. / John Phillips, Exploring the Book of Daniel (Kregel, 2004), p. 35

I was going to live for God.

Daniel went into his room and effectively said, “Even though I may lose my life, I will kneel here, perhaps for the last time, and praise and give thanks to my God.”

The trap was sprung; Then these men came by agreement – literally – they thronged into Daniel’s room – and found him making petition and supplication before his God. (verse 11)

They saw what they expected . . . what they’d hoped to find; and off they ran to the king. They were congratulating each other with the fact that they had finally caught him doing something wrong – and this time they would not let him slip away.

And Daniel?  He’s still up in his room, probably praying a little longer than usual.  Besides, as far as he knew, his life would soon be over.

Not because he was disobedient to God, but because he was obedient; not because he was faithless, but because he was faithful.

James Montgomery Boice wrote, “What Daniel [believed] he practiced openly; no retreat; no backing off; no privatizing convictions; he knelt in the sight of Babylon; we need more Daniel’s who will open their windows and honor God before a watching world.” / James Montgomery Boice, Daniel: An Expositional Commentary (Baker Books, 2007), p. 71

No matter what.

Then as soon as the king heard this statement he was deeply distressed and set him mind on delivering Daniel; and even until sunset he kept exerting himself to rescue him. (v. 14)

In other words, there’s got to be a loophole somewhere.  They knew he had been purposefully manipulated in order to eliminate the competition – the only honest guy Darius knew he could trust.

Then these men came by agreement to the king – there’s  that same phrase again – they came in a throng to the king (v. 15).

They always came together simply because they were all cowards.  Daniel stands alone and these men can’t move without the herd. 

How like the world that blindly follows the crowd – they view themselves as independent when they actually rely on one another’s approval – from the way they dress to the way they think and live.

Only the Christian truly stands apart from current of popular opinion.

And they said, “Recognize, O king, that it is a law of the Medes and Persians that no injunction or statute which the king establishes may be changed.”

In other words, there’s no loophole, Darius . . . Daniel must die.

One liberal scholar said that these weren’t real lions – that this wasn’t a real lions’ den after all; this was simply poetic language for the fact that this circle of political colleagues had turned into lions, and they were eager to devour Daniel. / Pace, p. 211

Daniel would have been happy with a little poetic language . . . but this wasn’t poetry.

These were real lions – and Daniel fully expected to be their next meal.

Archeologists have uncovered near eastern lion dens and caverns which were actually open from above – they were dug deep into the earth and could be viewed from above.  Steps led down one side to an opening through which they could deposit a condemned prisoner – which they probably did with Daniel.  They could also simply throw over the edge any number of people, which they will do later with these officials.

The lions’ dens were dug in a square fashion, having a partition wall built down the center which divided the den in half.  At the base of the partition wall, was an iron door hinged so that it could be raised and lowered by a rope from above. / Adapted from C.F. Keil and F. Delitzsch, Commentary on the Old Testament: Volume 9, (Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1985), p. 216

In this way they could throw food into one side and get all the lions over into that section, close the gate and deposit a prisoner in the other side; once they covered that lower doorway with a boulder, they would go up the stairs to the top, raise the gate and the lions would be free to make their way into the other section and kill their next victim who had nowhere to run or hide.

All day long the king tried to release Daniel from certain death.  He was furious with these officials and he was also no doubt angry with himself for not looking at the fine print of that injunction.

We’re not told all that Darius attempted to do for Daniel.  Perhaps he even thought of overfeeding the lions all that day; perhaps he’d thought of covering Daniel with armor from head to toe.  Trouble was, any of these ideas would have been interpreted as an attempt to undermine his own decree.  The truth was, only a miracle could save Daniel now. / Expositors Bible Commentary, p. 81

You’re saying, “We know, we know already.  An angel comes down . . . Daniel gets out . . . the other guys get thrown in.

Slow down . . . we’ve got time to explore this next scene for undetected nuggets of wisdom.  The fact that we know the end of the story often stunts our powers of observation – and imagination.

Then the king gave orders, and Daniel was brought in and cast into the lions’ den.  The king spoke and said to Daniel, “Your God whom you constantly serve will Himself deliver you.”

Evidently Darius accompanies Daniel to the den of lions.

And did you notice that Darius is the one who declares the only way out for Daniel – Your God whom you constantly serve.

By the way, Darius didn’t say, Your God whom you just started serving when you found out you were gonna die!  No, your God whom you constantly serve will Himself deliver you.”

Would you also notice that Daniel doesn’t speak in return? He doesn’t say, “Amen to that King – I’m gonna believe in miracles down here – God will come through, for sure – I’m declaring my victory even now, hallelujah!”

Daniel says nothing.  Why?  More than likely Daniel doesn’t think he’s getting out alive.

Not because God can’t deliver him, but because God might not.

Daniel wasn’t going to make promises God didn’t plan to keep. 

We ought to do the same thing today . . . we really need to stop putting words in God’s mouth.

God will deliver Daniel from the den, or He might choose to deliver him through death.

This 85 year old wise man is evidently willing to trust God either way.

So he remains silent . . . and, I believe, fearing the crushing teeth of hungry lions.

When’s the last time you were really afraid? 

Frankly, I can always tell how brave I am by how I respond to those noises in the night . . . evidently, I’m not growing any braver.

I can remember when our children were small and we had recently moved into our first home. 

It was about midnight, of course, and I heard this crash in the kitchen and this commotion.  And I thought, “Someone has broken into the house.” 

I sat up in bed, my heart racing . . . Marsha looked at me with that look that said, “I heard it too!” 

Maybe I could like down and hope the burglar found what he wanted and then left.  Okay, it’s better to die a hero than a coward. 

So I climbed out of the bed and crept to the bedroom door.  We had a long hallway that led down to the dining room.  I peeked through the doorway and looked . . . which made things only worse.

Marsha leaves a light on over the kitchen sink at night and it typically cast a large rectangular shadow into the dining room.

Not this time . . . the shadow was interrupted by someone crouching down beside the refrigerator.    

Now what should I do, I wondered.  None of the options were good . . . there was only one thing to do . . . go confront the intruder. 

Keep in mind this event preceded cell phones – our phone hung on the kitchen wall where phones had hung for centuries.  And we didn’t own a gun.

So I crept down the hallway hoping to use the advantage of surprise. I figured I had one good swing – and it needed to be a good one or I was going to heaven.

I eventually made it to the kitchen, my back to the refrigerator, just around the corner from the burglar.  He had remained motionless throughout my creaking and popping venture down the hallway.

I balled up my fists, jumped around the corner ready to swing. 

What awaited me was the bag of trash that we had set up on the counter before going to bed.  Over time the weight had shifted and it had simply rolled off the counter and rested against the refrigerator door. 

But I was so psyched out I wrestled it to the ground and then threw it out of the house . . . then marched triumphantly back to bed.

So much for a happy ending.

Frankly, we come to this story with real lions and really loud roaring and a very real death sentence and we don’t even sweat – we know the end of the story.

The trouble is, we miss what must have been happening inside the heart and mind of Daniel.

Furthermore, we have the impression that Daniel had it all under control . . . his hands in his gown pockets, whistling, Blessed Assurance.

Not hardly.

Daniel would have been naturally frightened.  Did he drop to his knees in that den?  Did he cover his ears to block out the sound of roaring as the lions fought to be the first one through that iron gate? 

Did he wonder if it would hurt . . . and for how long?  Is this the end? 

Daniel would have heard the gate opening . . . he would have braced for a rush of lions fighting to be the first one to him.

Suddenly, strangely, the den grew quiet. 

The roaring stopped.  He felt no pain . . . no teeth seized him.

Instead, he may have felt the nuzzle of a nose and heard the rumbling of these giant cats purring as they brushed against him and then lay down.

Only then did Daniel open his eyes . . . he wasn’t alone after all.

There was an angel, sent to not only bind the lions’ mouths, but keep him company.

Amazing!

Don’t miss the fact that God could have miraculously put those lions to sleep; He could have miraculously turned them into playful kittens who wanted nothing more than to play fetch with Daniel sandals – although cats don’t play fetch – cats don’t play anything – but I digress.

Isn’t it interesting that Daniel was not only delivered, but that God gave him sweet company following, no doubt, one of the loneliest and most desperate moments of his life.

At first daylight, the king raced from his royal bedroom and ran all the way to the den shouting – “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you constantly serve, been able to deliver you from the lions?”  Then Daniel spoke to the king, “O king, live forever!”

Can you imagine the shock of that king – and all the officials who were trailing him down that corridor – Daniel is alive!

Now before you take note of what Daniel said, imagine for a moment what he could have said.

He could have given the king a lecture – “Whattya mean, is my God able – of course he’s able; did you forget that I am his prophet?”

He could have acted brave, “Oh King . . . there was nothing at all to fear – in fact, I’ve had a great night’s sleep.  Say, you don’t look like you’ve slept at all!”

He could have acted nonchalant, “Why, I’ve gotten to know all these lions – I’ve even named them; that’s Puddles over there and this is Princess and that’s Leo and this one here is Cuddles and . . . I oughtta come down here more often!”  

Which leads me to another characteristic of wisdom displayed by Daniel . . . you can add it to the list along with personality, integrity and consistency.

Humility

Here’s Daniel’s answer – My God sent His angel and shut the lions’ mouths and they have not harmed me, inasmuch as I was found innocent before Him; and also toward you, O king, have committed no crime. (v. 22)

Just the facts, now that the king was in a position to listen; no bragging rights . . . no chip on his shoulder . . . no demand for revenge – or even an apology.

I read about a truck driver who was eating his food in a truck stop recently.  He was rather small in stature.  His quite meal was interrupted when three bikers pulled up – big rough guys dressed in leather.  They walked in, ordered their food and then spotted the diminutive truck driver.  They began to tease him because he was small, tousling his hair – they even took his food away and threw it in the trash can.  The little fella quietly paid for his food and left.  The three bikers laughed and said to the waitress, “He isn’t much of a man is he?”  She peered out the window and said, “No, and he isn’t much of a truck driver either – he just backed over three motorcycles.”

That’s our kind of story . . . we like that kind of ending.  That’ll teach ‘em!

From Daniel comes nothing of the sort.  He recognized that his life was in the hands of God – nothing and no one could interrupt his spirit of trust and confidence in the hand of God.

He response to the king was simple, straight to the point and humble.

Besides, the king will take care of these officials . . . I would imagine it would be a long time before anyone tried to trick this king again.

There’s one more word that comes to mind in this demonstration from a wise man’s life.

Legacy

Daniel’s legacy can be traced to the words of two kings who deliver their personal testimony of faith in the true and living God.

Nebuchadnezzar and now Darius both end up testifying, The God of Daniel is the living God and enduring forever, and His kingdom is one which will not be destroyed, and His dominion will be forever.

Cyrus will meet Daniel as well, in the near future, and issue the first of several decrees to allow the Jewish people to leave captivity and return to Jerusalem.

There will be 3 more royal decrees over time in favor of the Jewish return to their land.

Daniel also prophesied a unique and stunning prophecy concerning the coming Messiah.

In chapter 9 Daniel prophesied that when the decree to rebuild the city of Jerusalem began to literally take place, 483 later, the Messiah – the Prince – will arrive.

That famous decree is finally issued by the Persian King Artaxerxes Longimanus.  And in that decree he commissioned a man by the name of Nehemiah to go back and rebuild the city of Jerusalem. / Phillips, p. 169

That royal decree was signed in 445 B.C.  Exactly 483 years later – to the very day – Jesus Christ rode into Jerusalem on an unbroken colt as people shouted Hosanna, blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David.” (Mark 11:10).

They are effectively announcing – the Prince has arrived!

Daniel chapter 9 and verse 25 also prophecies that the Messiah will be cut off suddenly.  In other words, He will die.

Isaiah prophesied the same – and filled in the blanks – he would prophecy that after a few days of riding into Jerusalem, the Messiah would die to pay for the sins of all the sheep who’ve gone astray (Isaiah 53:6).

Daniel actually prepared people to await the coming of the Savior.

Daniel’s legacy would continue for generations, passed down from wise man to wise man until that special moment when the Magi arrived in Jerusalem; wise men still influenced by the legacy of Daniel’s teaching.

Centuries after Daniel died, from the kingdom of the East (Persia), Matthew’s Gospel informs us that a group of Magi appeared in Jerusalem, having traveled for nearly a year, asking, “Where is He who has been born, King of the Jews.”

Where is the Prince of whom Daniel, the Master of the Magi, spoke . . . for we have come to worship Him? (Matthew 2:2)

They were prepared for His coming.  And they were already believers, ready to worship the Prince – their Messiah.

Matthew records they found the house (oikia) where Mary and the Jesus were living.  They weren’t in a stable, they were in a house (2:11).  And Jesus wasn’t a baby either – Matthew calls him a child – a paidion (paidion) – a toddler. 

Jesus would have been, by the time of their arrival at least a year old.

These Magi presented Him with gifts.  Why?  Because they were “king makers” from Persia who had come to crown the Prince as heir to the throne of David.

From whom did they learn to anticipate the coming Prince? 

From a wise man named Daniel whose legacy spanned the Testaments, Old and New; a man who demonstrated wisdom in his personality; his integrity; his consistency; his humility and finally, through his legacy.

With that happy ending you might be tempted to think that after the lions’ den episode, Daniel had it made.  Didn’t every king who came along ended up promoting him?

That’s true.  But remember, Daniel was never allowed by God to return home.  He never went back to the place toward which he prayed – and for the people for whom he prayed, three times a day.  Daniel never went home.

If Daniel had asked, God’s answer was always the same.  Daniels was to stay in the courts of pagan kings, not only providing a model of wisdom, but delivering the truth of a coming Messiah . . . and a coming kingdom.

A kingdom yet to come – an empire led by the Prince of Peace and inhabited by men and women who’s wise hearts still seek Him and claim Him as their true and living Lord – those who have already in their hearts, crowned Him King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

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