Sermon:  Continuing in the Midst of an Upheaval


Summary:  Life is uncertain and full of huge transitions and upheavals.  Because we know that it is God who ultimately rules in and through all of these things, we continue to serve those over us with integrity, knowing that God is over all, and are therefore loyal to God above all else, continuing to trust in him through all things.  These things continue as a constant in our lives, regardless of our circumstances.


Text:  Dan 5:30 – 6:28


Scripture Reading:  1 Pet 2:13-17



1.      Children’s Song – Daniel in the Lion’s Den

a.      Come to most well known story in Daniel

b.      Ask kids what they know about Daniel?  Lion’s Den

c.      Not sure why we think of this as children’s story

d.      It is a weighty message

2.      Background

a.      5:30 – Belshazzar was killed, and Darius the Mede received the kingdom, being about 62 years old – Regime change

b.      Daniel is old man.  Has lived under three different flags!

                                                     i.          First, lived as Israelite under an Israelite flag

                                                    ii.          Then, lived as Jew under Babylonian flag

                                                   iii.          Then, lived as a Person under a Persian Flag

3.      Archaeologist and historians have pieced together the story of Babylon’s fall.  And it was pitiful

a.      Not like Assyrian’s fall to Nebuchadnezzar.  Assyria had to move capital twice, and Nebuchadnezzar crushed them

                                                     i.          But Babylon went out with barely a whimper

                                                    ii.          It took only two weeks for the Persians to enter in and take Babylon.

                                                   iii.          Unheard of.  Would have expected a siege for years

b.      Babylon seemed impregnable. – thick wall, food for years, water supply from river that ran under the wall

                                                     i.          Cyrus diverted part of the Euphrates, which caused water level to go down, entered Babylon by night under wall

                                                    ii.          City not in battle mode, they were having a party!

                                                   iii.          City did not even realize that Persians had entered in

                                                   iv.          Some noticed Persians, and tried to shout warning, but Persians started to shout party sounds, drown them out

c.      Finally found the king, in party mode, and killed him

                                                     i.          Some accounts say that some Babylonians welcomed them as liberators. 

                                                    ii.          Obviously, many Babylonians unhappy with their king

d.      The Babylonian flag was lowered, and Persian flag raised

4.      This is a reminder that upheavals are part of life on this earth

a.      Think about Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of the statue

b.      We will go through upheavals – Not just govt, but personal, financial, health, loss of loved one, etc.

c.      What do God’s people do in times of upheavals? – Major Message of Daniel – “The Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he wills.”

d.      Through times of upheaval, this text reminds us that we need to continue…


I.     Continue to serve those over you with integrity (6:1-4)

A.   No matter whose flag was flying in the capital, Daniel served with integrity

B.   Notice Daniel’s character

1.    He was one of three to oversee the Kingdom’s 120 Satraps

a.    They were to give an accounting to Daniel and the other two

b.    Purpose – “So that the king might suffer no loss”

c.    Daniel obvious did not take bribes, trustworthy with money and resources

2.    His “excellent spirit” distinguished him, so the King Planned to promote him to be in charge of everything

3.    Those jealous of Daniel tried to find something to create a scandal

a.    Could not find any ground for complaint

b.    Could not find any fault in him

c.    He was faithful, no error found in him

C.   ILL:  This is not unusual.  Still happens today

1.    If successful, godly, integrity

2.    Someone will always try to find dirt on someone like that

3.    Jesus warned that world hated him, so world will hate you

a.    They tried to find dirt on Jesus

b.    Had to go through a lot of underhanded manipulation to accused Jesus

D.   Text is reminder – Continue to serve with integrity

1.    Doesn’t matter if a new flag is flying on the capital

2.    Doesn’t matter if there are unsavory people out to get you – Don’t sink to their level

3.    Remember -  “The Most High rules the kingdom of men, and gives it to whom he wills.”

4.    Serve with integrity, don’t get ruffled.  God is in charge.


II.   Continue to put God First (6:5-18)

A.   While Daniel served with integrity, he never compromised his loyalty to his God

B.   Daniel’s enemies would try and use this against him

1.    Make it against the law to petition anyone but the king for 30 days

a.    Why only 30 days?  People with their gods not accept permanent law

b.    Darius may have agreed to this as new king to solidify his rule?

2.    Why did they think this would work against Daniel?

a.    Because they KNEW what Daniel would do

b.    This says something about Daniel.  He was known to be loyal to his God in all circumstances

3.    Notice Daniels reaction to the new law?

a.    Notice what Daniel did NOT do

i.      Did not debate what he would do, or anguish over it

ii.     Did not say – It’s just 30 days, I can stop for 30 days

b.    Without hesitation, he continued his prayer routine with God

i.      Opened the window towards Jerusalem (which was in ruins)

ii.     Prayed and “gave thanks” to God, as he had done previously

c.    What does this reveal about Daniel?

i.      Even though temple and Jerusalem in ruins, Daniel knows that God rules over the kingdom of men, and gives it to whom he wills

ii.     He “gave thanks” as he probably always did.  Shows faith in God

iii.    Choice between the law and God, God wins

d.    Why? Daniel knows that “God rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he wills

4.    The King is distressed by the whole thing

a.    He valued Daniel.  Daniel’s loyalty to God never an issue for the king

b.    He tried all day to figure out how to get Daniel out of it

c.    But, those who painted him in a corner, reminded him not even king is above the law

d.    So, as he put Daniel in the lions Den, he said, “May your God, whom you serve continually, deliver you.”

i.      Amazing – Darius declaring he does not have power to save Daniel

ii.     But, your God whom your continually serve can!

C.   ILL:  I was reading about Christianity in North Korea

1.    Has a long history.  Was a huge revival in PyongYang beginning of 20th century.  More Christians in the north than south

2.    Under oppressive regime of Kim Ill Sung, Kim Jong Il, and Kim Jong Un, Christianity became illegal

a.    Christianity never went away

b.    Estimated that there are 300,000 - 500,000 Christians in secret house churches

c.    50,000 – 70,000 Christians are suffering in North Korean prisons

3.    Read story about North Korean Christian lady, called “Bae” (not real name)

a.    She and her husband life sentence when authorities discovered they had a Bible

b.    In the prison village, every morning, subjected to back breaking labor in the fields, near starvation

c.    At night, she gathers with handful of other Christians for worship and prayer

d.    Once escaped to China and stayed with other Christians, but returned to North Korea with food, medicine, and Bible

4.    I am challenged by Christians who when faced with choice of breaking the law or being faithful to God – choose God without hesitation

D.   What would you do if it became illegal to engage in a Christian practice?

1.    Could be any number of things:

a.    You are not allowed to teach your own children

b.    You must accept alternative lifestyles

c.    You cannot preach on certain sins

d.    You can probably think of other plausible things for this list

2.    No question.  It’s not even a choice, choice already made – God first

3.    Doesn’t mean I am loud and disrespectful,

a.    Daniel wasn’t disrespectful even when he had to disobey men in order to obey God

b.    Disciples weren’t disrespectful either – Said with respect, “We must obey God rather than men.”

4.    Why?  Because we know that “God rules the kingdom of men and sets over it whom he will.”


III.  Continue to Trust God in All Circumstances (6:19-24, v.23)

A.   There is no indication that Daniel stopped trusting God

B.   Can you imagine Darius’ reaction when he heard Daniel’s voice?

1.    O King Live forever, God sent his angel and shut the lion’s mouths

2.    Why?  I was blameless before…. HIM (God)

a.    That is what matters above all else to Daniel

b.    Technically, he broke the law of the land, but was faithful to God

3.    Oh, and also, I have done you no harm, O King

4.    Knowing that he was manipulated, Darius had them thrown in the lions den

a.    Lions pounced on them before they even hit the bottom

b.    Shows that the reason they didn’t attack Daniel was not because they were tame, but because God stopped them!

C.   Trusting God does not mean he will do this every time

1.    Reminder of chapter 3, with Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah

2.    (Dan 3:17-18) our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king.[d] 18 But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”

a.    They knew that God was able, but he might choose not to

b.    Either way, they will not bow down to the statue

c.    They are loyal to God

3.    Notice the similarities?

a.    This time it is a written law prohibiting everyone from petitioning their God

b.    Daniel was not going to stop, not for 30 days, not for 1 day

c.    Was it possible God did not deliver Daniel from the lions?  Yes

d.    But like Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, Daniel remained loyal

4.    Trusting God means – Being faithful even in the face of death

a.    Trust and faithfulness goes hand in hand

b.    Does not mean God will deliver you from death

c.    But it does mean God will deliver your soul

D.   So – in Babylon, and now Persia, God’s people continue to trust God

1.    Even when the governing authority requires them to worship the statue

2.    Even when the governing authority prohibits them from praying to God

3.    Not going to make me do what I cannot, nor stop me from doing what I should!

4.    Why?  Because I trust God – “The Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will”


IV. Continue to Glorify God (6:25-28)

A.   Daniel was always careful to give glory to God

B.   That is why everyone knew that it was Daniel’s God who watched over him and made him successful

C.   Notice the extraordinary things Darius says about Daniel’s God

1.    He is the living God

2.    His kingdom shall never be destroyed

3.    He delivers and rescues – Darius could rescue Daniel, but God did

4.    He works signs and wonders

D.   Whether we are marginalized, persecuted, or we stand out due to integrity, God is glorified in us



1.     Have you dealt with any upheavals in your life? 

a.    1 Jn 2:17 – The world is passing away

b.    Heb 1:10 - “You, Lord, laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning, and the heavens are the work of your hands; 11 they will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment,,12 like a robe you will roll them up, like a garment they will be changed.[a] But you are the same, and your years will have no end.”

c.    2nd Verse of Abide with Me - Swift to its close ebbs out life's little day Earth's joys grow dim, its glories pass away Change and decay in all around I see O Thou who changest not, abide with me

d.    Reminds us that everything is dying – our bodies, houses, countries

2.    Jesus said Jn 10:10, I have come that they may have life, and have it abundantly (inv)

3.    If you have obeyed, then remember, in the midst of the upheavals of life, we continue – serve with integrity, put God first, trust and glorify God

4.    Why? Because God rules the kingdom of men and sets over it whom he will