Effectiveness Of A Spirit-Filled Life
Dr. Joe Temple

Introduction

Open your Bibles, please, to the book of Daniel, chapter 6. We have come to the halfway mark in our study of the book of Daniel. You will remember that when we brought you the introductory message on this book, we told you that chapters 1 through 6 are historical in that they give the history of Daniel's life throughout the reign of one emperor and two years of the reign of another. We told you that chapters 7 through 12 are prophetical in nature.

Change in Original Language

So you realize as we come to chapter 6 that we have come to the midway point in the book. Likewise, it might be interesting for us to recognize that we have come nearly to the end of the use of one language and are about to begin the use of another language in the book. That is not apparent in our English translation, but for purposes of study, it is important to keep it in mind. Chapters 2 through 7, you will remember, are written in Aramaic; chapters 8 through 12 are written in Hebrew.

A Change in Emphasis

Also, as we come to chapter 6, we come to the end of a period in Daniel's life. You will remember that when we began our discussion of the book, we told you that the first six chapters tell of Daniel's life from the standpoint of faithfulness. He was faithful to God in the midst of every trial. Other things were mentioned in these chapters, but the key word in the first six chapters is the word faithfulness .

When we begin a discussion of chapter 7, we will begin a discussion of the last half of the word faithfulness . The word foresight will be emphasized.

When we come to chapter 6, it would be well for us to remember that in these chapters, we have been noticing the entire lifespan of a man. At the beginning of the book, Daniel was approximately thirteen years of age. When we come to chapter 6, we see not a boy of thirteen, but a man ninety years of age. We have the privilege of looking at his entire lifespan.

Dreaming Dreams

Daniel 2:

37Thou, O king, art a king of kings: for the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory.
38And wheresoever the children of men dwell, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the heaven hath he given into thine hand, and hath made thee ruler over them All. Thou art this head of gold.

In the first six chapters, we have been visiting with Daniel as he has been interpreting the dreams of others, but with chapter 6, that ministry comes to an end. In the portion that begins with chapter 7 and continues through to the end of the book, Daniel will not be interpreting the dreams of others, but will be dreaming dreams for himself and asking God for the interpretation. Then he will convey that interpretation to us.

Typically speaking, as we come to chapter 6, we have passed from one phase of the image of Daniel in chapter 2 to another age. Since the image that is presented to us in chapter 2 constitutes the blueprint of the book of Daniel itself, it might be wise for us to turn back to chapter 2 for a brief glance at the image which is recorded there.

Blueprint of the Ages

You will remember that Nebuchadnezzar had a dream which he immediately forgot. All the soothsayers in Babylon could not remind him of that which he had dreamed. Only Daniel could tell him what he had dreamed and the meaning thereof. You will remember that in Daniel, chapter 2, verse 31, Daniel said to King Nebuchadnezzar:

Daniel 2:

31Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the form thereof was terrible.
32This image's head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass,
33His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay.

This is the description of the image—a head of gold, breast and arms of silver, belly and thighs of brass, legs of iron, feet part of iron and part of clay. Glance at verse 37, as Daniel interprets the image:

Daniel 2:

37Thou, O king, art a king of kings: for the God of heaven hath given thee a kingdom, power, and strength, and glory.
38And wheresoever the children of men dwell, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the heaven hath he given into thine hand, and hath made thee ruler over them All. Thou art this head of gold.

Look at the image again. See the head of gold. The head of gold represented the Babylonian kingdom, with Nebuchadnezzar's reign being paramount. You will remember that in chapter 5 the head of gold was cut off. Nebuchadnezzar's kingdom came to an end in the reign of his grandson, Belshazzar.

The Second World Empire Begins

Look at the image again and recognize that immediately following the head of gold are the breasts and arms of silver. The breasts and the arms of silver are the typical representation of the Medo-Persian Empire, with Darius the Mede as the first emperor of that world-wide empire.

The Babylonian Empire lasted for 65 years and in these first five chapters, we have been covering that period. As we come to chapter 6, the breasts and the arms of silver of the image come into prominence, and the Persian Empire marches across the stage of the world. The first ruler of the Persian Empire, as we noticed in chapter 6, verse 31, was Darius the Mede. In chapter 6, we learned what Darius the Mede accomplished in his brief reign of two years. This is the basis of our present discussion. When Darius the Mede came into power and the Persian Empire became the foremost empire of the world, it created a situation which provides the background of our story.

Deterioration of World Government

Keep in mind that when we were studying the image of Daniel in chapter 2, we told you that the world-wide empires depicted by that image deteriorated as far as their quality and quantity were concerned. One of the things that we noticed particularly was the deterioration in the quality of government. Nebuchadnezzar was an absolute monarch. His word was law. Had he been ruling, the situation described in Daniel, chapter 6, would never have happened.

Darius the Mede was not an absolute monarch. Though Daniel was a very dear friend, when Darius unwisely signed the edict concerning worship, the welfare of Daniel was taken out of his hands. If we are to understand the relationship of the image to the text which is before us, it would be wise for us to notice the evidences of this deterioration in the absolute authority of world emperors:

Daniel 6:

7All the presidents of the kingdom, the governors, and the princes, the counsellers, 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.
8Now, O king, establish the decree, and sign the writing, that it be not changed, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which altereth not.
9Wherefore king Darius signed the writing and the decree.

You will recognize that this was part of a plot to bring about the downfall of Daniel, but you must not interpret the words of these two verses as indicating a request of Darius to the governors and the counselors. If you read it carefully, with the original meaning of the words in mind, you will find that the governors and the counselors had a meeting and decided that this was what was to be done, and they gave the bill which they had passed to Darius for his signature. It was not a request; it was more of an order. “Sign the decree which has been presented to you at this time.”

Limited Power For Darius

Another evidence of the fact that Darius was not an absolute monarch, as was Nebuchadnezzar, and thus provided the problem our friend, Daniel, faced is indicated in the words which are found in verse 14:

Daniel 6:

14Then 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.

What he heard was that Daniel had violated the decree which he had signed. And notice, he was not sore displeased with Daniel. He was sore displeased with himself because he had permitted himself to be tricked by the false information of his counselors and governors. Notice in verse 14:

Daniel 6:

14Then 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.
15Then 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.
16Then 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.

Recognize from these words that Darius did everything he could to spare Daniel from the lions' den, but he was helpless. He was not the absolute monarch that Nebuchadnezzar had been. The governments of the world were beginning to decline. He was at the beck and call of his counselors and his governors.

Plan For Studying Daniel's Test

This is the background for the story of Daniel's test. We want to notice the spiritual and moral lessons of Daniel, chapter 6, for that is a profitable way to study prophecy. After we have discovered the spiritual and moral lessons, we want to notice the prophetic significance of this chapter. We will not be doing justice to this passage if we neglect either approach.

In order that we may have something definite to carry away with us as we consider the spiritual and moral lessons of Daniel, chapter 6, may I suggest to you that this chapter is a perfect illustration of the effectiveness of a Spirit-filled life. I refer to the Spirit-filled life of Daniel as it is presented to us in Daniel, chapter 6, verse 3:

Daniel 6:

3Then 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.

Daniel's Position in the Persian Empire

Get the picture, please, in verse 1. When Darius came to the throne, he divided his kingdom into 120 sections and set as many princes over those sections in order that they might report from a local level the riches of the king and the desires of the people. Over these 120 princes he set three presidents. Daniel was one of them. Daniel was not only made one of the three, but he was preferred above the others. He was what we might refer to today as the Prime Minister of the Persian Empire.

We wonder at this selection. We wonder at this special, preferential honor that was bestowed upon him. As we wonder about it, we might say that Daniel had this position because he was learned, as we found in chapter 1 of the book, in all wisdom and learning of the Chaldeans. That certainly could be true. And we might say that he obtained this position because he was of such great value to Nebuchadnezzar and to Belshazzar, and that could be true. We might say that he obtained this great honor because Darius heard of the manner in which he interpreted the dream of the image, the dream of the tree, and the handwriting on the wall, and realized that wisdom dwelt with this man as it dwelt with no one else.

The Reason For Daniel's High Position

But when we have said that, we still have not touched upon the reason which the Spirit of God gives for Daniel's selection to this high honor. The reason the Spirit of God gives in verse 3 is that there was in Daniel an excellent spirit. If this were written as it should be in our translation, the word Spirit would be capitalized because it is a reference to the Holy Spirit. The reason that Daniel received this high honor was that he was indwelt by the Holy Spirit.

Power of a Spirit-Filled Life

This leads us to suggest to you that in the life of Daniel, we find a perfect illustration of the power of a Spirit-filled life. We would not suggest to you that an individual filled with the Holy Spirit, ignorant of the ways of government, would necessarily make a good person in government as Daniel did. But we would suggest to you that the individual with a knowledge of all the ways of government, without the power of the Holy Spirit, could be no more than the two presidents who are mentioned in this passage of Scripture as subservient to Daniel. There is a difference. If you are accomplished in any manner of life, you would be more accomplished if the Holy Spirit has taken full control of your life.

Persecution of a Spirit-Filled Life

However, such power will not be yours without a price. Such power always evokes envy in the hearts of those who do not have it, and that envy always provokes persecution for those who do enjoy the power of the Holy Spirit. So I see in this paragraph not only the power of a Spirit-filled life, but the persecution of a Spirit-filled life as well. Notice verse 4:

Daniel 6:

4Then 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.
5Then said these men, We shall not find any occasion against this Daniel, except we find it against him concerning the law of his God.

Since they decided they would not find any reason at all as a basis for persecution of this Spirit-filled man unless they found it in his religious life, they immediately started in motion the wheels that resulted in the decree about which we have read. The decree was that no man in all the Persian Empire would be permitted to address prayers to any god or individual other than Darius the Mede for the stated period of time.

When you examine very carefully how it came into being, you will find that the decree had its roots in the envy of these individuals who were jealous of the power of the Spirit-filled life of Daniel. You will find that they did what they did, not in the best interest of the kingdom, nor in the best interest of Darius, nor even in the best interest of their own religion, for they excluded worship of their own gods by this decree. They did what they did with the thought of making things difficult for Daniel.

Peace of a Spirit-Filled Life

That provides another lesson, perhaps the basic lesson of the entire chapter, and one that should stand many of us in good stead as we meditate upon it. In verses 10-23 of this chapter, we have portrayed for us the peace of a Spirit-filled life.

You will remember that in Galatians, chapter 5, the fruit of the Spirit is described as a cluster—love, joy, and peace. Peace happens to be the subject of this particular chapter, and we recognize that the peace which Daniel enjoyed (you cannot read this chapter without recognizing it), the lack of anxiety which was his, was all due to the fact that the Spirit of God Who controlled him was producing the fruit of peace in his life.

Peace Shown By Uninterrupted Prayer Life

This peace becomes evident if we glance at his uninterrupted prayer life. Look at verse 10:

Daniel 6:

10Now 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.

Notice the phrase, “as he did aforetime.” Yes, information came to Daniel that anybody who prayed to any other than Darius for the stated period of time would be cast into the den of lions. But the peace of God ruled supreme in his heart. He was used to praying three times a day in his room before his open window, and he went right on doing it. Had peace not reigned supreme in his heart, immediately he would have tried to determine in what fashion he could pray without being seen and without being heard. But because the peace of God reigned supreme, he made no effort to change his ordinary way of life.

Think with me for a moment. Had Daniel gone to his room upon receiving information concerning this decree and thrown his windows wide open and prayed at the top of his voice in open defiance of the decree, it would not have been an indication of a Spirit-filled life. It would have been an indication of a life controlled by the flesh, for the Holy Spirit never leads an individual openly to defy authority when there is no need for that defiance. The Holy Spirit never leads an individual to show off his religion and his spirituality.

When you find an individual praying in pious tones to emphasize his spirituality, you find an individual who is manifesting the flesh and not the Spirit. When you find an individual who is constantly speaking about his relationship to God and the depths of his spiritual experience, you find an individual who is manifesting the flesh and not the Spirit.

Fear Is Not A Fruit Of The Holy Spirit

On the other hand, if Daniel had gone to his room upon receiving the information concerning this decree and closed his windows tightly and pulled down the shade, he would have been manifesting the flesh equally as strongly as he would have been had he thrown the windows wide open and prayed at the top of his voice. When any individual is driven to submit himself to fear instead of peace, he is not manifesting the fruit of the Holy Spirit.

You are familiar with the words of the Holy Spirit in II Timothy, chapter 1, verse 7, where Paul was encouraging the heart of his son, Timothy, as a time of real testing, and said to him, “God has not given us the spirit of fear; but (He has given us the Spirit) of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”

If there is fear in your heart today, you can rest assured that the Holy Spirit is not controlling your life. For His is not a spirit of fear; it is a spirit of love and of power and of a sound mind.

The Discipline of Daniel's Prayer Life

As we look at Daniel's prayer life as an indication that he had the peace of the Holy Spirit reigning supreme in his life, we are impressed by the discipline of Daniel's prayer life. Did you notice what was recorded here concerning his prayer life? Look at verse 10:

Daniel 6:

10Now 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.

I need not point out that Daniel had a place of prayer, Daniel had a kind of prayer, and Daniel had a posture of prayer. I am not interested in a posture of prayer for posture's sake, for that means absolutely nothing. As far as posture in itself is concerned, I believe it makes no difference whether you stand or sit, whether you kneel or run. But if the posture is indicative of the spirit of your prayer life, as it is quite often, then I am concerned about the posture. Daniel's posture indicated that he not only had a time of prayer and a place of prayer, but it also indicated that his spirit was not one of hurry. His spirit was one of waiting upon the Lord as he prayed.

I am afraid that all too often, because we feel that we should have a prayer habit, we have developed the habit but have lost the spirit. In so doing, we are not more than uttering a few empty words that avail absolutely nothing. May I suggest to you that Daniel's disciplined prayer life was an indication of the presence of the peace of the Spirit of God in his life, for you will remember what we read in II Timothy, chapter 1, verse 7: “God has not given us the spirit of fear; but (He has given us the spirit) of power and of love and of a sound mind.” Those words are the translation of a Greek word which elsewhere is translated discipline . He has given us the spirit of discipline. That does not mean that you cannot claim the promise to which I refer as an anchor for your peace of mind and for your mentality. It merely emphasizes that fact because a mind that is at rest is a disciplined mind. A mind that is at rest is a well ordered mind. The Holy Spirit, indwelling your life, will provide a peace by disciplining your life. If there is not that discipline, there cannot be that peace; and if there is not that peace, there will not be the sound mind that is so essential in these days of confusion in which we live.

Peace Through Obeying God's Word

As we continue to examine Daniel's prayer life as an indication of the peace of mind which was his, I call to your attention that this peace is revealed also in his obedience to the Word of God. Will you notice in verse 10 again:

Daniel 6:

10Now 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.

Notice Daniel's open windows. They were not open because he believed in fresh air. They were not open because the house was too warm. They were open in obedience to the Word of God.

Notice the phrase which modifies the open windows, “open toward Jerusalem.” Turn with me, please, to II Chronicles, chapter 6. You will recognize this chapter as the prayer of dedication which Solomon uttered when he had built the temple, asking God to come down and dwell therein and honor it with His presence. Notice verse 37 as we jump right into the middle of the prayer:

II Chronicles 6:

37Yet if they bethink themselves in the land whither they are carried captive, and turn and pray unto thee in the land of their captivity, saying, We have sinned, we have done amiss, and have dealt wickedly;
38If they return to thee with all their heart and with all their soul in the land of their captivity, whither they have carried them captives, and pray toward their land, which thou gavest unto their fathers, and toward the city which thou hast chosen, and toward the house which I have built for thy name:
39Then hear thou from the heavens, even from thy dwelling place, their prayer and their supplications, and maintain their cause, and forgive thy people which have sinned against thee.

Conditions For Receiving Forgiveness

If we followed this through to its conclusion, we would find that God honored this request of Solomon, and it became the commandment for all Israelites away from home. Whenever they were taken captive, in any land in which they found themselves, they were to open their windows toward their beloved city, Jerusalem, toward the temple which God had honored with His presence, and pray in that direction. God promised that if they would do that, He would forgive their sins and maintain their cause.

Think with me now. If Daniel had closed his window, he would have been disobeying the Word of God. How many of us are willing to disobey the Word of God because of circumstances over which we have no control? We excuse our disobedience of the Word of God by saying that it is out of our hands.

But not Daniel! Daniel was going to obey the Word of God, even if it meant disobeying the laws of men. But did you notice that he did not do it in a panicky fashion? He did not do it with great fear in his heart as though he were trembling with every word he uttered. Boldly, peacefully, he prayed in the same manner he had always prayed.

In this, we see another indication of the peace of the Spirit-filled life. A Spirit-filled life is able to rest its cause with God. The peace of a Spirit-filled life is such that the individual is able, by faith, to leave it to God to maintain his cause.

Perfect Peace Through Believing

Go back with me to Daniel, chapter 6, and notice, by way of contrast, how it was that Daniel believed God and, in believing God, had perfect peace.

Daniel 6:

23Then was the king exceeding glad for him, and commanded that they should take Daniel up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no manner of hurt was found upon him, because he believed in his God.

Why was it that Daniel could be cast into the lions' den and no manner of hurt be found upon him? The cynical individual says, ”Oh, it is simple. The lions had been very well fed before Daniel was cast into the den, and they were not the least bit interested in him.” If that is so, tell me why, when Daniel was taken out of the lions' den and the men who had planned his demise were cast along with their families into the lion's den, the lions broke their bones in pieces before they ever hit the bottom of the den?

No, it wasn't because the lions were not hungry. It was simply because Daniel believed God. How did that effect his security? In Hebrews, chapter 11, verse 33, which is a commentary on Daniel, chapter 6, the Spirit of God reminds us that by faith the lions' mouths were closed. Because Daniel believed God, then, we learn as we glance at verse 22:

Daniel 6:

22My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions' mouths, that they have not hurt me: forasmuch as before him innocency was found in me; and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt.

Daniel didn't know what would happen, but he did know that something would happen. In response to his faith, God beckoned an angel from Heaven to go down to the kingdom of Persia to enter the lions' den and to close the mouths of the lions, that Daniel might have no harm.

No Peace In A Palace

What was Darius doing while Daniel was in the lions' den? You say, “Oh, he was in the palace, and we are sure that he was getting along very nicely.” This was not the case. Look at verse 18, after Daniel was put in the lions' den:

Daniel 6:

18Then 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.
19Then the king arose very early in the morning, and went in haste unto the den of lions.

What was the condition of the king in the palace? He was awake all night long. He had no peace all night long. There was no peace in the palace. But what a difference in the den of the lions!

Have you ever wondered why the king had to cry so loud and so many times for Daniel when he went to the lions' den early in the morning? He did, you know:

Daniel 6:

20And 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?

The implication of the text is that it was one cry after another with a loud and sorrowful voice. Why? I am of the opinion, though we are not told so in the text, that Daniel was asleep, and because he was asleep, Darius had to call loud and long.

The Peace of Being Controlled By The Spirit

How could a man in a lions' den sleep when a man in a palace could not? The difference lay in the occupancy of the Holy Spirit in the life of the individual. Daniel was filled with the Holy Spirit and Darius was not. That made the difference. We are able to see, then, the evidence of a Spirit-filled life in the peace that Daniel manifested in a trying circumstance. Do you have that peace?

One other thought I would leave with you is what is suggested to us in verse 28 of this chapter. It is other evidence of the Spirit-filled life of Daniel. That Daniel's life was Spirit-filled is indicated by the manner in which God prospered him. We read in verse 28:

Daniel 6:

28So this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius, and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian.

Darius reigned but two years. Cyrus defeated him, but God prospered Daniel, not only in the reign of Darius, but in the reign of Cyrus as well. Once again, I do not believe that He prospered him because of his ability. I believe He prospered him because he was yielded to the Holy Spirit of God.

The Secret of Success

I would say to you that if you want to be a physician, study and gain all the knowledge you can, and you will be a physician. But you may be an ordinary one. If, after you have gained all the knowledge that you can, you yield yourself to the Holy Spirit, or perhaps more accurately, you yield yourself to the Holy Spirit as you gain the knowledge, you will be an extraordinary physician.

If time permitted, we could talk to you about every walk of life. The same application could be made, for the man who is Spirit-filled is the man who exceeds his companions in anything that he does.


Home Contact Us Bible Studies Books King James
Abilene Bible Church Living Bible Studies
Dr. Daiqing Yuan Tim Temple Dr. Joe Temple
Some icons on this site used courtesy FatCow Web Hosting

www.livingbiblestudies.org