“I issue a decree that in every part of my kingdom people must fear and reverence the God of Daniel. For he is the living God and he endures forever; his kingdom will not be destroyed, his dominion will never end. He rescues and he saves; he performs signs and wonders in the heavens and on the earth. He has rescued Daniel from the power of the lions.” (Daniel 6:26-27)
The context of today’s passage is what makes it remarkable and worthy of particular attention. Not long after King Darius issued a decree that “anyone who prays to any god or human being” other than him would be thrown into the lion’s den (Daniel 6:7), here he is commanding that all his people must fear and revere “the God of Daniel” (Daniel 6:26).
What led to this extraordinary change? Most obviously, the miracle of God protecting Daniel from the man-eating lions. But as I hope you’ve seen throughout this series, there’s a second miracle that likely led to Darius’s conversion, and that is the miracle of Daniel’s exceptional work.
As we saw a few weeks ago, one of King Darius’s predecessors found Daniel “ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in his whole kingdom,” and thus drafted Daniel into the king’s service—his first job at the palace when he was just a teenager (see Daniel 1).
Roughly five decades later, it seems as if King Darius shared the same opinion of Daniel. In Daniel 6:3 we learn that “Daniel so distinguished himself among the administrators and the satraps by his exceptional qualities that [King Darius] planned to set him over the whole kingdom.”
So distinguished was Daniel that when he disobeyed King Darius’s law, the king was “distressed…he was determined to rescue Daniel and made every effort until sundown to save him” (Daniel 6:14).
It’s pretty remarkable to see a king fighting this hard to save a servant who broke his own law. After all, the king had 120 other administrators in his service (see Daniel 6:1). But something was different about Daniel. So exceptional was Daniel’s work that the king made a fool of himself fighting to save Daniel’s life.
One of the most notable characteristics of Netflix’s company culture is what they call “The Keeper Test.” In an effort to keep their “talent density” high, Netflix managers are encouraged to consider whether or not they would fight to keep a member of their team if that team member were to quit tomorrow.
Today’s passage shows us that Daniel is the ultimate passer of The Keeper Test. It also serves as a beautiful reminder of how the ministry of excellence can be used to lead unbelievers like King Darius to the Lord.
Here’s my question for you as we close out this series: Would you pass The Keeper Test in your work? Would your boss, customers, or investors fight as hard as Darius fought for Daniel if they knew your demise was at hand? If so, press on, being encouraged by Daniel’s example that excellent work can lead people to a knowledge of the one true God!