November 25, 2020
Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before. Then these men went as a group and found Daniel praying and asking God for help. So they went to the king and spoke to him about his royal decree: “Did you not publish a decree that during the next thirty days anyone who prays to any god or human being except to you, Your Majesty, would be thrown into the lions’ den?”
The king answered, “The decree stands—in accordance with the law of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be repealed.”
Then they said to the king, “Daniel, who is one of the exiles from Judah, pays no attention to you, Your Majesty, or to the decree you put in writing. He still prays three times a day.” When the king heard this, he was greatly distressed; he was determined to rescue Daniel and made every effort until sundown to save him.
Remember the verse from Proverbs we referenced on Monday?
Those who flatter their neighbors are spreading nets for their feet.
In the first verses of this chapter, we saw the administrators and satraps of Babylon lay a foundation of flattery for King Darius. In the next several verses of Daniel 6, we see that they have sprung the trap, and the king is ensnared. They knew Daniel would not obey the order to only pray to the king, so as soon as the law went into effect, those sneaky satraps went spying on Daniel and caught him in the act.
They tattle to the king, who is greatly distressed and begins making every effort to disentangle himself from the web of deceit. His efforts, however, are ineffective. But if you read these verses again, you can see one person in the story who is not distressed at the turn of events. And in contrast to the king, he doesn’t seem to feel like he has been caught in a trap. Daniel, after learning of the new decree, does what he has always done. He goes to his room to give thanks to God and to ask him for help. His windows are open, and his actions are void of manipulation or deceit.
How about you? Where do you see yourself in this story? I’d like to think I’m like Daniel – but often I operate as the king or the satraps. I try to use my own efforts, ideas, and machinations to see my will be done. The satraps tried to advance their political careers through trickery. The king tried to save his most competent administrator using his power and position. But Daniel did not rely on his own wisdom. He merely put himself, day after day, in the will of God. In doing so, he avoided all the pitfalls of the other two characters in the story. And so can you. You don’t have to be smarter than the manipulators or quicker than the deceitful. God is already that, and so much more. By relying on his wisdom, guidance, and authority, you can effectively sidestep the nets laid for you.