November 27, 2020
At the king’s command, the men who had falsely accused Daniel were brought in and thrown into the lions’ den, along with their wives and children. And before they reached the floor of the den, the lions overpowered them and crushed all their bones.
We’ve skipped a huge part of this story. In fact, we skipped the whole “lion’s den” part of “Daniel in the lion’s den”. But we want to stay focused on the theme so far this week: flattery. Remember our verse from Proverbs from Monday and Wednesday?
Those who flatter their neighbors are spreading nets for their feet.
Depending on the version of the Bible you are reading, that Proverb might instead read
A man who flatters his neighbor spreads a net for his own feet.
Here we see the final result of those who engage in flattery. At its most basic level, flattery is deceit. Deceitfulness always, always turns back against us in the end. In our story, God preserves Daniel’s life, and the false accusers were given punishment instead. For us, there is both a blessing, and a warning.
The blessing is this: we do not need to bring the deceitful to justice. We should speak truth and defend ourselves from slander. But we do not need to bring justice. Lies will eventually turn back against the liar, and justice will be done.
Similarly, the warning is this: you cannot use flattery to escape consequences or shortcut success. It will eventually backfire. I wish we had several more weeks to cover some of the other parts of this story – like God’s faithfulness, power, and protection. But for now, let me leave you with a few questions to ask yourself.
In what ways am I letting deceit into my life? Am I giving flattery in the hope of favor? Am I susceptible to flattery because of insecurity or ignorance? In either case, be reminded that God is the God of truth, and will help you see it when you ask. If you find yourself ensnared by flattery, either as the giver or the receiver, pray for the light of truth to shine brightly in your mind and heart this week.