“I’m amazed and delighted at how well your precincts are complying with the new tax laws being imposed on them, Daniel. I usually get some skimming from those in charge. What makes you so different from the others?” Darius sat forward on his throne.
Daniel shrugged. “My God won’t allow me to take what doesn’t belong to me. It’s one of our basic laws.”
The king sat back and smiled. “I should make you the top administrator of this government. I’ve never met a man like you in all the world.”
A few days later a group of government officials assembled before King Darius.
One of the satraps stepped forward and bowed. “Live forever, King Darius. We come before you to offer a suggestion for a way to celebrate the one year anniversary of your conquest of Babylon. May the king sign a declaration forbidding anyone from making petition to any god or man, other than you O king for the next thirty days. Any offender will be thrown into a den of lions.”
Darius looked at all the smiling faces. He sat back and smiled, too. “Bring me the parchment. I shall make an edict that cannot be revoked according to the laws of the Medes and Persians.”
A cheer arose when the paper was signed and sealed with the king’s signet ring.
Two days later some of the administrators were in front of Darius again. “We have found one of the captives of Judah who has no respect for you or your laws, oh mighty king. We observed Daniel praying three times yesterday with his window facing Jerusalem in outright contempt for the decree you signed recently.”
Darius slammed his fist on the arm of his throne.
The minute of silence was broken by a satrap. “The laws of the Medes and Persians cannot be revoked. Daniel must be thrown in the lions’ den by this evening.”
Darius pointed at the door. “Leave me!”
He spent the remainder of the day with his secretary of state. “Can I write another decree over-riding the first one to make exception for captives of foreign peoples?”
The secretary shook his head. “I’m afraid that would be a direct violation of the laws of the Medes and Persians, your highness.”
Darius paced. “Can I send Daniel on government business for the next month until this edict is dated out?”
“That would be too obvious now that you know of his offense. He should be under arrest to assure he doesn’t run.”
“He’s too honest and trustworthy. That’s why they had me set this trap for him. They knew he wouldn’t keep it.”
As the sun neared the horizon a knock came to Darius’ door. The door opened to show the government officials all standing there, including Daniel.
Darius swallowed. “To the lions’ den with you, Daniel.”
Daniel leaned toward the king as they approached the enclosure. “I’m ready to die, my king. I’ve lived a good long life. My God can save me if He pleases. My life is in His hands not yours.”
They lowered Daniel into the pit. Darius leaned over and looked at the captive. “May your God save you, Daniel.”
The stone was rolled over the hole and sealed with wax so signet rings could be embedded in it to assure nobody tampered with the obstruction.
As Darius left he raised his hand. “Release the lions.”
At the first sign of morning light Darius raced to his secretary of state’s room. “Come, quickly. We must check on Daniel.”
The secretary shook his head. “Do you want a section of leg bone as a souvenir of the old man, or what? There’s nothing left of him by now.”
Darius tossed a robe on the bed. “Hurry up. I need verification I didn’t tamper with the stone.”
An eerie silence filled the chamber of the lions.
Darius raced to the stone. “Daniel, has your God saved you from the lions?”
“King Darius, live forever. God sent an angel to shut their mouths. I’m fine.”
Darius pointed at the undisturbed wax and made sure his secretary was looking at it. He faced a guard. “Remove the stone and release Daniel.”
A lion shook out his mane as he watched Daniel being lifted out of the den.
Darius inspected him. “Not even a scratch. Bring the families of the men who had me sign that edict. I’m making another proclamation now.”
After Darius fed the lions a hearty breakfast of the families who trapped him into writing the first decree he wrote another that was sent throughout his entire realm. “All people will worship the true God of Daniel who is able to save a man from lions.”
Pride is a stealthy predator. It’s vice-like grip holds the heart of many in power. No matter what version of the Bible I read it doesn’t sound like it took much coaxing to get Darius to write the decree that sent Daniel to the lions’ den.
Those government officials knew the exact string to pull to get the law in their favor and put an end to this man of God who threatened to put an end to their dis-honest ways.
Darius was cornered in their trap before he knew what hit him. And Daniel didn’t take long to spring the trap.
I think Darius learned a lesson about quickly giving in to other people’s ideas about how to conduct his government.
Have you learned a similar lesson in your life? No, you likely don’t run a government, but perhaps you’ve insisted on something in your family that’s a detriment to one or more members.
Prayerfully consider lightening up enough to show grace in the circumstance you’re in. You have that power available to you. It’s not about your prideful right to be right. It should be about displaying God’s love to a confused, hurting soul.
Perfection was only lived out in one life. Jesus didn’t condemn the hurting in His day.
Why should you?
I’ll see you later. Wade