Darius, the new king of Babylon, appointed Daniel as one of his commissioners in his kingdom.
This is the well-known Daniel of Scripture. And, more specifically, this is about Daniel in the Lion’s Den (Chapter 6 of Daniel).
Daniel had extraordinary favor not only with God, but also with Darius. So much so that the king was going to appoint him over all the commissioners and satraps in the kingdom!
We learn in previous chapters of the book of Daniel that he was handsome, wise, and respected by many. But in this part of his story, there was much jealousy rising up in some of his peers.
Then the commissioners and satraps began trying to find a ground of accusation against Daniel in regard to government affairs; but they could find no ground of accusation or corruption, inasmuch as he was faithful, and no negligence or corruption was to be found in him. (Daniel 6:4)
So these evil men went to the king and appealed to the king’s ego. They wanted Darius to invoke a 30-day order.
This written order stated that anyone who made petitions to any person or god besides the king would be thrown into the lion’s den. And, of course, Daniel was caught praying to God and so was cast into the den.
The king, greatly distressed, spent the whole night sleepless and fasting until dawn. When he arrived at the den the next morning, Daniel was still alive!
God had sent His angel to protect Daniel from harm. And once finding Daniel unharmed, the king ordered Daniel’s accusers and their families into the den.
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. (Daniel 6:24)
Pleasing & Good
I was greatly disturbed that the men’s wives and children were also cast into the den. I asked God, “Why would You allow them to die for the sins of their fathers?”
God led me to read Daniel 6:1 again:
It pleased Darius to appoint 120 satraps to rule throughout the kingdom, (Daniel 6:1)
Other translations read ‘it seemed good to Darius’ in the place of ‘it pleased Darius’. So we get the idea that Darius found his decision to appoint commissioners and satraps to be pleasing and good.
It all made sense to me now. I had recently read the book Good or God?: Why Good Without God Isn’t Enough by John Bevere, discussing this very topic of pleasing and good.
Evaluating Good Without God
In particular, this book explains how Adam and Eve evaluated good without God. They saw knowledge as good, and therefore, became tempted by Satan and disobeyed God’s command.
The result: all of humanity is born into sin thereafter. I could see the same scenario unfolding with Darius in that he saw his decision as pleasing and good.
Where was God in this decision? Darius believed it was good to appoint these men in his kingdom without asking God.
And what happened? Darius appointed evil, jealous, and scheming men to be in charge.
And rather than Darius taking ownership of his sin that started it all, he kept on sinning by ordering these men and their families to their deaths. I find it necessary, at this point, to compare this king to the King of Kings, Jesus Christ.
Seeking His Good
Jesus, in complete contrast, took all of our sins upon Himself. When He had no cause to take ownership of our Godless evaluations of good, He still did.
He could have cast us into the ‘spiritual lion’s den’, but instead cast Himself into it. What an amazing God!
So even though those innocent women and children saw a horrible death, the truth is that God allows us to make our own choices. He gives us free will to determine good as He sees it or as we see it.
This is a tragic example of the consequences of good without God. And so I leave you with this question: What ‘good things’ are you doing without God’s approval?
Because good without God is not good at all. For further revealing truths on this topic, I highly recommend this book:
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