The Price of Evaluating Good Without God || Join me as God reveals a new take on Daniel and the Lion's Den, and the price we pay for evaluating good without God's wisdom and approval...

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!

good without: appointing Daniel

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)

Invoking Evil

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.

good without: lion's 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)

good without: seems pleasing and good

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.

good without: evaluating good without 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.

good without: we can choose

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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Post Question: Have you been evaluating good without God? Comment below!



  1. Usually the wives and children had the same orientation against God as the husbands and fathers, since the men in that day and age set the direction of the home. If the man was idolatrous, the women and children were, too. On the flip side, when the man accepted Christ, the whole family often got converted for real, and the Holy Spirit fell on all of them.

    • It’s still saddening, though, to think that even the king was idolatrous and never paid the same price as these idolatrous men and their families. An unrighteous man with an unrighteous judgement.

  2. This book has been on my list to read, so I was delighted to read your review. {I’m in the middle of Girls Without Swords by Lisa Bevere, his wife. (Their books are great.) } – Paul’s exhortation to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, in light of this, makes further sense; everything we do or say, hear or see, must be filtered through the lense of God’s word. Walking in the Spirit, we must ask what does He say about it? What’s His opinion on the matter? I’m not so interested in living a good life; I’m interested in living an amazing God-life!

    • An amazing-God life is a great way to put it! We need to understand that seeking Him for everything will only provide more freedom for us instead of less. Is that your favorite book of hers? I am looking for a one of her books to read, but haven’t read any of hers yet. Any recommendations would be great!

  3. I don’t think that God signed off on that particular decision either. Sometimes cultural practices are mentioned in the Bible and we assume that God endorsed it, but He doesn’t, necessarily.

    • So true, Alice! An example would be that we clearly know that God directed the Israelites to spare no Canaanite in the Promised Land because of their idolatrous and sinful people, but here, in Daniel Chapter 6, Scripture never mentions anything about God directing the slaughter of those individuals!

  4. I definitely wonder how often I make decision without even thinking about asking God. I need to get better at having a mind that dwells on the Spirit so I don’t make decisions based on “earthly” wisdom.

    • I have that same struggle, Emily! I often zone-out with the amount of decisions that I need to make during my day, and then I realize that most of them did not include God and His will for me. Thankfully, I can always start the next day over and ask for His protection from straying from Him, as well as His insight on all matters. Thanks for being honest, Emily!

  5. It is always best to seek God before making any kind of decisions, but so often our flesh takes over and we fail at doing this. I think we all struggle to some degree. I am just thankful that God is always there to pick me up, dust me off and put me on the right path.

    • Absolutely, Keisha! It’s a relief knowing that we can easily begin again. And all it takes is us being aware of our decision-making that is without God, and to take the necessary steps to make things right with Him.

  6. It’s a good reminder that what the world considers “good” may not be what God considers good. In light of politics and discussions about immigration, marriage policies, and taxes, we’d be wise to remember this story and ask God to reveal His wisdom in these matters instead of what seems good to us.


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