A Timeless Tactic

“High officials . . . came by agreement to the king and said to him, ‘O King Darius, live forever!’”—Daniel 6:6 (ESV)

If you didn’t know better, you might think these officials are some pretty solid guys. King Darius certainly thought so, as they come before him, pronounce a blessing on him, and then suggest an unprecedented way of honoring him: “The king should establish an ordinance and enforce an injunction, that whoever makes petition to any god or man for thirty days, except to you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions. Now, O king, establish the injunction and sign the document . . .” (Daniel 6:7-8 ESV).

What king wouldn’t want these guys around? They so admire and revere him that they propose a law that everyone worship him, and him alone, for thirty days! And they’re so serious about this that they propose the death penalty for anyone who doesn’t fully obey it. He just needs to sign what they’re written and it’s done! Total and uncontested obedience. It sounded good to Darius, so he signs the proposal into an unbreakable law: “Therefore King Darius signed the document and injunction” (Daniel 6:9 ESV).

There’s just one problem. This proposal was concocted, not out of respect for Darius, but out of hatred for Daniel. All these officials are bent on getting rid of Daniel because King Darius favored him over them. Knowing they could use Daniel’s devotion to his God against him, they devise this catch-22 by appealing to Darius’ pride, and in an ironic twist, they make him Daniel’s executioner!

What happens next is legendary, even by biblical standards. But before moving on, we need to see an important parallel between Daniel’s adversaries and our ultimate adversary, the Devil.

Don’t miss the deception involved here. Daniel’s enemies operate in secrecy, not in the open. They need to deceive the king, pointing his focus and attention in another direction in order to achieve their objective. And they certainly don’t let him in on the eventual consequences of his actions.

This is such a mirror image of Satan’s timeless tactic towards us. He doesn’t announce his agenda but disguises it as something else. He won’t point us to the truth but divert our spiritual focus from the truth. And he definitely won’t reveal the consequences of going along with his proposals.

How do we steer clear of the enemy’s strategies? By staying connected to what’s true, which is the Word of God and the Spirit of God. When the Word and Spirit are active in our lives, we won’t fall for the Devil’s deceptions.

DIG: What parallel can we draw between Daniel’s adversaries and ours?

DISCOVER: When have you personally witnessed this tactic?

DO: What are some ways you can counter this tactic by being more connected to God’s truth?