Distressed and Rotting

“Hearing this, the king was deeply troubled, and he tried to think of a way to save Daniel. He spent the rest of the day looking for a way to get Daniel out of this predicament.”— Daniel 6:14 (NLT)

Have you ever heard something so upsetting and heartbreaking that it caused you great stress, all the way down to the depths of your soul? I’ve definitely experienced this a time or two.

It’s the same feeling King Darius felt knowing his most trusted official, a man he was deeply fond of and had great respect for, Daniel, would be thrown into a den of lions to meet a gruesome, horrific death. In the original language, deeply troubled literally translates as “to be rotten.” Darius felt a “rottenness in his bones.” In other words, it made him sick to his very core, so much so that he did everything he could, spent hours upon hours trying to find a loophole, an exception, any little inkling of hope, to save Daniel.

Now, the question is why? Why would this pagan king who inherited Daniel from a previous regime, from an enslaved and captive people, be so deeply upset in his soul that he would try so hard to save him? Well, I truly believe it’s because when Darius was around Daniel, he absolutely felt the presence of the living God. I believe Daniel must have been a truly irresistible person to be around because he lived with conviction and in such great devotion to God. He was so faithful and above reproach in both his professional and personal life, so surrendered and filled with the Spirit, that people couldn’t help but be drawn to him.

People saw the true heart and character of God in the actions, attitude, words, and work of this man. This is exactly what happened with Jesus! And just like Jesus, the only people who weren’t drawn to Him were those who felt threatened by Him. With Jesus, it was the Pharisees, the religious leaders whom Jesus regularly called out for their hypocrisy and evil deeds. With Daniel, it was the other leaders and administrators who were jealous of Daniel and his position with Darius, and likely filled with animosity toward him because he did his job with honor and integrity, where clearly they didn’t.

What’s the lesson for us? While there will always be opposition and plots against us fueled by the enemy, when we faithfully live above reproach, in surrender and devotion to our Lord Jesus, when our lives act as living epistles that demonstrate the grace and love of our God, people will be drawn to us! Like a magnet, the Holy Spirit will draw people to us so He can lead people to the Father! I pray that we could all seek to follow Daniel’s example and live with conviction, above reproach, “so that in every way they will make the teaching about God our Savior attractive” (Titus 2:10 NIV).

DIG: Why do some in the world seek to harm, discredit, and even destroy the lives of faithful believers?

DISCOVER: What steps can you take in your life today to follow Daniel’s life example?

DO: Today, as we did earlier in this series, let’s commit to praying for believers who are being persecuted.