Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“Spread for me a banquet of praise,
Serve High God a feast of kept promises.
And call for help when you’re in trouble –
I’ll help you, and you’ll honor me.”
Psalm 50: 14, 15
The Message Bible
“Once in an Eastern palace wide
A little child sat weaving;
So patiently her task she plied,
The men and women at her side
Flocked around her almost grieving.
‘How is it, little one,’ they said,
‘You always work so cheerily?
You never seem to break your thread,
Or snare or tangle it, instead
working smooth and clearly.’
‘I only go and tell the King,’
she said, abashed and meekly;
‘You know He said, In everything.’
‘Why so do we!’ they cried, ‘We bring
Him all our troubles weekly.’
She turned her little head aside;
A moment let them wrangle;
‘Ah, but,’ she softly then replied,
‘I go and get the knot untied
At the first little tangle!’”
“The story is told of a textile factory in which was found this sign on the wall over each machine: “If your threads get tangled, send for the foreman.’ A new employee went to work and soon the threads became badly tangled. The more she sought to untangle them, the more helpless she became. By and by in desperation, after wasting a lot of time, she did call for help. When the foreman came he asked her why she had not sent for him earlier. She replied in self-defense, ‘I did my best!’ He answered with a smile, ‘Remember, doing your best is sending for me.’”
Mrs. Charles A Cowman
Streams in the Desert
Today’s Study Text:
“Then these men assembled, and found Daniel praying and making supplication before his God. Then they came near, and spake before the king concerning the king’s decree; ‘Hast thou not signed a decree, that every man that shall ask a petition of any God or man within thirty days, save of thee, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions?’ The king answered and said, ‘The thing is true, according to the law of the Medes and Persians which altereth not.’ Then answered they and said before the king, ‘That Daniel, which is of the children of the captivity of Judah, regardeth not thee, O king, nor the decree that thou hast signed, but maketh his petition three times a day’…then these men assembled unto the king, and said unto the king, ‘Know, O king, that the law of the Medes and Persians is that no decree nor statute which the king established may be changed’” (Daniel 6: 11-13, 15, K.J.V.).
“Earthly Power Versus Heavenly Purpose” Part 23
“Motivated By Evil”
“The real problem is in the hearts and minds of men. It is not a problem of physics but of ethics. It is easier to denature plutonium than to denature the evil from the spirit of man.”
In my life each day, how have I been able to differentiate good from evil?
“Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil.”
Isaiah 5: 20
In what ways have I witnessed good overcome evil?
What do I believe the Apostle Paul meant when he wrote these words to the Christians at the church in Rome: “Hate what is evil; cling to what is good” (Romans 12: 9)
“One does evil enough when one does nothing good.”
“There is no evil that does not promise inducements. Avarice promises money; luxury, a varied assortment of pleasures; ambition, a purple robe and applause. Vices tempt you by the rewards they offer.”
Roman Philosopher and Statesman
Definition of Inducement: To persuade or influence.
Definition of Evil: Morally wicked. Causing injury, pain or ruin.
What a fascinating turn of events. Elevated by King Darius of Medo-Persia, Daniel became the respected leader of the “whole realm.” A confidant and counselor to the foreign king. The prophet Daniel had predicted the rise of the Medo-Persian government when King Nebuchadnezzar was still in power. So when King Darius defeated the Babylonians he was intelligent enough to recognize the fact that Daniel was blessed by wisdom from above. With history as witness to Daniel’s discernment, King Darius was immensely respectful of the prophet of God.
However, we can only believe that the bond which developed between the worldly king and the “child of the captive of Judah,” as Daniel’s enemies referred to him, must have gotten under the skin of Daniel’s co-workers. It was a daily irritant which plagued these “assembled men,” a group of envious presidents, governors, princes, counselors, and captains who tried to make their phony honor for King Darius the fulcrum on which their supposed service to man and country turned.
Eager to make Daniel look like a false-hearted traitor in King Darius’ eyes, the elaborate scheme these men cooked up was built on the fact that they not only recognized, but knew without a doubt, that Daniel was faithful to the God of heaven and earth. So certain were they that Daniel would not falter in his allegiance to God that they proposed their “30-Day Petition Plan” to the king with these words on their lips: “We shall not find any occasion against this Daniel, except we find it against him concerning the law of his God” (Daniel 6: 5, K.J.V.).
They knew full well that they were sunk if they tried to make Daniel look like the evil connivers they were. They also recognized that Daniel’s work, which was blessed by God, was of such a level that to pick on the way he carried out his daily duties would only be folly.
But, they surmised, if they could link his worship of God to a lessening of his loyalty to King Darius, they assumed their plan might meet with success. So after catching Daniel in the “act of prayer” three times a day as was his habit, all these “assembled men” went to King Darius and with great fanfare they “came near” and asked the king, “Did you not sign a decree forbidding anyone to pray to any god or man except you for the next thirty days? And anyone caught doing it would be thrown into the lions’ den?” (Daniel 6: 12, The Message Bible).
I like the way The Message Bible refers to these men as “conspirators” for that was exactly how they behaved. They were motivated by the evil they harbored within themselves. An evil that rotted away any thing of a holy nature, to the point that a vicious death by hungry lions was what they perceived as an appropriate punishment for praying to the God of heaven.
It was the French theologian Blaise Pascal who stated that, “Men (and women) never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction.” Who could have ever thought that the prayers of a righteous follower of God would be at the heart of these schemers plan to not only undermine Daniel but at the same time embarrass King Darius. They had an apparently religious underpinning for their very evil motives.
The proposal of these men to only allow the worship of the worldly king for 30 days, while bringing great glee to their hearts, ended up pointing out to King Darius that his own desire for ultimate power was in essence the basis of his being duped into signing a decree that could cause the death of his most trusted confidant and friend.
It is one of the most thought-provoking statements I’ve read and on more than one occasion I’ve shared it here in Transformation Garden. The words come from the pen of Methodist preacher W. F. Sangster who wrote: “Every day the choice between good and evil is presented to us in simple ways.” Without the prayerful vigilance of a person like Daniel, we too will find ourselves bending to the ways of earthly demands, until we are motivated, as were Daniel’s enemies, by evil. May our prayer today be the words of Jeremy Taylor who cried out: “O Eternal God, sanctify our souls and bodies, our thoughts and our intentions, our words and actions…that doing all things for Thy glory here, we may be partakers of Thy glory through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
“O Lord God,
Great is the misery that has come upon me;
My cares would overwhelm me,
I know not what to do.
O God, be gracious unto me and help me.
Grant me strength to bear what You send
And let not fear rule over me.
As a loving Father, take care of my loved ones…
O merciful God, forgive me all
the sins I have committed against You,
and against my fellow men.
I trust in Your grace and commit
my life wholly into Your hands.
So do with me as seems best to You
and as is best for me.
Whether I live or die, I am with You,
and You are with me, my God.
Lord, I wait for Your salvation.”
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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