Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“A record of memorable thoughts of David when he fled from Saul in the cave.”
“My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is steadfast and confident! I will sing and make melody…I will praise and give thanks to You, O Lord, among the peoples; I will sing praises to You among the nations. For Your mercy and loving–kindness are great, reaching to the heavens, and Your truth and faithfulness to the clouds. Be exalted, O God, above the heavens; let Your glory be over all the earth.”
Psalm 57: 7, 9-11
“May You be blessed forever, Lord, for not abandoning me when I abandoned You. May You be blessed forever, Lord, for offering Your hand of love in my darkest, most lonely moment.
May You be blessed forever, Lord, for putting up with such a stubborn soul as mine. May You be blessed forever, Lord, for loving me more than I love myself.
May You be blessed forever Lord, for continuing to pour out Your blessings upon me, even though I respond so poorly.
May You be blessed forever, Lord, for drawing out the goodness in all people, even including me.
May You be blessed forever, Lord, for repaying our sin with Your love.
May You be blessed forever, Lord, for being constant and unchanging, amidst all the changes of the world.
May You be blessed forever, Lord, for Your countless blessings on me and on all Your creatures.”
Teresa of Avila, Spain
Today’s Study Text:
“Then the king (Darius), when he heard these words, was much distressed over what he had done and set his mind on Daniel to deliver him; and he labored until the sun went down to rescue him. Then these same men came thronging by agreement to the king and said, ‘Know, O king, that it is a law of the Medes and Persians that no decree or statute which the king establishes may be changed or repealed.’”
Daniel 6: 14, 15
“Earthly Power Versus Heavenly Purpose” Part 24
“We believe no evil till the evil’s done.”
What evil behavior has shocked me the most in my life?
In what ways do acts of evil taken against the innocent affect my own life?
“In all men (and women) is evil sleeping; the good man (or woman) is he (she) who will not awaken it, in himself or in other men and women.”
“It is hard for the good to suspect evil as it is hard for the bad to suspect good.”
Orator and Politician
The quote above coming as it did from one of Rome’s greatest orators, Cicero, has provoked many discussions down through time.
On this particular day and in this Transformation Garden devotional, I’d like these words from one of Rome’s brightest minds, as Cicero has been called, to become the backdrop for our in-depth study of Daniel 6: 14, 15 – today’s “Study Text.”
While I’ve heard the story of “Daniel in the Lion’s Den” since childhood, I never really took the necessary time to dig into this passage of Scripture to uncover the truths that not only pertain to my own life but also, the words that can act as a hedge of protection around our lives as we encounter the wickedness in a world in rebellion against our Almighty God.
If we have a longing for our Father’s holiness to take root in our lives, we need to be blessed by heavenly wisdom in all our daily activities. And so with Cicero’s words still in our thoughts, I’d like us to take a closer look at the turn of events which left King Darius in desperation when he realized he had fallen into a trap that was set partially by his own hand as well as the “conspirators” who were Daniel’s enemies.
Today is one of those times here in the Garden when a Biblical story is so familiar, that at least on the surface, it might be easy to quickly pass over texts we have read before. However, as I found out by going through words I highlighted in Daniel 6: 14, 15 – there’s so much more depth in God’s Word than what first meets the eye. So I undertook to look at the Hebrew meaning of the following words:
1. Daniel 6: 14
“Then the king, when he heard (these) words, was sore displeased with himself, and set his heart on Daniel to deliver him; and he laboured till the going down of the sun to deliver him.”
Hebrew meaning of underlined words:
A) Heard: To discern. To give ear. To hear intelligently.
B) These: This was an added word not found in the Hebrew.
C) Words: A command. A discourse.
D) Sore: Mighty. Greatly. Exceedingly.
E) Displeased: Morally offensive. To smell bad. To abhor. To cause to stink.
F) Heart: This Hebrew form of the word “heart” is only used in Daniel once. It means anxiety and is used as a mental sense, to afflict, to wear out, to fail and to decay.
G) Deliver: To leave free. To permit. To loosen. To relinquish.
H) Laboured: To endeavor.
I) Deliver: (Different word than “G”) to rescue. To extricate.
2. Daniel 6: 15
“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 establisheth may be changed.”
Hebrew meaning of underlined words:
A) Assembled: Gathering of tumultuous rage.
B) Decree: An obligation or vow. To fasten a yoke or to hitch or bind someone or something.
C) Statute: An edict arising in law.
D) Establisheth: Newly raised or appointed.
E) Changed: To alter.
Now comes the fun part as we take our two study texts and add the Hebrew meaning into these passages of Scripture:
A. Daniel 6: 14 – “Then the king gave ear and intelligently discerned this discourse. He was exceedingly and mightily morally offended. The words stunk. King Darius smelled a rat. He set his anxious mind, which was afflicted, upon permitting Daniel to be loosened to him; and the king laboured – he endeavored to do all he could before the going down of the sun to rescue and extricate Daniel.”
B. Daniel 6: 15 – “Then these men gathered in tumultuous rage and went to the king, and said to the king, ‘Know, O king, that the law of the Medes and Persians is, that no vow or obligation can be broken. Once the hitch is attached it is an edict bound by law by the king (you Darius!) who can’t even alter the law.”
While it may take time to break down these two passages, I found it well worth every minute for what we see clearly is that these evil men tried in every way possible to end Daniel’s life. And King Darius tried in every way possible to humanly save the life of God’s servant. As author Phyllis Bottome points out in her book, Innocence and Experience, “We do good by ourselves, but we seldom do wrong alone.” No statement more fittingly played out in the lives of the “raging” men who came after Daniel. While God’s servant stood alone, the assembled mob of Mede-Persian rulers tried to take him down. Yet, God proved true to Daniel.
In the words of the Psalmist:
“In You, O Lord, do I put my trust and confidently take refuge; let me never be put to shame or confusion!...forsake me not when my strength is spent and my powers fail. For my enemies talk against me; those who watch for my life consult together. Saying, ‘God has forsaken (her); pursue and persecute and take her, for there is none to deliver her. O God, be not far from me! O my God, make haste to help me! Let them be put to shame and consumed who are adversaries to my life…But I will hope continually, and will praise You yet more and more. My mouth shall tell of Your righteous acts and of Your deeds of salvation all the day, for their number is more than I know…My tongue also shall talk of Your righteousness all the day long; for they are put to shame, for they are confounded; who seek and demand my hurt.”
Psalm 71: 9-15, 24
It is with praise that you and I, like David and like Daniel and like Esther can say: “All the day long I shall speak of how You saved my life, too.”
“Let nothing disturb you,
nothing alarm you;
While all things fade away
God is unchanging.
and you will gain everything:
for with God in your heart
nothing is lacking,
God meets your every need.”
Teresa of Avila
Help me to be brave and strong in You
and take my fear away.”
“Dare to be a Daniel!
Dare to stand alone!
Dare to have a purpose firm!
Dare to make it known!”
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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