Then these men went as a group and found Daniel praying and asking God for help. So they went to the king and spoke to him about his royal decree: “Did you not publish a decree that during the next thirty days anyone who prays to any god or human being except to you, Your Majesty, would be thrown into the lions’ den?” The king answered, “The decree stands—in accordance with the law of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be repealed.” Daniel 6:11-12 (NIV).
Tattletales. Daniel’s peer administrators went to his house and saw him there, praying. They heard him praying to God, asking the Lord for help. Then they went back to Darius and ratted Daniel out.
It’s hard to like a tattletale. I wonder what Darius thought of his administrators when they came into his palace in full busybody mode, ready to tattle on Daniel. What’s more, the jealous satraps are belittling the king again. “Yeah, boy, remember that thing you said about praying only to you?” I can picture Darius’ eyes rolling and his thoughts. “These guys must really think I’m stupid. What’s their angle?” Surely, Darius must have thought less and less of the men he had put in charge of his new kingdom.
Except Daniel. In the king’s eyes, Daniel had done no wrong. The slave was devoted to his strange God, and yet he served willingly and enthusiastically in a foreign court. In doing so, he showed great integrity and admirable character. It wouldn’t have been hard to see that Daniel’s satrap peers were jealous of him, manufacturing an incident with which to push him out of the way. In fact, if they could misuse the royal laws in this way, what else were they capable of?
Yet, also in the king’s eyes, his law was sacrosanct. The king understood that his decrees had to have the full weight of Babylon (and Persia) behind them: Even if it meant betraying a loyal subject, Darius had to keep his word. He knew that the word of a leader carries great weight, so he must now stand by this foolish decree that he let these tattletale bureaucrats swindle him into.
What about us? Have you ever been in a situation where someone tried to push you out of the way? Or make you do something you didn’t want to do? Have you ever felt like a pawn in someone else’s game? In such moments, remember always that the Lord Jesus is Lord of all, and how He never forgets His children who love him when they stand strong in what they believe. Even tattletales.
For further reading: 1 Kings 8:48-50, Esther 1:19, Psalm 55:17, 1 Thessalonians 5:17-18, Daniel 6:13
Oh Lord, be my strength when I am week. Shield me from my enemies, and thwart those who plot against me.
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