“The king was greatly displeased with himself” Daniel 6:14
There will be times when we are displeased with ourselves – but will we seek out the root cause of those words or actions that brought about that displeasure? It is a lot easier to blame someone else, or sulk and have a period of depression until it becomes a distant and faint memory.
King Darius had brought about the downfall of the Babylonian empire. He attributed this to his own might and military wisdom. He established a new leadership consisting of people from the nations that the king of Babylon had conquered. He also attributed this to his own political wisdom.
Daniel was given the highest position in this new order but others were jealous of him. Since they could find no legitimate fault to present to the king they devised a way of creating a case for Daniel’s death. They appealed to King Darius’ pride. Their flattery found its mark in a proud heart.
Daniel had “purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself” (1:8) and he would not waver from worshipping the one true God even under threat of death. The other governors, by appealing to the king’s pride, manipulated him into signing a decree that he alone should be worshipped as if he were God for thirty days. Flattery turned the king’s head so that he did not look at the consequences of his action.
Daniel was not moved by the decree. He knew the one true God and, like his friends (chapter three), he would not be persuaded or seduced into worshipping other than the Lord.
If we allow pride to have a toehold we will be vulnerable to being deceived and manipulated by others. We do need to encourage one another, but we also need to be able to discern between genuine encouragement and flattery. We also need to guard our hearts that we don’t allow even genuine encouragement to feed pride.
At the time of his seduction King Darius was not aware that it was the Lord who gave him the victory and the wisdom in establishing his rule. The Lord’s plan was for Daniel to be in the lions’ den as a means to open the eyes of king Darius. The moment in time was right because King Darius “was greatly displeased with himself” and was in a place of humility and repentance. As much as he tried he could not undo what he had done and this brought on a sleepless night of anguish. He did not try and blame someone else although he had that opportunity. He had been seduced by the leaders he had appointed and he knew that he alone was responsible for the pride in his heart.
After Daniel was safely delivered King Darius wrote, “I make a decree that in every dominion of my kingdom men must tremble and fear before the God of Daniel. For He is the living God and steadfast forever” (6:26).
In this one event King Darius was saved eternally, Daniel was delivered and Israel preserved in exile in readiness for their return (9:2).