Skip to content


The problem with Christianity is that people judge Christ based on the people who claim to be His followers. Christians are often called hypocrites because they say one thing and do the opposite. They know the right things to do, and they can and will tell you what they are, but they aren’t always strong enough to avoid making the mistakes themselves. Paul understood that. (Romans 7:21-25) He encouraged those to whom he ministered to live in a way that could not be criticized so that their ministry would not suffer because of their faults. (Titus 2:6-8, II Corinthians 6:3)

Daniel was a shining example of this kind of integrity. King Darius had appointed Daniel as one of the supervisors over the satraps—government officials—and the king was so pleased with his service that he intended to give Daniel authority over his entire kingdom. The satraps and other supervisors would have to answer to Daniel. (Daniel 6:1-3) For some reason, people who do well are not always respected for their abilities; often they are despised. That was the case with those who envied Daniel’s position, so they tried to find a way to discredit him. (Daniel 6:4) Since Daniel not only did not commit any crimes, but apparently also made no mistakes, the other officials had nothing that they could charge against him. They knew that the only thing that would work was to create a conflict between the laws of the land and the laws of God whom Daniel worshipped faithfully. (Daniel 6:5)

In later verses you will see that the supervisors and satraps deceived the king into making a law that would prohibit Daniel from worshipping God and which would land Daniel in the lions’ den. (Daniel 6:6-28) But God was with Daniel, and he was not harmed. In the end, Daniel was rewarded for his integrity, and he prospered during the reign of King Darius. Those who accused him ended up in the lions’ den instead.

Who is watching your every step to see if you live up to the beliefs you claim? You can be sure that someone is. What was true for Daniel is true for us too. If we do what is right in God’s eyes, we can trust Him to take care of everything else. (Matthew 6:33)


I’ve been going to church all my life. I’ve heard a lot of people’s interpretations of a lot of scripture passages. They don’t always agree. Often, only one or two verses are quoted to reinforce a point that is being made. Then when I’ve studied the verses for myself, I’ve seen them in a different light because of the context. Without context, you can make a verse seem to say anything you like, but it may or may not be accurate.

A good example of this is Psalm 37:4. I first heard this verse in the New International Version: “Delight yourself in the LORD, and He will give you the desires of your heart.” It has been interpreted to mean that if you focus on God, He will give you what you want. The important thing to note is that the promise of getting what you want is based on the fulfillment of the command to delight yourself in the Lord. If you put God first, your desires will be holy, and He will fulfill them. (Matthew 6:33) I’ve also heard it explained that God puts your desires in your heart. You want what you want because God put that thought in your head. I would not want to say that God doesn’t give us our dreams, or that our desires don’t come from Him, but I don’t believe that the context of this verse supports that interpretation. If you look at the rest of Psalm 37, you will see that the major focus is not to fret when things go well for those who do evil. (Psalm 37:1, Psalm 37:7-8)

I believe that the first interpretation is more accurate. But I think it is important to realize that the fulfillment of our desires will not necessarily (or even likely) be instantaneous. That is why in Psalm 37:7 David reminds us to wait patiently and confidently. It is possible that our desires will not be fulfilled before we reach heaven. Don't be discouraged by that. In this life we will have our good days and our bad days, days of blessing and days of frustration, but whatever is happening, we cannot look at the evildoers and think that we would be better off if we lied, cheated or stole. Whatever gratification they get from their actions is temporary.

The other thing I think it is important to consider is that we might often misinterpret our afflictions as well. The older I get, the more I can look back and see the benefits that came from my struggles—how job loss led to a better job, how working through conflicts led to stronger relationships, how hard times led to leaning more on God’s grace. David was looking back too when he wrote this Psalm, (Psalm 37:25) so his counsel was based on experience.

The New English Translation (the version you see when you hover over the reference) doesn’t isolate Psalm 37:4, but translates it as an extension of Psalm 37:3. (Psalm 37:3-4) Trust in the Lord, do what is right, maintain your integrity. Then you will delight in the Lord, your desires will be pure, and He will delight in giving good gifts to you. (Matthew 7:11)

Peer pressure, pride and regret. When most people read Daniel 6, they admire Daniel’s integrity or consider what they can learn from him. But what can we learn from Darius? Darius was a new king who greatly respected and trusted Daniel and appointed him as one of the top leaders of the land. He knew that Daniel was a man with an extraordinary spirit—wise, honest and full of integrity. Darius intended to appoint him over the entire kingdom. (Daniel 6:3) We will see when we get to Daniel 6:16 that Darius knew that Daniel served God continually. Daniel was dedicated; his faith was not something that he took lightly.

The other leaders knew this too, but they didn’t admire Daniel; they were envious of him. So they conspired against him. However, they could find nothing to charge him with because all his ways were upright. They knew that the only way they could entrap him was to make a law that contradicted a law of God. They lied to Darius, telling him that everyone was in agreement with their proposal. Since Daniel was one of the top leaders, Darius would have assumed that Daniel was included in the “everyone”, but he obviously was not. Daniel would never have agreed to a plan that would make it unlawful for him to pray to his God. What made Darius agree to such a thing? His pride allowed him to be deceived by the flattery and false promises of men who had ulterior motives. Interestingly in Daniel 4:37, Nebuchadnezzar recognized God’s power to bring down those who live in pride. Daniel had explained that very thing to Nebuchadnezzar’s son just before Darius became king. (Daniel 5:18-20) Now Darius was falling into the same trap, and would risk the life of the man whom he trusted to oversee his entire kingdom.

When Darius learned that Daniel was to be convicted, he immediately regretted his actions. There was no doubt that Daniel was guilty; Daniel did not deny it. Nor did he do anything to try to save himself. Though he had no assurance that God would save him, he trusted God to do whatever He deemed best. Darius did try to do something, but unfortunately there was nothing he could do. The best he could offer was to encourage Daniel with the words that his God would rescue him. Darius would certainly not have signed this edict if he had considered the possible consequences of his actions, but he only realized them when it was too late. For some reason the Medes and Persians trusted their kings to make such good laws that there was no recourse or appeals process to change them. (Esther 1:19, Esther 8:8) Was this pride too? In both Esther and Daniel, the result was regret. Thankfully, in both cases there were people who prayed to God, and God demonstrated that He was more powerful than the most adverse circumstances.

God saved Daniel from the lions, and He gave Darius a second chance. His next edict was that throughout his kingdom the God of Daniel was to be worshipped. If Daniel (and Darius) had not gone through this hardship they would have missed the opportunity to testify to God’s power and glorify Him. So what can we learn from Darius? 1. Consider people’s motives when they pressure you to do something. 2. Consider the consequences before you make a decision. 3. Don’t let foolish pride sway your choices. 4. Trust God to take care of things when you can’t.