Intro: Envy is very detrimental to the soul, so God communicated about that danger when he said, “You must not covet…” (Ex 20:17). Envy is sin; sin brings suffering. The biblical definition of envy is the sin of jealousy over the blessings and achievements of others, especially the spiritual enjoyment, and advance of the kingdom of Christ freely and graciously bestowed upon the people of God. Both the Old and New Testament help us understand God’s warning; we see it manifest in the lives of biblical characters and the trauma it brings into their relationships (E.g. Cain/Abel).
Envy births a wicked and ungrateful attitude toward God and others, because it rests on the foundation of making comparisons. We are all unique in how God has made us and our gifts and needs for resources may be very different, so envy actually makes us blind to the beauty in which God has made us as individuals. When we envy others, we are really wasting our time, energy, and opportunities to make a difference for Christ’s kingdom.
In our passage today, Daniel is the focus of his fellow administrators’ envy. They hate his integrity and abilities, but Daniel is faultless in those areas. So, these envious administrators plot and accuse Daniel of violating the official law with his religion; that no one will pray to anyone but king Darias. Daniel cannot obey the law, so he bows his head and bends his knees three times every day knowing the price he will pay for his obedience to God. Will Daniel’s gratitude and allegiance to God break the power of envy set to destroy him?
Daniel 6:1-12 NLT
1 Darius the Mede decided to divide the kingdom into 120 provinces, and he appointed a high officer to rule over each province. 2 The king also chose Daniel and two others as administrators to supervise the high officers and protect the king’s interests. 3 Daniel soon proved himself more capable than all the other administrators and high officers. Because of Daniel’s great ability, the king made plans to place him over the entire empire.
4 Then the other administrators and high officers began searching for some fault in the way Daniel was handling government affairs, but they couldn’t find anything to criticize or condemn. He was faithful, always responsible, and completely trustworthy. 5 So they concluded, “Our only chance of finding grounds for accusing Daniel will be in connection with the rules of his religion.”
6 So the administrators and high officers went to the king and said, “Long live King Darius! 7 We are all in agreement—we administrators, officials, high officers, advisers, and governors—that the king should make a law that will be strictly enforced. Give orders that for the next thirty days any person who prays to anyone, divine or human—except to you, Your Majesty—will be thrown into the den of lions. 8 And now, Your Majesty, issue and sign this law so it cannot be changed, an official law of the Medes and Persians that cannot be revoked.” 9 So King Darius signed the law.
10 But when Daniel learned that the law had been signed, he went home and knelt down as usual in his upstairs room, with its windows open toward Jerusalem. He prayed three times a day, just as he had always done, giving thanks to his God. 11 Then the officials went together to Daniel’s house and found him praying and asking for God’s help. 12 So they went straight to the king and reminded him about his law. “Did you not sign a law that for the next thirty days any person who prays to anyone, divine or human—except to you, Your Majesty—will be thrown into the den of lions?”
“Yes,” the king replied, “that decision stands; it is an official law of the Medes and Persians that cannot be revoked.”
Prayer: Lord, may we truly be grateful, today, for who you made each of us to be as workers in your kingdom. May we be impeccable with our integrity and helpful with our gifts and abilities to make a difference in your kingdom. Thank you for Daniel’s powerful example of gratitude and allegiance. Help us to stand strong for you, because we bend our knees in prayer. In Jesus’ name. Amen.