Evil Loves Company

It's a good idea to guard against this.

Daniel 6 (2)

Introduction
Envy, jealousy, resentment, hatred – these affections can often be found traveling together. When they meet an agreeable spirit in others, they can overrule sound thinking and contrive vicious schemes against the source of their discontent. But, as Haman learned the hard way – and Darius’ counselors would learn soon enough – vicious plots have a way of backfiring, especially when they are aimed at doing harm to the people of God (Prov. 26.27).

Read Esther 3.

Read Daniel 6.6-9.

Think it Through
1.  We don’t know which of these administrators first concocted the idea of taking indirect action against Daniel. Probably more than one of them laid up late at night, thinking about how to be done with this Hebrew governor. At some point, someone came up with a plan, and they couldn’t wait to enlist Darius himself in their wicked scheme. The Aramaic verb here translated “thronged” – ragash – suggests a tumultuous urgency. How do you envision this scene? What does this suggest about the hearts of these men? What is the effect of jealousy, envy, and resentment on sound thinking? How can you know when such affections are making inroads to your heart? What should you do, so that you don’t do something foolish, something you’ll regret, like these Persian administrators?

2.  The genius behind this action was that it appealed to Darius’ pride. How can you see that? Evil affections, sown by the father of lies, look to connect with other evil affections – those lingering in the soul, and the evil affections in the hearts of others. Misery loves company, but so do bad feelings and evil designs. The law of sin is at work in all of us, and keeps its bag of tricks at the ready, for when we’re not paying attention (Rom. 7.21-23). Darius was happy to go along with their plan. Why? How can you guard against the evil affections that you sense in others connecting with lingering evil in your own heart?

Meditate
“In surrendering their mind’s eye to envy, they did not understand that the king could not supply everything to petitioners, like health, life, fathering children, abundance of rain and anything else that we receive when we ask it of God. Losing their senses, however, they ascribed to the king what belongs to God and persuaded the foolish king to reach the same verdict and ratify their request.” Theodoret of Cyr (393-466 AD)

Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits.” Awake to righteousness, and do not sin… 1 Corinthians 15.33, 34

Let me not be influenced by the self-centered desires of others, O Lord, and help me to keep my own wicked affections in check as I…

Pray Psalm 66.16-20.
Recite all the things that God has done for your soul, and confess any wicked affections or thoughts which may be lingering there.

Psalm 66.13-20 (Regent Square: Angels from the Realms of Glory)
To Your house we come with off’rings, what we vowed, Lord, help us do.
O, receive our praise and homage as we give ourselves to You.
Come and listen, all who fear Him: hear what this great God can do!

When we cried to You, You answered, filled our mouths with highest praise.
Let not sin abide within us, lest we languish all our days.
Bless the Lord, Who hears our pleadings and preserves His love always.

T. M. Moore

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All psalms for singing adapted from The Ailbe Psalter. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT. 

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Where sin obtains, God's goodness is denied.

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