The DEEP

Spiritual Evil in Full Bloom

Going nowhere.

Daniel 6:19–24 (ESV)

Then, at break of day, the king arose and went in haste to the den of lions. As he came near to the den where Daniel was, he cried out in a tone of anguish. The king declared to Daniel, “O Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to deliver you from the lions?” Then Daniel said to the king, “O king, live forever! My God sent his angel and shut the lions’ mouths, and they have not harmed me, because I was found blameless before him; and also before you, O king, I have done no harm.” Then the king was exceedingly glad, and commanded that Daniel be taken up out of the den. So Daniel was taken up out of the den, and no kind of harm was found on him, because he had trusted in his God. And the king commanded, and those men who had maliciously accused Daniel were brought and cast into the den of lions—they, their children, and their wives. And before they reached the bottom of the den, the lions overpowered them and broke all their bones in pieces.

It turns out that Daniel has the best night’s sleep of anyone. Select Comfort has got nothing on sleeping on a warm, furry lion.

Of course, things don’t go so well for those men who had maliciously accused Daniel. They (and their families!) are destroyed.

And notice the justification given by the king for this action—nothing. He doesn’t do this because Daniel was saved. He doesn’t do this because of some rule of justice for false accusations. The accusations weren’t literally false anyway; Daniel broke the law that the king had signed.

Darius did this for one reason and one reason only—his choice. He is king and he can just do this. The king has absolute power (except for the limits of the laws of the Medes and the Persians) and everyone knows this. The accusers’ punishment, and the punishment of their families, doesn’t need to be proportionate or reasonable.

In fact, it could have been worse. After Daniel is found alive, the king was exceedingly glad. Imagine what Darius would have done if he’d been in a bad mood, which surely would have been the case had Daniel been killed by the lions.

The plan hatched by those men was that dumb.


So, we see spiritual evil in full bloom, with all manner of gore and death. Whole families are wiped out.

The spiritual forces of evil have no problem with killing off their servants. They just want a lot of people dead. The servants are disposable and apparently easily replaced.

Notice also that the agenda of spiritual evil doesn’t go anywhere. Unlike God’s agenda—which we’ll see in the next lesson—it doesn’t advance any cause or principle. Its goals are short term. That helps explain an important observation.

Spiritual evil sometimes wins battles, but it never wins wars.


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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. ESV stands for the English Standard Version. © Copyright 2001 by Crossway. Used by permission. All rights reserved. NIV stands for The Holy Bible, New International Version®. © Copyright 1973 by International Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. KJV stands for the King James Version.

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.

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