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  • Writer's pictureDominique McKay

The Injustice of Envy

God Restores Those Who Are Faithful


This is the sixth devotional in our summer series on "The Miraculous Acts of God."


“At the first light of dawn, the king got up and hurried to the lions’ den. When he came near the den, he called to Daniel in an anguished voice, ‘Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to rescue you from the lions?’ Daniel answered, ‘May the king live forever!’” – Daniel 6:19-21


In the National Gallery of Art, there’s a giant painting of Daniel crying out to God in the den of lions. Painted by Flemish artist Sir Peter Paul Rubens, the piece shows Daniel with hands clasped in prayer as he looks up to the sky. All around him, he is surrounded by lions. One of them bears its ferocious teeth. 


The depiction by Rubens confronts passersby and leaves us wondering, will God save Daniel from death by lion or will Daniel perish? The miracle awaits.


In Daniel’s day, he was a well-known faithful follower of God. He was also well-admired by many of the society’s elites. The Bible describes Daniel as “so distinguished” by his “exceptional qualities” that the king wanted to set him over the kingdom (Daniel 6:3). 


In envy, his peers began plotting a way to bring him down. Knowing Daniel as a man of God, their plan of attack was to convince the king to issue an edict that all must pray to the king alone — with the expectation that Daniel would refuse. 


When the king issues this edict, Daniel’s world shifts. Does he hold onto his positioning, popularity and power, or does he give it all up to honor the God he loves? 


Daniel was the victim of a great injustice. As a result of God’s blessings on his life, he was targeted by his peers. They came for more than just his livelihood but also his very life. What would you do if faced with injustice?


When it comes to working in politics, many of us can relate to this sort of injustice. The competitive nature of the work and the envy of peers can cause bitterness between coworkers. They begin to speak words of criticism and hatred in an effort to influence their leadership’s perception of one another. In an instant, through no fault of our own, we could be sucked into a whirlwind of conflict.


But when we look at the example of Daniel, in the midst of his impossible position, he does something unexpected. Instead of protecting himself, he makes a public display of his faith. Going to his upstairs room where the windows opened to Jerusalem, he prays to God three times a day (Daniel 6:10).


Daniel didn’t know what the future held for him. If anything, he was certain the acts he committed would lead to death. But Daniel remains ready and willing to accept the sacrifice for doing what is right. The question remains: are we?


When he is thrown into the den of lions for praying to God, and the stone rolls over the entrance, the events that follow are miraculous. The Bible describes that God “shut the mouths of the lions.” They did not hurt Daniel because he was “found innocent in [God’s] sight” (Daniel 6:22). When a great injustice was committed against Daniel, he remained faithful to God and trusted that God would remain faithful to him. 


No matter what vocation God calls us into, we will experience injustices. Whether it’s a coworker bad-mouthing us to our bosses, a firing for something we did not do, or being passed over for a promotion we actually deserved — we will be wronged. But in the midst of injustices, we can have faith that God will restore us. 


At the end of Daniel 6, the king gathers the men who accused Daniel and throws them into the den. In an instant, they were dead (Daniel 6:24). Through God’s miraculous acts, not only did he restore Daniel, but he also punished those who sought his destruction. 


When we look at this story, many would consider the climax to be the moment the stone rolls away and we find Daniel alive. But the real miracle was the work God did in Daniel’s heart prior to this moment — drawing Daniel continuously to himself to the point that he lived as a humble servant of God who was willing to give up everything to remain faithful. 


May we too remain faithful to Christ alone.


Dominique McKay is a Ministry Associate in Washington, D.C.

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