Daniel would not have made a very good action hero. He did nothing to avoid the plots of his enemies. Instead, he walked straight into their trap. He didn’t use his friendship with the king to help himself. He put up no resistance and defeated no one. Why not? Was he clueless? Not at all. In faith, he knew the Lord would fight his battles for him. Sometimes success means waiting on the Lord (Ps. 37:7). Though by human standards Daniel failed, by God’s criteria he succeeded because he kept his priorities in the right order and remained faithful in prayer.
The case for Daniel’s enemies is just the opposite. By human standards, they succeeded. They were jealous of Daniel’s power and suspicious of his integrity (vv. 4–5). They were obviously prejudiced against his Jewish identity (v. 13). Therefore, they carefully crafted a shrewd plan with clear objectives—one that circumvented, by pandering to his pride, the fact that the king favored Daniel— and executed it perfectly. Success? Not in God’s eyes, for they had attacked His righteous, beloved servant.
Daniel stepped into their trap by praying at his regular time and in his regular way (v. 10). Though the king was forced to throw Daniel to the lions, he rejoiced when God saved Daniel’s life, and he quickly accomplished poetic justice by throwing Daniel’s enemies themselves to the lions (v. 24). Just as in today’s verse, they fell into their own trap! One of the results of Daniel’s “failure” was that he continued to prosper (v. 28). The main result was that the glory of the one true God was proclaimed throughout a pagan empire (vv. 25–27)!
>> At the time of this story, Daniel was 82 years old. Those of us who are in the second half of life can take this as a reminder and encouragement to follow God wholeheartedly. You’re never too young or too old to serve the Lord and bring Him glory!
Daniel teaches us a great deal about failure and success. As you pray, ask the Lord to show you how lessons of Daniel’s story apply to you personally.