The Reading: Proverbs 6:16-19
“… a heart that devises wicked plans …” (v.18) RSV
Some people seem very good at plotting the downfall of others. Daniel’s peers in Babylon hated his success and his talents, and therefore they conspired to disgrace him. They knew he prayed three times a day before an open window that faced towards Jerusalem and the Temple. They therefore devised a plan. They got the King to sign a document to forbid anyone praying to anything or anyone except himself for a period of 30 days.
When Daniel heard of this he resolutely continued to do as before. His fellow ministers told the King, and that hapless man had no alternative but to throw Daniel into the den of lions. Mercifully the plot backfired because God shut the mouths of the lions. When Daniel was released the next day, his work colleagues were thrown in and were devoured immediately (Daniel 6:4-9).
The prophet Jeremiah angered powerful people in Jerusalem when he kept forecasting the destruction of that city and the exile of its people. They felt he was undermining morale, so they plotted to kill him by lowering him down into a cistern where he sank up to his armpits in mire. Fortunately others who had the king’s permission came by night, tied rags and old clothes together and hauled him out under cover of darkness (Jeremiah 38:6-13).
The worst plot of all was devised by Judas Iscariot who went to the enemies of Jesus and arranged to betray him in the Garden of Gethsemane (Matthew 26:14-16). This resulted in the death of Jesus. However, God raised him from the dead, brought him out of the tomb (as he did Daniel out of the den, and Jeremiah out of the cistern).
Let us resolve not to plan against others to do them harm, to outmanoeuvre them at work, to cheat them out of their wife, or any other unworthy scheme. Let us seek to do good to all people, especially the household of faith (Galatians 6:10).
Father, forgive me when I have been too eager to devise evil schemes. Help me give my energy to doing good. Amen.
1 Instead of evil schemes what should we devise?
2 How did Nehemiah deal with evil plotters?