the little foxes that
ruin the vineyards, our
vineyards that are in bloom."
(Song of Songs 2:15, NIV)
The Story About Investment
"It's also like a man going off on an extended trip. He called his servants together and delegated responsibilities. To one he gave five thousand dollars, to another two thousand, to a third one thousand, depending on their abilities. Then he left. Right off, the first servant went to work and doubled his master's investment. The second did the same. But the man with the single thousand dug a hole and carefully buried his master's money.
22-23"The servant with the two thousand showed how he also had doubled his master's investment. His master commended him: 'Good work! You did your job well. From now on be my partner.'
24-25"The servant given one thousand said, 'Master, I know you have high standards and hate careless ways, that you demand the best and make no allowances for error. I was afraid I might disappoint you, so I found a good hiding place and secured your money. Here it is, safe and sound down to the last cent.'
26-27"The master was furious. 'That's a terrible way to live! It's criminal to live cautiously like that! If you knew I was after the best, why did you do less than the least? The least you could have done would have been to invest the sum with the bankers, where at least I would have gotten a little interest.
28-30"'Take the thousand and give it to the one who risked the most. And get rid of this "play-it-safe" who won't go out on a limb. Throw him out into utter darkness."
(Matthew 25: 14-30, The Message)
Unsurprisingly, Daniel's fellow administrators and other government officials don't find this plan so attractive and devise a plan to take Daniel out of his job - permanently. They begin looking for ways to discredit Daniel but their search is fruitless. As verse 4 says they "tried to find grounds for charges against Daniel in his conduct of government affairs, but they were unable to do so. They could find no corruption in him, because he was trustworthy and neither corrupt nor negligent". They then decide to attack Daniel in the one place they know he is "vulnerable" - his faith in God (v5).
So they go to the king and in the midst of great flattery suggest that he issue a decree making it illegal to pray to any god or man other than Darius in the next 30 days. Anyone who disobeys the law is to be thrown into a den of lions. The king agrees and immediately puts the policy into effect. When Daniel hears of the decree he remains unmoved in his devotion to God. He simply goes home and prays in the same open manner as was his custom.
When Daniel's conspirators see this they set off with speed to the King to report Daniel's unlawful behaviour. The King becomes grieved since Daniel is one of his best men but knows that he has no choice but to follow through with the punishment that he himself created.
Most of us know the outcome of the story. Daniel is thrown to a pack of lions for their evening meal God protects Daniel and in the morning he is found alive and unharmed. The King rejoices and the God of Israel is praised.