How the CEO was snookered by his top management team

BIBLE STUDY AGENDA
1. Read aloud preface
2. Students read the passage (see end of this lesson for the scripture) pp3-4
3. Discussion – see Question/Answers section
4. Read aloud the author’s commentary and ask for input.
5. Ask students if they plan to act on anything they have learned today, giving details if they feel free to do so.

PREFACE
Dictators have an abysmal record of failure – Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Edi Amin, Mao ZeDong – Putin and Al-assad please note. The problem is not that they are incompetent but that their totalitarian position prevents valid input from knowledgeable associates in their regimes. A leader who can murder you and your family at a whim’s notice creates a body of yes-men- sycophants willing to compromise truth for survival. Darius the King of Persia was such a man, but he was good hearted and divided the rule of his kingdom among a group of trusted people. Then apparently he neglected to keep these people under review? Was he too trusting? Or simply happy to be spared the nitty gritty of daily decisions?

How can a group of employees conspire against that? They have no handle except pride.

Daniel was made the top manager because clearly had access to “the Holy God.” In other words, he was a whole lot smarter than all the rest of them. Envy may well be the chief motivation in politics so to dethrone Daniel they played on Darius’ ego.
First they urged him to sign a truly stupid law. This was his decree:

For the next thirty days no one is to pray to any god or mortal except you, O king. Anyone who disobeys will be thrown into the lions’ den.

Even on the surface this is a silliness; a 30 day period of worship had no relevance to this vast kingdom. As politicians say today, This is not a pocketbook issue.

King Darius fell for it. It appealed to his ego and he ignored any possible fall out. He knew better than to accept worship in any event.

QUESTIONS/ANSWERS
1. Did you have a situation where you have been manipulated by employees into a wrong decision?
2. Is there anyone you should have moved out and failed to do so?
3. Do you think you are too trusting?
4. Do you have a group of people that you are accountable to? Preferably people not in your company or team?

AUTHOR’S COMMENTARY
1. Focus on the task at hand. Your decrees (today we call them decisions) need to advance the agenda of the company, its products and its employees and have little or nothing to do with personalities. Years ago I heard that the ball team Magic Johnson played with was instructed by the owner to refer to him as the King. How idiotic can you be. Basketball is played by teams and without that team sense a star is a dud. Asking team members to do that was the equivalent of sowing seeds of discord. (Proverbs 6:19)
2. Multiple, divided leadership is the model for success. The New Testament church was run by 5 leaders who were expected to agree (unanimity) on all issues. You say that is impossible? Not when the Holy Spirit is making the final decisions. Ministers fail, some very publicly, and churches go bankrupt because the Biblical model is not honored – perhaps not even known. God’s work must be done God’s way. When the goal is something other than advancing the Kingdom that group, church or minister will surely fade away. I can’t tell you how many ministries I’ve seen go down. Pride leaders some to believe they are above the law; one minister friend of mine had no trouble lying because he thought the ministry would flourish if he did so. His $100 thousand dollar investment in China went down the tube. God does not give permission to any leader to disobey the moral law and retain his position.
3. When the leader discovers his error he does not hide it but acts to repair the damage. Darius repented, fasted and prayed all night. Then in the morning after he saw Daniel safe and sound he went after the men who entrapped both him and Daniel. Cover-up never works; if man doesn’t catch you, God will.
4. Note that the King did not give these conspirators a pass. Too often leaders will tolerate employees in their company who have some other great talent. But people are creatures of habit; if an employee will connive once, he’ll do it again. Firing is painful but it must be done. These days it may mean a lawsuit but tolerating a problem does not solve it.
5. In modern times few individuals are total dictators and must make allowances for personalities and politics. In my past I worked for a woman who was extremely insecure in her job; she had been placed at the top of a large company at 35. It was an easy task for evil tongues to encourage her to fire or push out at least 4 top people, a genius bookkeeper, a volunteer coordinator, a very popular person and me as well. The company did suffer all the while not realizing she had become a victim simply because she knew the liar better and unwisely trusted her.
6. Finally, God is able to judge the conspirators,

Below is the entire passage from the Bible (The Message)
Daniel in the Lions’ Den See what you learn in your reading.

6 1-3 Darius reorganized his kingdom. He appointed one hundred twenty governors to administer all the parts of his realm. Over them were three vice-regents, one of whom was Daniel. The governors reported to the vice-regents, who made sure that everything was in order for the king. But Daniel, brimming with spirit and intelligence, so completely outclassed the other vice-regents and governors that the king decided to put him in charge of the whole kingdom.
4-5 The vice-regents and governors got together to find some old scandal or skeleton in Daniel’s life that they could use against him, but they couldn’t dig up anything. He was totally exemplary and trustworthy. They could find no evidence of negligence or misconduct. So they finally gave up and said, “We’re never going to find anything against this Daniel unless we can cook up something religious.”
6-7 The vice-regents and governors conspired together and then went to the king and said, “King Darius, live forever! We’ve convened your vice-regents, governors, and all your leading officials, and have agreed that the king should issue the following decree:
For the next thirty days no one is to pray to any god or mortal except you, O king. Anyone who disobeys will be thrown into the lions’ den.
8 “Issue this decree, O king, and make it unconditional, as if written in stone like all the laws of the Medes and the Persians.”
9 King Darius signed the decree.
10 When Daniel learned that the decree had been signed and posted, he continued to pray just as he had always done. His house had windows in the upstairs that opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he knelt there in prayer, thanking and praising his God.
11-12 The conspirators came and found him praying, asking God for help. They went straight to the king and reminded him of the royal decree that he had signed. “Did you not,” they said, “sign a decree forbidding anyone to pray to any god or man except you for the next thirty days? And anyone caught doing it would be thrown into the lions’ den?”
“Absolutely,” said the king. “Written in stone, like all the laws of the Medes and Persians.”
13 Then they said, “Daniel, one of the Jewish exiles, ignores you, O king, and defies your decree. Three times a day he prays.”
14 At this, the king was very upset and tried his best to get Daniel out of the fix he’d put him in. He worked at it the whole day long.
15 But then the conspirators were back: “Remember, O king, it’s the law of the Medes and Persians that the king’s decree can never be changed.”
16 The king caved in and ordered Daniel brought and thrown into the lions’ den. But he said to Daniel, “Your God, to whom you are so loyal, is going to get you out of this.”
17 A stone slab was placed over the opening of the den. The king sealed the cover with his signet ring and the signet rings of all his nobles, fixing Daniel’s fate.
18 The king then went back to his palace. He refused supper. He couldn’t sleep. He spent the night fasting.
19-20 At daybreak the king got up and hurried to the lions’ den. As he approached the den, he called out anxiously, “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve so loyally, saved you from the lions?”
21-22 “O king, live forever!” said Daniel. “My God sent his angel, who closed the mouths of the lions so that they would not hurt me. I’ve been found innocent before God and also before you, O king. I’ve done nothing to harm you.”
23 When the king heard these words, he was happy. He ordered Daniel taken up out of the den. When he was hauled up, there wasn’t a scratch on him. He had trusted his God.
24 Then the king commanded that the conspirators who had informed on Daniel be thrown into the lions’ den, along with their wives and children. Before they hit the floor, the lions had them in their jaws, tearing them to pieces.
25-27 King Darius published this proclamation to every race, color, and creed on earth:
Peace to you! Abundant peace!
I decree that Daniel’s God shall be worshiped and feared in all parts of my kingdom.
He is the living God, world without end. His kingdom never falls.
His rule continues eternally.
He is a savior and rescuer.
He performs astonishing miracles in heaven and on earth.
He saved Daniel from the power of the lions.
28 From then on, Daniel was treated well during the reign of Darius, and also in the following reign of Cyrus the Persian.

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