Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Defiant Daniel

TODAY’S SPECIAL: Daniel 6:12-23

TO CHEW ON: “ 'My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight. Nor have I ever done any wrong before you, Your Majesty.' ” Daniel 6:22

“Bring them in!” commanded king Darius to his servant.

The Babylon rulers smirked as they entered and bowed before the king. “We’ve found someone who broke your new law,” they said. “We caught Daniel praying to his God.”

Darius was shocked. Not Daniel! He was his favorite servant. And then he understood. The other rulers were jealous of Daniel. They wanted him gone. They knew that he prayed to his God three times a day. So that was why they had come to the king and suggested he pass the new law. It said that for thirty days it was illegal to pray to anyone but the king. Punishment for disobeying was death by hungry lions.

All day King Darius tried to get Daniel freed. But he couldn’t. “May the God whom you serve rescue you,” he said to Daniel as servants tossed him into the lions' den.

That night King Darius didn’t feel like eating, or listening to music, or watching plays, or laughing at jesters. He couldn’t even sleep. At first light he jumped out of bed and ran to the lions' den. “Daniel,” he called, “did your God rescue you?”

How overjoyed he was when he heard Daniel’s voice, “O King, live forever. My God did save me. He sent his angel and he shut the lions’ mouths.”

King Darius commanded his servants to take Daniel out of the den right away. Then he rounded up the men who had plotted against Daniel and had them and their families thrown to the lions. After that he passed a new law: “Everyone in the kingdom must fear and reverence Daniel’s God.”

How do you think Daniel felt when he discovered that praying to God had suddenly become a crime? Do you think he was ever tempted to stop praying openly as he always did?

We too may someday find ourselves in situations where obeying God is against the law of the land where we live. What will we do then? Will we compromise our beliefs to save our reputations or even our lives? Or will we risk disobeying our country’s law to honor God and trust Him to rescue us, like Daniel did?

PRAYER: Dear God, please help me to know when obeying You is more important than obeying the law of the land. Help me to be brave and obey You then. Amen

MORE: Civil disobedience
The Bible makes it clear that we are to obey the laws of the land in which we live. However, there are times when obeying those laws make it impossible for us to obey God. Breaking the law at those times is sometimes called ‘civil disobedience.’

In the New Testament when Peter and John were commanded to stop talking about Jesus, for example, they refused. Peter said: “We must obey God rather than men.” (Acts 5:29)

In many countries it is against the law to be a Christian. It is also against the law to tell others about Jesus, meet for worship or have a Bible. The penalty may be prison or death.

- Do you have any laws like this in the place where you live?

- Do you obey them? Why or why not?

Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

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