Our verse this week was “Obey God rather than men.” Daniel was placed in a situation that called for his true obedience to God over everything else. Daniel could either change the person he had been for years, or he could stand up for his convictions and be true to himself. There are often times in life that we allow our situation or our circumstances dictate how we act. I recall a time when I was young and was just starting my career in the Operating Room. I was placed in the pod of orthopedics. I didn’t mind the pod I was in, but quickly realized that there were only 2 women on the team. We learned a couple things fast working on an all guy team. One, do not show emotion because you will be considered weak, which is funny because most crying women are just so mad they could probably harm you. Two, we learned everything possible about football because that was the whole topic during surgery. Three, we learned to endure ridiculous sexual innuendos which was way past fun and games. When I think back to that situation, I think why did we go to all the trouble, and why did we put up with the unacceptable behavior? Why? We did what we thought was necessary to keep our job and fit in while doing it. Many people had already lost their job in the merge, so we tolerated things we should not have, for job security. Although we did nothing immoral or unethical, we tolerated things we did not feel were right. This led me to wonder what I would do in other situations. What if I was faced with Daniel’s choice, either obey the government and not pray, or pray to God and be killed? What if I was faced with the fiery furnace? Would I have knelt before the statue saying, “I am really praying to God”, or would I have been as bold as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego and refused to kneel. In all these situations there was a choice to be made. They could just fit in with the crowd, and in their heart say they served God, or they could take a bold stand for others to see.
As time pushes on there are a lot of things we have let slide. In our mind we may have not accepted them our self, but we have not stood up for the opposing position either. In community bible study this week a lady shared with us how right here in the United States over the past three years that Christian churches have been bought and turned into Mosque. This should make your hair stand up. The church talks about the time of persecution coming, it is not coming, it is here. Although I believe it will obviously be much worse at later times, just look at the Pastor in Houston whose sermons or “speeches” were taken by subpoena. What happen to freedom of speech? Look at how people with “special circumstances” (and I am not talking about physical or mental problems) have the whole world bending over backward for them because they are afraid of being sued. She also pointed out places like Asia Minor that use to be populated with churches that is now 99.8% Islamic. God has never guaranteed that the United States would always enjoy religious freedom. As a matter of fact I think you could say we are like the people in Malachi and Haggai. God warned over and over he would pull his blessings, but they refused to listen. Are we really so arrogant in the United States that we think we have enjoyed freedom on our own?
If someone took your Bible from you right now do you know enough to sustain yourself? Would you know enough to teach your kids? Could you theologically, at least on a foundational level, defend your faith? 1 Peter 3:15 “but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect..” I guarantee that Muslims and Mormons can tell you everything about the Bible, and probably know more key scriptures than a lot of Christians. After all, you cannot dispute something you know nothing about. We desperately need to focus on our kid’s knowledge of the Bible. I believe in my heart it will be the ones that are young now, that will be heavily persecuted. One day they may not even have a Bible. Daniel was around 15 years old when he was taken into captivity. He was indoctrinated with the Babylon ways and laws, but because God’s law was instilled in him so firmly as a child, he was able to remain faithful to God. How imperative it is for us to do the same for our children.
God is not surprised or unprepared for anything that is currently happening in our World. However, I believe the time has come when the church has to rise up like never before. I don’t want to leave you will gloom and doom on a Friday afternoon, so I leave you with a hope that only God can give:
He controls the course of world events; he removes kings and sets up other kings. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the scholars. He reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells with him. (Daniel 2:21-22)
But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables Him to bring everything under His control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like His glorious body. (Philippians 3:20-21)