Danny Boy – Part 2

Danny Boy – Part 2

Aug 24

(Read Part 1 here)

Daniel was a great model for missional living. A literal stranger in a strange land, he found himself in a culture that didn’t share his devotion to the one, true God. He remained uncompromisable in his new environment – and responded to the new culture with respect, humility and proved himself to be a worthy asset – all while keeping God’s laws.

While training for palace service, his request regarding his desire to not eat the foods restricted by God’s dietary rules had been accommodated – but how would he respond if something didn’t go in his favor? Luckily, we get to find out.

 

THE PRIDE OF THREE KINGS

Daniel finished his training at the top of his class. No one impressed King Nebuchadnezzar more than Daniel and his friends (Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah – better known as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego) and they were quickly entered into service. When it came time to consult on any matter needing wisdom and balanced judgement – the King found these guys TEN TIMES more capable than any of the other advisors in his entire kingdom (I’m not quite sure how one quantifies something like that – but I’m interested in knowing).

Daniel, gifted by God, impressed the king NUMEROUS times throughout Nebuchadnezzar’s reign. Daniel was rewarded with lavish gifts and promoted to the ranks of rulers in the kingdom.

Eventually, Nebuchadnezzar’s reign came to an end – and Daniel continued to be an asset to the King’s successor, King Belshazzar. Belshazzar ended up seeing the writing on the wall – literally -  died (murdered) and the kingdom was now in the hands of King Darius.

Like his predecessors – Darius was quite impressed with Daniel. Finding him to be supremely capable, Darius made plans to have him supervise and control the entire kingdom. As you might imagine, this caused some jealousy among the other government officials who were vying for position. These fellow administrators plotted against Daniel, trying to find something wrong with him so that the king would remove him. Realizing that they would never get rid of him based on his job performance, they figured they’d have to do something based on his desire to follow the rules of his religion.

These envious officers developed a plan. They approached King Darius suggesting he sign a new law. This new law stated that any citizen, for the next month, who prayed to anyone but the king – would be thrown into the lions’ den. (Essentially, a death sentence). And just to close any loopholes, they advised the king to make it an official and irrevocable law (no ‘take-backs” – even by the king).

Thinking “Hey! Why not – sounds good to me!” – Darius signed it!

For Daniel, this was a BIG problem. The new law violated rule number one of the ten commandments. It was done, there wasn’t anything he could do – or was there?

 

STARTING LION

When Daniel learned the new law had been signed – he rushed home. He HAD to DO SOMETHING – this WASN’T RIGHT and WASN’T FAIR! This was an affront to God’s commands and he wasn’t going to take it anymore.

Entering his bedroom, he noticed a jeweled sword hanging on his wall. It was a gift from another ruler, and wasn’t created to be just a decoration. As his hands closed around the grip – he felt the weight of the weapon as it comfortably became an extension of his arm.

He knew exactly what he needed to do.

Using his power and influence, he declared a revolt and lead a small army to the steps of the palace. As they came face-to-face with the royal guards, Daniel and his militia….

Ok… I’ll stop there.

None of that happened. That would reflect more of my default response to something like that. It wasn’t how Daniel handled it.

When he learned that the new law had been signed – he went home, went up to his upstairs room, opened the window, prayed and gave thanks to God – just as he had always done.

Can you believe that?

 

PAWS, TO REFLECT

Daniel, again, models a Christ-like response. He doesn’t run. He doesn’t hide. He doesn’t get angry and attempt to fight. He goes home and prays – giving thanks to God just as he always did.

When I sit and think about that – it boggles my mind a bit. What I’ve settled on, is that Daniel was comfortable trusting God in any situation, even if it wasn’t going his way. God is big enough to handle it.

The story is well-known. He gets thrown in the lions’ den, God protects him. Darius lets his friend out and decrees that Daniel’s God is the one everyone should serve. I believe that even if it DIDN’T end well – Daniel would’ve been fine with that. His response would have echoed Shadrach, Meshach, and Abendego’s answer to Nebuchadnezzar before they were thrown into the fiery furnace (Daniel 3:16-18 ). “Our God can save us, our God will save us, AND EVEN IF HE DOESN’T – we’d still serve Him.”

This seems to counter every reaction I could humanly fathom – but as I read the Bible and learn more about God, it makes sense. He’s the one that gifts us and makes us able to respond with respect, humility, and act in such a way that our lives speak for Himself. He’s bigger than any law that’s passed, than any candidate in office, or problem we face. God is big enough to handle it.

What do you think? Feel free to comment below or send me a note on the contact page.

Photo Credit: Richard Soh

4 comments

  1. Josh, your thoughts really hit home today! I just arrived in Conakry Guinea and my first thoughts were oh man, this is where I have to live for the next 10 months. There is a HIGH muslim population here and so far things have been quite interesting.It is funny because God gave me the Colossians verse last night and I posted it this morning before reading your blog. This is definitely a conversation we should have over the phone.

    This hit home though “He doesn’t run. He doesn’t hide. He doesn’t get angry and attempt to fight. He goes home and prays – giving thanks to God just as he always did.’

    I can’t run from this place (literally) I can’t hide and I can’t get angry and attempt to fight. I need to be in prayer about what the Lord has in store for this place, He brought me here and I have to give thanks to him just like I always have.

    Wow, just wow.

    • Josh

      Thanks, Beks! (I’m glad you called!)

      You get to experience the “stranger in a strange land” literally! I’m excited to see what God does with you (and the rest of the crew) there.

  2. Mom

    So, when it is all said and done, it’s like this… “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” John 3:16 We speak the truth in LOVE – and as some would say – use words when necessary. We know God’s love for us and are still learning the depths of it, so when we get out of the way and let God’s love flow – it’s the kindness of God that leads to repentance… We don’t do anything of ourselves. Love you guys!

    • Josh

      Mmmmhmmm! And I love how John goes on in the next verse – Jesus wasn’t sent to judge the world, but to save it! (And the bit about kindness leading to repentance has been part of my perspective shift).

      I love you, too!

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