Never in our lifetime has our political arguments been more divisive and quarrelsome. What are God’s expectations for leadership and administration of government? What are His expectations for those who are governed? How should we respond to unfair rules or laws? We learn the answers to these questions by studying the life and times of Daniel.
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When Lions Roar - Daniel 1-10 NIV
Today Daniel. Daniel was a political advisor. He would be one of the president’s men. Exceptional at what he did - advised 4 different…
6 Lessons Learned From Daniel
#1: Earthly kings _COME AND GO_ so focus on the true King of kings.
“In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it.” “King Belshazzar gave a great banquet.” “That very night Belshazzar was slain and Darius the Mede took over the kingdom.” “In the 3rd year of Cyrus king of Persia…” Daniel 1:1, 5:1,30, 10:1
Give a little background. Israelites taken over by Babylonians, the were taken over by the Persians - all relied upon Daniel. But Daniel was never full of himself. Maintained humble excellence and worshipped God - Important for us to remember in our own political struggles…
“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” Ephesians 6:12 ESV
Today’s political environment in our country is so divisive that we forget the real battle is not what is televised on the news each night. So how…
#2: When objecting to laws or rules demonstrate _REASON & RESPECT_ .
“But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way.” Daniel 1:8
Daniel showed reason & respect even as a young man. Didn’t stage a protest. Didn’t get himself on the news. Didn’t write an op-ed. Didn’t shout “No! No! We won’t go!” He (1) resolved and (2) asked. And then followed that up with a test. Underlying all of this was his ability to see the situation from the other guy’s perspective. The one ruling over him had rules he had to follow and could be subject to his own penalties. We could take a lesson from young Daniel. NT instructions for Christians:
“Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.” Titus 3:1-2 ESV
Compare this instruction from Paul to Titus with our own political discourse today. Rather than apply this to the talking heads on TV or our own political leaders, check yourself against each of these instructions.
BACK TO DANIEL - Nebuchadnezzar has a dream, no one can know…
“When Arioch, the commander of the king’s guard, had gone out to put to death the wise men of Babylon, Daniel spoke to him with wisdom and tact.” Daniel 2:14
Again notice the “wisdom and tact.” Hard when one’s life is on the line. What would be your first argument? Same as mine. Unfair! Impossible! This is where trust/faith in God comes in. Daniel knew that and so…
#3: When fighting wrong laws or rules ___TURN TO GOD___ .
“Then Daniel returned to his house and explained the matter to his friends… He urged them to plead for mercy from the God of heaven … so that he and his friends might not be executed.” Daniel 2:17-18 NIV
Trusted prayer network is so vitally important. Daniel remembered and relied upon God first before himself. Remarkable in a panicked moment. But also remembered one other thing - prayer warriors. Ask his friends to pray too! I have noticed this one important difference between experienced, mature Christ-followers and those who claim Christianity as their faith but don’t often show a lot of faith in their Christianity. Mature Christians invest into prayer - for themselves and others. They know who they can count on to pray. They let themselves be known as one who is dependable to pray for others. Do you have your list of prayer warriors ready to go at a moments’ notice?
BACK TO DANIEL - He tells Nebuchadnezzar’s dream and interprets. Becomes one of N’s most trusted advisors. Then advises his son, Belshazzar, even giving him bad news in a straight forward “just the facts” manner that wins praise from B. Then Babylonians taken over by Persians and Darius the Mede becomes his boss. Daniel so distinguish
#4: Godly administration and leadership is ___EXCEPTIONAL___ .
“Now Daniel so distinguished himself among the administrators and the satraps by his exceptional qualities that the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom.” Daniel 6:3 NIV
Stop and think about this for just a moment because this is so amazing. Daniel is a conquered Israelite who serves a Babylonian king, who himself is conquered and then serves the new king so well that he puts Daniel in charge of all the others! (Sounds a lot like Joseph!) Important lesson for us - our religious faith should never be an excuse for why we cannot serve our government well. In fact should be just the opposite. Men and women who faithfully rely upon God to help them rule well should be the best leaders / administrators / politicians that we could have. Not because they wear their religion as a sash to attract like minded followers, but because they don’t do that. Instead they live out their faith so well that people want to follow them because they are exceptional in their leadership. Their faith in God makes that possible!
#5: Exceptional and godly leadership in this world will be _CHALLENGED_
“[They] tried to find grounds for charges against Daniel, but they were unable to do so. They could find no corruption in him… and they brought Daniel and threw him into the lions’ den.” Daniel 6:4,16 NIV
One might think that such exceptional and godly leadership would be cherished by all - but sadly that is not the world in which we live. When someone rises so far in responsibility in government or business, there will always be others who will be resentful. Rather than learn from the exceptional leader what it is that makes him/her so exceptional, they look for excuses for themselves. “Right place, right time.” “He had an inside track.” “Who knows if that was really the dream or not - just stroked N’s ego.” “It’s his Hebrew faith - you know THEY all stick together!” Shocking really, the kind of things we’ll say about others so as not to take responsibility for our own failures. Daniel’s enemies devise a plan to trap Darius into throwing Daniel into the Lion’s Den. Daniel remains faithful.
#6: Depend upon God for ___PROTECTION & JUSTICE___ .
“My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouth of the lions. They have not hurt me… At the king’s command, the men who had falsely accused Daniel were brought in and thrown into the lions’ den.’” Daniel 6:22,24 NIV
That had to be a long night, wouldn’t you think? But when reading this Biblical account, we get the sense that Darius was a whole lot more worried about Daniel than Daniel was. Daniel was actually in the lion’s den. (Can you imagine the kind of society that keeps a lion’s den just for punishment?) But Daniel wasn’t alone with the lions. God sent his angel. I can’t help but wonder if the angel did more than shut the lions’ mouths. Perhaps he (as messenger) opened his own mouth to Daniel. Gave him comfort / peace. Kept his mind off the danger.
The next morning came retribution to those who had accused Daniel. Important lesson for us all. Be careful of the people-games you play. You never know how it might come back to bite you and those you love! Both Psalm 37:27-29 and Romans 12:19 tell us that God will bring justice. And for those who are unfairly treated that vengeance belongs to God - not us.