Dare to be a Daniel!

 “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter.”  That is a quote from the one we honor today in the United States, Martin Luther King, Jr.  He obviously didn’t remain silent about the things that really mattered to him!   Born Jan. 15, 1929, Martin Luther King, Jr. became a Baptist minister and activist and prominent leader in the African-American Civil Rights movement. In 1963, in the March on Washington, he delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech. He expounded American values to include the vision of a “color blind” society. In 1964, King became the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for his work to end racial segregation and discrimination through civil disobedience and other non-violent means. He was assassinated April 4, 1968 in Memphis, Tennessee. By this time he had refocused his efforts on ending poverty and stopping the Vietnam War. King was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1977 and Congressional Gold Medal in 2004. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day was established as a U.S. federal holiday in 1986.

     I recall a chorus we used to sing in Sunday School, Dare to Be a Daniel, which spoke of the importance of taking a stand for our convictions. It’s so tempting to just “hide in the woodwork,” and blend into the environment rather than to stand up for the things that matter to us and against the things which oppose them.  I’m reminded of Daniel in the Old Testament, who was a statesman in the court of heathen monarchs. Taken captive as a youth to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar in 605, he spent the rest of his long life there as a governmental official and as a prophet of the true God. “Daniel began distinguishing himself among the leaders because he possessed an extraordinary spirit, and the king planned to appoint him over the entire kingdom” (Dan. 6:3).  The others, obviously jealous, “began trying to find a ground of accusation against Daniel in regard to government affairs; but they could find no ground of accusation or evidence of corruption, inasmuch as he was faithful, and no negligence or corruption was to be found in him” (Dan. 6:10). Wow, what a testimony of someone living faithfully for God in a pagan country, while demonstrating excellence in his work. His  co-workers devised a plan that anyone making a petition to any god or man besides King Nebuchadnezzar should be cast into the lions’ den.  Well, you know the story, Daniel didn’t stop his normal prayer routine and ended up in the lions’ den, but, “God sent His angel and shut the lions’ mouths” and Daniel suffered no harm, for which the king was very relieved and pleased because he really liked Daniel and knew he was truly a man of God. 
     Throughout history we have had many who have dared to be Daniels. Continuing to live faithfully for God in the midst of persecution and doing their work as unto the Lord, even if it is for those who don’t love God. We see the rapid decline in religious freedoms in our country, see the increasing crescendo of pro-homosexual indoctrination in schools, entertainment industries and business. We have seen the rescinding of the “Don’t-Ask-Don’t-Tell” policy in the military, making it possible for homosexuals to openly live out their lifestyles. Our administration has decided not to support the “Defense of Marriage Act” (DOMA). Included in the government health care program is coverage–with tax money–for “Planned Parenthood” and abortion clinics.   Our public schools have become citadels of atheism with few cries of foul from a minority of Christians. Christian students are denied prayer and other religious expression of all kinds in many places. Islamic students, however are given special times and places on school property to do their prayers. Violent and lawless invaders cross our borders almost at will, trashing our parks, threatening and murdering ranchers on the border. When states cry for help from the federal government, the cries are ignored. If the state takes action, the federal government sues them. Deficit spending is out of control. The federal answer is to print more money which never works, in fact, has destroyed every nation which tries to solve its economic problems that way.
     There is an elephant in the room and we are reluctant to talk about it because of its unbelievable size. We free Americans, especially believers, can hardly believe what is happening to our beloved country. I think of a couple verses in the Bible regarding a nations spiritual climate. “Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD” (Psa. 33:12).  “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people” (Pr. 14:34). Sin has disastrous consequences, whether as an individual or as a nation.  We see evidence of this all throughout Scripture. It is no surprise to me that we are seeing with increasing frequency record levels of floods, droughts, tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, industrial  and mining disasters, terrible forest and brush fires. Someone recently claimed that the budget for FEMA now exceeds the US military budget. The Bible makes it very clear that “God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he (or a nation) will also reap” (Gal. 6:7). In the history of the world, no nation that was right with God has ever fallen. When a nation forgets God, turns a back on Him, that nation falls.
     I am so grateful for the “Daniels” who are willing to take a stand today against the spiritual and moral decline of our nation. In fact, World Magazine has a “Daniel of the Year” award. I think of “Daniels” today who are “voices crying in the wilderness” like Tony Perkins of Family Research Council, Jay Seukelow of The American Center for Law & Justice,  The Alliance Defense Fund, National Pro-Life Alliance, Focus on the Family and others. But, what about you and me? Keep in mind Martin Luther King Jr.’s statement: “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about the things that matter.”  As someone else said, “Silence isn’t always golden, sometimes it’s plain yellow!” 
     God is still in control, and all is working toward the conclusion of history with the return of Christ, but we are to “Occupy until He comes.” We aren’t to just hide our heads in the sand, waiting for Jesus to come. We are to continue being His ambassadors (II Cor. 5:20) until He removes us. It’s time to stand and say, “Enough is enough!”  Don’t be silent about the things that really matter! 
 
                                        Forever His,
                                                Pastor Dave
    
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About Pastor Dave

Until my retirement 2 years ago, I pastored an independent Bible church in Northwest Montana for nearly 38 years. During that time I also helped establish a Christian school, and a Bible Camp. I am married and have children and grandchildren. The Wisdom of the Week devotional is an outgrowth of my desire to share what God is doing in my life and in our world, and to challenge you to be a part.
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