Politics and Persecution (Advent 18, 2020)

Yeah, standing up for your faith in politically hostile environments can get you in trouble.  Big trouble.  King David knew it—Saul hunted him like an animal for 15 years before he finally became king.  Daniel knew it—he was put in the lions’ den and saved by God’s hand.  Jesus knew it—He was crucified but rose from the grave.

Do you know what it’s like to stand up for your faith in Christ?  In a world that regards politics as its god, are you willing to be persecuted for Just Saying No to the lesser god killjoy COVID, and instead celebrating Christmas, gathering at church, or sharing the Gospel with those who need to know Christ to keep Him in Christmas?

Daniel was an interesting guy.  His life was impeccable.  The administrators and satraps—call them the Babylonian Deep State—hated him. 

Daniel 6:4 At this, the administrators and the satraps tried to find grounds for charges against Daniel in his conduct of government affairs, but they were unable to do so. They could find no corruption in him, because he was trustworthy and neither corrupt nor negligent.  5 Finally these men said, “We will never find any basis for charges against this man Daniel unless it has something to do with the law of his God.”

Jealousy and Hatred have no level to which they will not sink. 
They’re from the pit of hell.

Daniel 6:6 So these administrators and satraps went as a group to the king and said: “May King Darius live forever!   7 The royal administrators, prefects, satraps, advisers and governors have all agreed that the king should issue an edict and enforce the decree that anyone who prays to any god or human being during the next thirty days, except to you, Your Majesty, shall be thrown into the lions’ den.   8 Now, Your Majesty, issue the decree and put it in writing so that it cannot be altered– in accordance with the law of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be repealed.”   9 So King Darius put the decree in writing.

Those snakes set a trap for Daniel and the king too preoccupied with kinging that he couldn’t even see.

Daniel heard about the decree and went on worshipping God.  He had his priorities straight even if he’d face persecution for it.  To the lions’ den he’d go.

Daniel 6:14 When the king heard this, he was greatly distressed; he was determined to rescue Daniel

But the sentence was by his own signature, irrevocable.

Daniel 6: 16 So the king gave the order, and they brought Daniel and threw him into the lions’ den. The king said to Daniel, “May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!”

And God did.  Divine Intervention!

Daniel tells the king the following morning, Daniel 6:22 “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.”  23 The king was overjoyed and gave orders to lift Daniel out of the den. And when Daniel was lifted from the den, no wound was found on him, because he had trusted in his God.   

Questions for further thought:

  • No one ever said that being a Christian would be an easy path.  What makes us think that it would be a cakewalk?
  • What determines whether you will take a stand? 
  • What stands in your way? What effect should you let obstacles have?

Let’s pray, For all of us, Lord, who feel like we’re living day-to-day in the lions’ den with threats and persecutions and difficulties all around us, we ask Lord that You would be strong for us and that You would encourage us and strengthen us for the journey. We thank You that You are a God who wastes nothing in our lives even the sufferings that we endure. Let justice prevail! You shut the mouths of the lions in Daniel’s day to remind those of us who have attempted to live upright lives, that You will be faithful. We who believe in the High Road will remain steadfast, walking the only road that we are willing to take. It’s the road that leads to You! Oh Lord, we ask that those who come against us with words and deeds that insult the Word of God, that insult Your character, and insult Your followers, let vengeance be Yours! In Your timing, make evildoers who are trying to destroy every holy day for Your Church, may them pay! We cannot bear to see that evil just rules the day. Our hearts are grieved. Our hearts are sad. Our hearts are heavy, Lord. Indeed, we feel helpless. It seems like every day it’s just one more piece of bad news but in the end Lord, we know that You are good. You are faithful. You are strong! You are powerful!! And so we ask, Lord, that by the power of Your Holy Spirit, by the mighty hand of God, by the power and mercy You have…shield us, guard us, protect us, and bring us safely home to You. Thank You Lord Jesus that You gave us a pattern to follow–for the joy set before You, You endured everything, and You died on a Cross that You never deserved. There’s not much that we can do, but with what we do have, Lord, we bring it to You… small as it is… in prayer and with thanksgiving. Yes, Lord, we bring it though it seems like so little and ask that You would multiply it for Your glory. It’s for Your Name sake and Your glory we pray. Amen.

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Advent 2020 began Sunday, November 29th and continues to Thursday, December 24th as we celebrate the first coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and look forward to His Second Coming.  “Divine Intervention” is this year’s devotional study. By signing up on the sidebar of my Home Page you can receive these daily devotionals. Or they will be reposted on SeminaryGal’s Facebook page as well.

Together we will see how God has been actively involved all along as Divine Intervention for a hurting world and nations in tumult– Intervention for you and for me when our status as sinners required nothing short of a miracle.

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Acknowledging inquiries about an entire season’s devotionals for your study group’s planning purposes, Seminary Gal’s prior seasons’ Advent devotionals can be accessed via the archives to the right and are as follows: 

  • Last year’s Advent Devotional Series God’s Christmas list explored what might be on God’s Christmas list, learning what He wants from us. It began December 1, 2019.
  • Storyteller began December 2, 2018 and entered into the Christmas story through its telling.
  • The 2017 series Still Christmas, began December 3, 2017 and was the Advent complement to the Lenten series, Be Still and Know that I AM God.
  • The 2016 season devotionals were called Timeless: The Message of Christmas for All Ages” and explored how the message of Christmas is timeless truth, for all ages of people, and for all ages at all times.  Timeless hope, encouragement, grace, peace, and love as we looked into the Word, saw the face of our Lord Jesus, and experienced restoration in His presence.  His goodness and His Gospel are truly Timeless. The 2016 devotionals began November 27, 2016.
  • The 2015 season devotionals were titled Incarnation and involved digging deep–and yes, I mean deep– in this important mystery of Christian theology.  They began November 29, 2015.
  • Carol Me, Christmas! remains one of my most popular offerings and tells the Christmas story through our most beloved Christmas hymns and carols.  You can access all of the numbered devotionals from 2014 via the archives.  They began November 30, 2014.
  • The 2013 series was Emmanuel: When LOVE Showed Up in Person and examined the Prologue to the Gospel of John.  It began December 1, 2013.
  • The 2012 series focused on Expecting the Unexpected…the unexpected, unlikely, and uniquely divine qualities of God’s perfect plan outlined in Luke’s account of the Christmas story.  It began December 1, 2012.

Categories Articles and Devotionals, Devotionals | Tags: | Posted on December 16, 2020

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