At this time some astrologers came forward and denounced the Jews. They said to King Nebuchadnezzar, “May the king live forever! Your Majesty has issued a decree that everyone who hears the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipe and all kinds of music must fall down and worship the image of gold, and that whoever does not fall down and worship will be thrown into a blazing furnace. But there are some Jews whom you have set over the affairs of the province of Babylon—Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego—who pay no attention to you, Your Majesty. They neither serve your gods nor worship the image of gold you have set up.” Daniel 3:8-12 (NIV).
Politics and revenge often go hand in hand. Daniel had made the Babylonian sorcerers look weak, so the court insiders found a way to seek revenge. Look at governments all around the world today and you’ll probably agree that little has changed in most of 3000 years.
Now ask yourself a question: where have you sought revenge, and where, also, have you stood up for your faith? Those two thoughts are obviously in conflict; one is sin and one is worship. Yet we are often people of double minds. People who say we want to do the Godly thing, and then in the next breath we damn our neighbors or worse.
Where have you operated like an insider to get ahead? The Babylonian magicians were trying to have the Jews eliminated so that they (the magicians) might get back in the king’s good graces. In your life, have you ever schemed against someone, or tried to arrange events so that things look good for you no matter what it does to someone else?
I’ll be frank: I have. Revenge isn’t my game, but grudges were for a great many years. That’s just as bad (and just as destructive). And I’ve cowered at times in sharing Jesus with others, thinking I wasn’t good enough to do it or someone would think I looked foolish. And I’ve schemed and played games to tell one thing to one person but withhold the same information from others. A lie is a lie, however, and I got caught up in mine.
Thank God that God is God and I’m not. Thankfully He is merciful, and that He protects sinful selves like me. And you. Your sins are your own; they’re between you and God. Yet thank God He has mercy on us and doesn’t treat us the way He could treat schemers, liars, and politicians. Or evil sorcerers. As we’ll soon see, God protects those who believe in Him, sometimes in the most frightening situations of all.
For further reading: Nehemiah 2:3, Esther 3:3, Isaiah 19:3, Daniel 3:13
Lord God, all glory to You for Your mercy, love, and protection.
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