If there is, I don’t know where it is. There is on the other hand, passages of scripture, as well as other historical accounts, that seem to indicate that we are to stand firm on matters that might violate our conscience.
This is the third in a four part series where we will look at examples of standing firm – making a sacrificial decision in order to not violate our conscience. These are not stories, fables, legends or illustrations. All are well documented historical accounts. Two are from the bible and two are from military history.
Daniel and the Lions Den
Let’s set the stage. King Darius was dividing up the labor of ruling, so he delegated some of his authority. Here’s what the org chart looked like:
Of course Darius was the King at the top of the food chain. He established offices for 3 administrators who would manage 120 satraps. I guess the satraps were like regional governors who would report to the 3 administrators who would report to King Darius.
Daniel was one of the 3 administrators. He must have been good because King Darius was considering reorganizing and placing Daniel above the administrators. Well, this news certainly was not popular with the administrators and satraps who were passed over. So they hatched a plan to smear Daniel. Surely they could find something that would disqualify him. They didn’t. Daniel was that honorable and of good character. The dissidents admitted that Daniel was professionally impeccable they only hope was to find something wrong with him in his personal life – specifically his faith in God.
So they sprung their trap. They approached King Darius proclaiming “Long live King Darius”! What they really meant was “Short live Daniel”! They proposed that anybody who worshiped any one (or thing for that matter) other than King Darius shall be sentenced to death by being thrown into the lions den.
Well, that’s a hard deal to turn down if you’re the king! So Darius went along. But the administrators and satraps hedged their bets and advised the king to put the decree in writing using a legal technicality in such a way that even the king himself could not repeal it.
The decree went out. Daniel was now in a crisis of faith. If you obeyed the earthly Kings’ decree, it would violate his conscience. If he did not obey the earthly Kings’ decree, he faced certain death.
The next day, Daniel did as he had always done. He went upstairs and opened the window that faced Jerusalem and prayed.
Wait a minute. Went upstairs? Open the window? Are you crazy? Why not pray downstairs – preferably in the closet. If you must go upstairs – a least leave the window shut! Daniel – you can still pray AND preserve your life! Don’t make yourself a target! You can’t serve God if you’re dead!
I don’t know if those thoughts went through Daniels mind, but they would have gone through mine. At the end of the day, I hope that my decision would, like Daniel’s, be based on faith rather than fear.
Sure enough, the satraps bring Daniel before the King with their testimony of his transgression. The King was devastated. He loved Daniel. But the satraps were quick to remind the King that the decree provided for no exceptions. Reluctantly, the King sentenced Daniel adding an interesting remark – “May your God save you”.
I don’t think this was the customary and obligatory remark that we hear from the sentencing bench today. I think he was sincere. Notice that he referred to Daniel’s king as “your” God – not “our” God.
As Daniel was being placed in the lions den, a stone was placed at the entrance to block any path of escape and the king sealed it with his ring. However, the next morning the king went back.
There was no logical reason for Darius to return. The only possible reason is that he had some hope that Daniels’ God had rescued him – faith you might say!
As we know, God rescued Daniel. The King was overjoyed and declared Daniel’s king to be the one and only true God.
All of us will be faced with circumstances that require us to choose between fear and faith. Any choice we make will be problematic. When that time comes, I hope that we will seek inspiration from Daniel’s courage.
When faced with a decision that offers a choice between the lesser of two evils, is your decision going to be based on faith – or fear?
2 Timothy 1:7 (KJV)
7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
That’s what I think. I’m interested in your thoughts. There’s lots of ways to hit me up so let me hear from you.
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