“‘Look!’ he answered, ‘I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire; and they are not hurt, and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God” – Daniel 3:25
Note: What follows is the manuscript for a three part study I did leading up to election day. I am including the entire study in hopes it will encourage us to take a stand and and take action in the political process and ultimately, to be used by the Lord for His glory during this time in our nation.
The account of Meshach, Shadrach, and Abednego being thrown into the fiery furnace by the Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar is a well-known and love Bible story. But it’s not just a story, it’s true. This really happened. That’s important to understand. But more importantly is to understand that “Bible stories,” were never meant to just feed curiosity or entertain us. The accounts of events in Biblical history were given to us by God to instruct us in blessed right living according to God our Creator. Paul was inspired to put it like this:
- Romans 15:4 – 4 For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.
- 1 Corinthians 10:6 – 6 Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted.
- 2 Timothy 3:16–17 – 16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
In light of these scriptures, what do we learn from the fiery furnace in the book of Daniel? What do we learn that can be applied to life?
The Parallels between Daniel and Us
There are many parallels that can be drawn from what Daniel and his three friends experienced in the book of Daniel, to us and our circumstances in life. Let’s look at them.
First, the book of Daniel provides an account of the life of God’s people in exile – we live in exile in the sense that this earth is not our home; we are pilgrims just passing through. The exile of Israel was disciplinary and temporary. Our stay on earth is an environment where we learn the disciplines of reaping what we sow (e.g. Gal. 6:7-9), and it is also temporary.
The Bible states we are pilgrims, sojourners, travelers just passing through this temporal life. It says this in reference to the saints of the Old Testament (Hebrews 11:13). And it says this regarding New Testament saints (1 Peter 1:1; 2:11).
Our true citizenship is with God in His household (Eph. 2:19). Out true citizenship is in heaven (Philippians 3:17-20). Because of that, we live in light of eternity, not shortsightedly or superficially for only the here and now (Phil. 2 and 3). In light of this, we too are living in a kind of exile. There’s a good quote that sums up what our attitude should be in this world: “This one life will soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last. And when I am dying how happy I’ll be, if the lamp of my life has been burned out for Thee” – C.T. Studd, missionary to China.
“Thy kingdom come.” Government that is holy, that is what it ought to be, will only be realized when God’s kingdom comes to earth with Jesus as our King (Revelation 20). This kingdom is prophetically described in the book of Daniel where it states:
- Daniel 7:9–10 – “I watched till thrones were put in place, And the Ancient of Days was seated; His garment was white as snow, And the hair of His head was like pure wool. His throne was a fiery flame, its wheels a burning fire; 10A fiery stream issued and came forth from before Him. A thousand thousands ministered to Him; Ten thousand times ten thousand stood before Him. The court was seated, And the books were opened.
- Daniel 7:13–14 – “I was watching in the night visions, and behold, One like the Son of Man, Coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought Him near before Him. 14 Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, And His kingdom the one Which shall not be destroyed.
Of course, this kingdom will be preceded by the atoning death on the cross of Messiah Jesus and resurrection (Daniel 9:25-26). He will one day return. Daniel was given a glimpse of Jesus in His glorified state (Daniel 10:4-9; compare with Revelation 1 description of Jesus).
Jesus taught us to pray for the coming of God’s Kingdom (e.g. Matthew 6; Luke 11). Until then, all governments are fallen and flawed. But what do we do until God’s Kingdom comes? Daniel and his three friends provide instruction for us in this area of life.
Second, Daniel and his three friends lived under a foreign government – we live under a foreign government inasmuch as it does not follow the Law of God. Babylon where Israel was exiled was a monarchy, a kingship system of government. It served foreign gods and its views of right and wrong and “justice,” were much different than the Laws of God. This created a conflict for God’s people living under a foreign government with a different set of values.
Third, for Daniel and his three friends, living under a foreign government was testing. The book of Daniel is an account about the tests experienced by Daniel and his three friends who serve as representative children of God. They are constantly tested and challenged to compromise their beliefs. Similarly, the government we live under and society we live in, is constantly testing us to compromise our biblical beliefs in God.
Fourth, the system of government in which Daniel and his three friends were placed was restrictive and imposing – we live under government influence that is inclined to restrict and not free us. The governmental system under which the exiles lived was something they needed to adapt to in order to survive. They could staunchly rebel and likely die, or they could learn to work within the system in a way that did not compromise their godly God-given values. Daniel and his friends chose the latter, they worked within that system cooperatively, but resisted any governmental impositions that would have meant they break God’s Law.
Similarly, we are to work within the system of government God sovereignly places us and do so cooperatively. But when this worldly system of government conflicts with God and His word, we are to resist and obey God rather than men (Acts 5:29).
The Lessons We Learn from Daniel – Adapt/Survive/Thrive
There is much to be learned and applied to life from the Book of Daniel. This book depicts how captives adapt, survive, thrive. To adapt, survive and thrive is what God would have for us as we examine this portion of scripture. Let’s see what we can learn from Daniel.
First, in this world, under foreign government, we will be tested – Daniel 1: re-naming and the dietary test. From the first chapter of Daniel, he and his three friends we tempted and challenged to compromise. This first challenge came in the diet imposed on them. Newly placed under Babylonian rule, they were presented with food that would have “defiled” them (Daniel 1:1-8). We don’t know what the food was, but it tested Daniel and the other’s resolve to remain true to God in some way. They did not compromise and invited their foreign rulers to test them to see if their way wasn’t better than this foreign way. And they passed that test! (Daniel 1:8-21).
Similarly, we live in a fallen world system that is constantly challenging us to compromise. And similarly, we must not compromise but present ourselves to those around us as examples of God’s better ways.
How did Daniel and how do we adapt in such a testing environment? First, we need to accept the fact that we will be tested. We need to expect that we are going to be challenged. Then, with that understanding, we need to be prepared. We need to be certain of our beliefs; we need to know what we believe. And we need to know where we can compromise and where we cannot compromise. Here are some verses that express this:
- 1 Corinthians 9:19–23 – 19 For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more; 20 and to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law; 21 to those who are without law, as without law (not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without law; 22 to the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. 23 Now this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I may be partaker of it with you.
When Paul says, “I have become all things to all men,” he isn’t speaking of compromising God’s truth in any way, he is speaking about empathy, and a willingness to cooperate and see things from different perspectives, fully confident that the gospel and truth of God will be proven superior and trustworthy when compared and contrasted with alternatives of this world. That is what Daniel and his friends did in that very first chapter of Daniel. They received their new names with no resistance (1:7):
- To Daniel which means in Hebrew God is my Judge, was given the Babylonian name of Belteshazzar which means Bel (i.e. Marduk, the most powerful god of the Babylonians) protect his life!
- To Hananiah which means in Hebrew God has favored, was given the Babylonian name Shadrach which means command of Aku (Sumerian moon god).
- To Mishael which means in Hebrew who is what God is, was given the Babylonian name Meshach which means who is what Aku is? (Reference to another foreign god).
- To Azariah which means in Hebrew Jehovah has helped, was given the Babylonian name Abed-Nego which means servant of Nebo (a foreign god).
We see in their renaming that they adapted to their situation; they gave no resistance to this renaming when it is imposed. What we do see that Daniel and his friends do not refer to each other by their foreign names (e.g. Daniel 2:17), only their foreign captors refer to them with these names.
Next, when challenged with the foreign diet, they understandingly submitted themselves to a test of their ways, and God came through to prove them right. They were willing to be tested. They were confident in what they believed and what they practiced. That’s a good lesson for us.
- 1 Peter 3:15–16 – 15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; 16 having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed.
These inspired words speak to us about establishing Jesus in our heart and being able and willing to “give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you.” We are to do that “with meekness and fear,” or reverently. We are to maintain, “a good conscience” or not resort to manipulations, half truths and outright lying like the world often resorts to. And when we do that, when the world tries to “defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed.” That’s exactly what we see throughout the book of Daniel.
Second, in this world, under foreign government, we have something to offer – Daniel 2: interpreting the king’s dream. In Daniel chapter 2 king Nebuchadnezzar has a dream that greatly troubled him. He sought out understanding from his paid wise men but they were at a loss unable to know what the dream was or give an interpretation (Daniel 2:1-13). The king insisted that his wise men tell him what the dream was, (if they were all they purported to be and being paid by him they should be able to know his dream without him telling them – they were being tested), and then interpret it. This they could not do. Infuriated by their ineptitude, Nebuchadnezzar decreed that unless his wise men could tell him his dream and interpret it, they would be executed.
Now this decree also threatened Daniel and his three friends. So, after asking the king for a stay of execution, Daniel and the three went to prayer (Daniel 2:14-16). And God gave Daniel revelation about the king’s dream and what it meant. The account records:
Daniel 2:19–23 (NKJV)
19 Then the secret was revealed to Daniel in a night vision. So Daniel blessed the God of heaven.
20 Daniel answered and said:
“Blessed be the name of God forever and ever,
For wisdom and might are His.
21 And He changes the times and the seasons;
He removes kings and raises up kings;
He gives wisdom to the wise
And knowledge to those who have understanding.
22 He reveals deep and secret things;
He knows what is in the darkness,
And light dwells with Him.
23 “I thank You and praise You,
O God of my fathers;
You have given me wisdom and might,
And have now made known to me what we asked of You,
For You have made known to us the king’s demand.”
Daniel then went before king Nebuchadnezzar to tell him of his dream and interpretation, and when he did, he didn’t take credit for what he had learned but instead shared the reason and Source of his insight to the king by saying:
- Daniel 2:27–30 – 27 Daniel answered in the presence of the king, and said, “The secret which the king has demanded, the wise men, the astrologers, the magicians, and the soothsayers cannot declare to the king. 28 But there is a God in heaven who reveals secrets, and He has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will be in the latter days. Your dream, and the visions of your head upon your bed, were these: 29 As for you, O king, thoughts came to your mind while on your bed, about what would come to pass after this; and He who reveals secrets has made known to you what will be. 30 But as for me, this secret has not been revealed to me because I have more wisdom than anyone living, but for our sakes who make known the interpretation to the king, and that you may know the thoughts of your heart.
Notice Daniel gives all the credit and glory to God and deflects any credit from himself. Daniel had insight that even an earthly king and his wise men did not have. In the same way, we have insight from God and His word that even people in the highest positions of this world do not have.
With God’s word in hand and heart, and led by the Holy Spirit, we are more than adequate and equipped to provide insight and truth to the people of this world.
- Psalm 119:97–101 – מ Mem – 97Oh, how I love Your law! It is my meditation all the day. 98You, through Your commandments, make me wiser than my enemies; For they are ever with me. 99I have more understanding than all my teachers, For Your testimonies are my meditation. 100I understand more than the ancients, Because I keep Your precepts. 101I have restrained my feet from every evil way, That I may keep Your word.
- 2 Timothy 3:14–17 – 14 But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, 15 and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
God’s word is a valuable tool from God to provide direction in this fallen sinful world. The greatest direction, of course, is God’s gospel and plan of salvation in Jesus Christ (cf. Romans). But Jesus promised that such salvation from sin through faith in Him would lead to abundant life, eternal life (John 10:10). That is something worth sharing with a lost world. That is something that is relevant to every facet of life.
Dealing with Defeat and Captivity
Daniel was taken into captivity with the rest of God’s people. It was a terrible time of national defeat and of questioning “why?” Those in captivity were thinking, “why has this happened to us? Why has God allowed this to happen to us?” It was a humbling time for all Israel.
When we’re humbled and even defeated, taken captive, questioning “why?” In life, how do we respond? How should we respond? We should respond like Daniel did. Daniel went to the word of God in prayer. In Daniel 9 we see a perfect example of this.
When Daniel went to the word of God in prayer, these questions were answered.
First, God’s answer to “Why this had happened?” was that the captivity happened as a consequence of not abiding by their covenant with God. Daniel was directed to the Books of Moses (Daniel 9:13ff.; I.e. the Pentateuch). It is there he was reminded of God’s warnings that if his people didn’t stay true to God, God promised defeat and captivity. In Deuteronomy 28-29 covenantal blessings and curses were pronounced before God’s people:
Deuteronomy 28:1–2 – “Now it shall come to pass, if you diligently obey the voice of the Lord your God, to observe carefully all His commandments which I command you today, that the Lord your God will set you high above all nations of the earth. 2 And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, because you obey the voice of the Lord your God:
Deuteronomy 28:15 – 15 “But it shall come to pass, if you do not obey the voice of the Lord your God, to observe carefully all His commandments and His statutes which I command you today, that all these curses will come upon you and overtake you:
Deuteronomy 28:33–34 – 33 A nation whom you have not known shall eat the fruit of your land and the produce of your labor, and you shall be only oppressed and crushed continually. 34 So you shall be driven mad because of the sight which your eyes see.
Deuteronomy 28:45–52 – 45 “Moreover all these curses shall come upon you and pursue and overtake you, until you are destroyed, because you did not obey the voice of the Lord your God, to keep His commandments and His statutes which He commanded you. 46 And they shall be upon you for a sign and a wonder, and on your descendants forever. 47 “Because you did not serve the Lord your God with joy and gladness of heart, for the abundance of everything, 48 therefore you shall serve your enemies, whom the Lord will send against you, in hunger, in thirst, in nakedness, and in need of everything; and He will put a yoke of iron on your neck until He has destroyed you. 49 The Lord will bring a nation against you from afar, from the end of the earth, as swift as the eagle flies, a nation whose language you will not understand, 50 a nation of fierce countenance, which does not respect the elderly nor show favor to the young. 51 And they shall eat the increase of your livestock and the produce of your land, until you are destroyed; they shall not leave you grain or new wine or oil, or the increase of your cattle or the offspring of your flocks, until they have destroyed you. 52 “They shall besiege you at all your gates until your high and fortified walls, in which you trust, come down throughout all your land; and they shall besiege you at all your gates throughout all your land which the Lord your God has given you.
Deuteronomy 28:63–67 – 63 And it shall be, that just as the Lord rejoiced over you to do you good and multiply you, so the Lord will rejoice over you to destroy you and bring you to nothing; and you shall be plucked from off the land which you go to possess. 64 “Then the Lord will scatter you among all peoples, from one end of the earth to the other, and there you shall serve other gods, which neither you nor your fathers have known—wood and stone. 65 And among those nations you shall find no rest, nor shall the sole of your foot have a resting place; but there the Lord will give you a trembling heart, failing eyes, and anguish of soul. 66 Your life shall hang in doubt before you; you shall fear day and night, and have no assurance of life. 67 In the morning you shall say, ‘Oh, that it were evening!’ And at evening you shall say, ‘Oh, that it were morning!’ because of the fear which terrifies your heart, and because of the sight which your eyes see.
Deuteronomy 29:24–28 – 24 All nations would say, ‘Why has the Lord done so to this land? What does the heat of this great anger mean?’ 25 Then people would say: ‘Because they have forsaken the covenant of the Lord God of their fathers, which He made with them when He brought them out of the land of Egypt; 26 for they went and served other gods and worshiped them, gods that they did not know and that He had not given to them. 27 Then the anger of the Lord was aroused against this land, to bring on it every curse that is written in this book. 28 And the Lord uprooted them from their land in anger, in wrath, and in great indignation, and cast them into another land, as it is this day.’
This is what happened. The captivity of God’s people was due to their forsaking the LORD. At the time that the LORD gave these words to Moses, it was prophetic. The LORD knew they would forsake Him. And that is what they did. But the LORD also included the means of restoration in His words to Moses saying:
Deuteronomy 30 –
Now it shall come to pass, when all these things come upon you, the blessing and the curse which I have set before you, and you call them to mind among all the nations where the Lord your God drives you, 2 and you return to the Lord your God and obey His voice, according to all that I command you today, you and your children, with all your heart and with all your soul, 3 that the Lord your God will bring you back from captivity, and have compassion on you, and gather you again from all the nations where the Lord your God has scattered you. 4 If any of you are driven out to the farthest parts under heaven, from there the Lord your God will gather you, and from there He will bring you. 5 Then the Lord your God will bring you to the land which your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it. He will prosper you and multiply you more than your fathers. 6 And the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live.
7 “Also the Lord your God will put all these curses on your enemies and on those who hate you, who persecuted you. 8 And you will again obey the voice of the Lord and do all His commandments which I command you today. 9 The Lord your God will make you abound in all the work of your hand, in the fruit of your body, in the increase of your livestock, and in the produce of your land for good. For the Lord will again rejoice over you for good as He rejoiced over your fathers, 10 if you obey the voice of the Lord your God, to keep His commandments and His statutes which are written in this Book of the Law, and if you turn to the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.
11 “For this commandment which I command you today is not too mysterious for you, nor is it far off. 12 It is not in heaven, that you should say, ‘Who will ascend into heaven for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ 13 Nor is it beyond the sea, that you should say, ‘Who will go over the sea for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ 14 But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may do it.
15 “See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil, 16 in that I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments, His statutes, and His judgments, that you may live and multiply; and the Lord your God will bless you in the land which you go to possess. 17 But if your heart turns away so that you do not hear, and are drawn away, and worship other gods and serve them, 18 I announce to you today that you shall surely perish; you shall not prolong your days in the land which you cross over the Jordan to go in and possess. 19 I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; 20 that you may love the Lord your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days; and that you may dwell in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them.”
Now this circumcision of the heart spoken of here would be reiterated by God through Jeremiah (Jeremiah 32:39) and Ezekiel (Ezekiel 11:19; 36:26). This circumcision of the heart is most fully realized through the gospel of Jesus Christ and work of the Holy Spirit. In the New Testament this circumcision is not of the flesh of the foreskin, but it is a circumcision of the heart. The New Testament takes God’s people beyond a mere outward sign of ownership to an inward work of the Spirit:
- Romans 2:28–29 – 28 For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh; 29 but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God.
- Philippians 3:3 – 3 For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh,
- Colossians 2:11–12 – 11 In Him you were also circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, 12 buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.
This is a bit of a digression from our study, but its an important one. The main problem for all humanity from the beginning has been and remains, a heart problem. And only by God’s grace through faith in Jesus can our hearts be changed.
Second, Daniel was directed to the prophetic words of Jeremiah (see Daniel 9:1ff.; esp. 9:2) where he received instruction about, “What should we do while in captivity?” There, in Jeremiah 29 it stated in verse 7 that while in captivity they should seek the welfare of their captors that it would also go well with them.
Therefore, like Daniel, we learn what to do until Jesus’ return and rescue. We are to seek the welfare of our captors so to speak:
- Jeremiah 29:7 – “And seek the peace of the city where I have caused you to be carried away captive, and pray to the Lord for it; for in its peace you will have peace.”
How do we “seek the peace” of the city where we’ve been taken? “Peace” here translates the Hebrew word Shalom which means more than just cessation from war. Shalom means overall welfare, wealth, health, prosperity, peace in every way. This wasn’t the first health and wealth gospel! It was simply an instruction to seek the good for those around you. It meant to be productive; be a blessing to others. It was more of a kind of “love your neighbor as you love yourself” (Leviticus 19:18; cf. also Mat. 19:19; 22:39; Mark 12:31; Luke 10:27). This command to love your neighbor was second only to loving God supremely! (Cf. Matthew 22:37-39).
In the New Testament, Jesus said we should not only love our neighbor, but love our enemy! (Cf. Matthew 5:43-48). Therefore, what do we learn from Daniel about living in the present fallen world? What do we learn about living in enemy territory?
From the Book of Daniel, we see being a blessing to others involved two things:
- It involved being a witness of God to your captors (e.g. Daniel 2:1-45; 3; 6).
- It involved serving in and under the governmental system of his captors (e.g. Daniel 2:46-49).
Therefore, this is what we should do too. We should witness to those around us, wherever God has placed us. We are to use our secular position as a platform to be ambassadors for Christ (e.g. 2 Cor. 5:20-21).
It also means we should work for the “peace” or general welfare of the people in the secular community. For us this would include working in and cooperating with the government and the laws of the land where we are (cf. Romans 13). This would include voting in our system of democracy in our Federal Republic.
Third, the next question answered by God was, “How long would the captivity last?” Further study of Jeremiah 29 speaks of the duration of the captivity which was stated to be limited to 70 years (Jeremiah 29:10; cf. also Jeremiah 25:1, 11, and 12). The captivity would not go on forever; it was limited; there was an end to it; therefore, there was hope. God wasn’t finished with His people. He promised a future and a hope:
- Jeremiah 29:10–14 – 10For thus says the Lord: After seventy years are completed at Babylon, I will visit you and perform My good word toward you, and cause you to return to this place. 11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. 12 Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you, says the Lord, and I will bring you back from your captivity; I will gather you from all the nations and from all the places where I have driven you, says the Lord, and I will bring you to the place from which I cause you to be carried away captive.
These are words full of hope even for us! God really does have a plan for our lives. In the New Testament it states:
- Ephesians 2:10 – 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
We are God’s poetry. We are like a literary work of His, a book, a book with many chapters. If you’re feeling defeated and discouraged just remember, He’d not finished writing.
Historically, there’s another lesson to be learned here. When it came time for Gods people to return, only a small relative remnant chose to leave captivity and return to their homes and in particular Jerusalem (cf. Ezra and Nehemiah). Many had become so assimilated and comfortable in captivity, g these they preferred it to their homes in the Promised Land! Even those who did return had a bad attitude. Through the prophet Haggai God rebuked His people for their sinful attitudes (cf. Haggai 1-2).
We too need to guard against falling in love with this world. The Bible says loving this world saps the love of God right out of us (1 John 2:15-17). We need to guard against seeking the peace of this world so much, that we lose our desire to leave when the time comes (cf. Romans 13:11-14; 2 Peter 3:10-18). We are to be in the world but not of the world (Ephesians 5:1-21). We need to remember that in this world, we’re more likely to find trouble than peace. True peace is found in Jesus alone (John 16:33). That’s our message as ambassadors of Christ. (See also John 15:18; 17:14-16; Romans 12:2; James 4:4).
Similarly, we are living in a kind of captivity in this world to our sin (Gen. 3; Romans 3). But our captivity is limited; it’s not necessarily forever. In Christ and the gospel, we can find liberation and liberty from this sinful world and our sin (e.g. Galatians 5). Jesus is coming back to remove us (1 Thess. 4:13-18; 5:1ff.), and later we will return with Him to set up a perfect kingdom (Rev. 19-20).
But there’s more!
Lastly, in Daniel 9, Daniel was given a glimpse of the prophetic future. After he was directed back to the inspired words of God in Moses and Jeremiah, Daniel himself received revelation about the future pertaining to his people Israel. Daniel didn’t ask for this. He didn’t expect this. But God has a way of answering our prayers exceedingly abundantly beyond what we hope or think (Eph. 3:20-21). And that’s what God did here.
In Daniel 9, after his heartfelt repentant intercessory prayer on behalf of his people, God spoke to Daniel about 70 years of prophetic plans God had for Israel. This incredible plan included a Messiah, an anti-messiah or Antichrist, and a final deliverance and kingdom (cf. Daniel 9-12).
Toward the end of the Book of Daniel, the prophet is given a glimpse of the future culmination when it states:
- Daniel 12:1–3 – “At that time Michael shall stand up, the great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people; And there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation, Even to that time. And at that time your people shall be delivered, every one who is found written in the book. 2And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, Some to everlasting life, Some to shame and everlasting contempt. 3Those who are wise shall shine Like the brightness of the firmament, and those who turn many to righteousness Like the stars forever and ever.
How does this affect us? We can see what the future holds and plan accordingly. And God has given us more details in the gospels (e.g. Matthew 24-25), and the book of Revelation. In Revelation 1:3 we are told that reading the Book of Revelation of Jesus Christ brings a blessing. Therefore, as Daniel found, we should be students of prophecy. Having a hunger and thirst for Gods prophetic word is a fruit and product of prayer and studying Gods word, just like with Daniel. The more you pray and study Gods word, the more you’ll thirst fir and have interest in, the last days, the culmination of things, and the return of Jesus, the establishment of His Kingdom, and Gods climactic culminating conclusion for us and all His creation.
So, do you understand why things are the way they are? Do you understand there is a consequence to disregarding and disobeying God’s word? Are you seeking the peace (shalom) of those around you? But are you also ready for the return of Christ? Are you praying and studying and living out, Gods word? I pray you are. Let’s pray for each other to have that perfect balance in life and a readiness for Jesus’ return. Amen? Amen! In Jesus’ name. Amen.
The Lessons We Learn from Daniel – Adapt/Survive/Thrive contd.
Third, in this world, under a foreign government, we can be involved and we can use the system to thrive – Daniel 2:46-49. As a result of their God-given insight and help to the king, they were rewarded and promoted to government positions which Daniel and the three accepted. Daniel that the three friends did not reject working within the foreign governmental system. They had not only adapted and survived, now they would begin to thrive in their foreign environment.
Similarly, we are instructed in scripture to work within and cooperate with governments where God sovereignly places us. In fact, God tells us that there is no government that He has not allowed to be in place (Romans 13). We are instructed by God to submit to earthly governments (1 Peter 2:13-17). We are to cooperate with the laws of the land and governments, as long as they do not demand we break God’s law or our relationship with Him (Acts 5:29).
In the New Testament the Apostle Paul demonstrates working within the governmental system of Rome by referring to the laws of citizenship rights to secure permission to speak to the crowd assembled against him (Acts 21:37-40). Later he appealed to his right as a Roman citizen to avoid a scourging (Acts 22:22-29). Paul used his status as a citizen of Rome to gain a hearing before governor Felix and governor Festus (Acts 23-24), and later before king Agrippa where he is given opportunity to share his testimony and exhort these government leaders to come to Christ! (Acts 25:13-26:32). Paul even used his citizenship to secure travel to Rome and be seen by Caesar! (Acts 25:10-12). Paul used the system of government for the furtherance of the gospel! (Acts 27-28). If Paul used the earthly government rights of his day to further the gospel, shouldn’t we also?
Fourth, in this world, under a foreign government, we should not compromise even if our life is threatened by those in power – Daniel 3. Governments and rulers do not take kindly to disobeying their rule and commands. In Daniel 3, in response to the prophetic dream about successive world empires, Nebuchadnezzar defies God’s revelation of future kingdoms. Instead, as a defiant symbol that his kingdom would never end, Nebuchadnezzar constructs a 90-foot tall gold image of himself as opposed to the four part / four kingdom image God showed him in a dream. Then he appointed a day in which when music was played everyone throughout the land was to bow to him. Anyone who refused to bow to the king, would be thrown into a fiery furnace (Daniel 3:1-15).
Meshach, Shadrach, and Abednego knew they could not bow or pay homage to anyone but God. They would not, they could not compromise their faith in this way. And so, they disobeyed the king’s command telling him to his face:
- Daniel 3:16–18 – 16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. 17 If that is the case, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and He will deliver us from your hand, O king. 18 But if not, let it be known to you, O king, that we do not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image which you have set up.”
The king didn’t take this very well and heated the furnace up seven times hotter than normal and had the three thrown into it bound. But instead of being burned alive, all three were unaffected by the fire. Instead a fourth person, “like the Son of God,” joined them and they were preserved (Daniel 3:19-25). So impressed was the king when this happened that he blessed the God of the three and decreed that no one in his kingdom was allowed to speak “anything amiss” against their God and if anyone did speak ill of their God it was punishable by being cut to pieces (Daniel 3:26-30).
Fifth, people in power, even kings, can come to the LORD because of our involvement in government – Daniel 4. At the end of Daniel three King Nebuchadnezzar paid lip-service to “the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego” (Daniel 3:29-30). But there was apparently no heartfelt commitment from the king toward the LORD. Therefore, God sent him another dream; a dream to humble him. Again the king seeks the interpretation and counsel to understand the dream. Nebuchadnezzar acknowledged that “the Spirit of the Holy God” was in him (Daniel 4:2, 18). The dream was of a great tree that was cut down, and the tree, was representative of king Nebuchadnezzar! (Daniel 4:22). It was a call to repentance! Nebuchadnezzar would be humbled for twelve months (Daniel 4:29). Daniel counselled the king, “Therefore, O king, let my advice be acceptable to you; break off your sins by being righteous, and your iniquities by showing mercy to the poor. Perhaps there may be a lengthening of your prosperity” (Daniel 4:27).
What affect did this dream and interpretation have on king Nebuchadnezzar? At first he rejected this call to repent (Daniel 4:30). But as soon as he did it states:
- Daniel 4:31–33 – 31 While the word was still in the king’s mouth, a voice fell from heaven: “King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken: the kingdom has departed from you! 32 And they shall drive you from men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. They shall make you eat grass like oxen; and seven times shall pass over you, until you know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever He chooses.” 33 That very hour the word was fulfilled concerning Nebuchadnezzar; he was driven from men and ate grass like oxen; his body was wet with the dew of heaven till his hair had grown like eagles’ feathers and his nails like birds’ claws.
God intervened in the life of the king to humble him and bring him to repentance. And God can be pretty persuasive.
When all was said and done, the king himself recorded:
- Daniel 4:34-37 – 34 And at the end of the time I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my understanding returned to me; and I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever: For His dominion is an everlasting dominion, And His kingdom is from generation to generation. 35All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing; He does according to His will in the army of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth. No one can restrain His hand or say to Him, “What have You done?” 36 At the same time my reason returned to me, and for the glory of my kingdom, my honor and splendor returned to me. My counselors and nobles resorted to me, I was restored to my kingdom, and excellent majesty was added to me. 37 Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, all of whose works are truth, and His ways justice. And those who walk in pride He is able to put down.
That’s a wonderful testimony of a king’s life and heart changed. And it all happened because Daniel and his three friends were there, involved in government, accessible and willing to serve in this high position. When we surrender to God and make ourselves available to serve, even in government, even those in the highest positions of power are not beyond the reach of the Lord.
Sixth, in this world, under foreign government, we should maintain a good reputation with those in power and be willing and available to serve as a go-to person in times of crisis – Daniel 5. When God wrote on the wall during a drunken party of king Belshazzar so that Belshazzar’s knees knocked in terror, none of the wise men could explain what was written with the finger of God. Daniel however, who had a reputation for being one, “in whom is the Spirit of the Holy God,” was called. Daniel’s reputation brought him to an opportunity where God used him to lay the law down to Belshazzar. And Daniel did not compromise the message of God! (Daniel 5:1-31).
Similarly, we should have a good reputation in this world. This is what we saw in 1 Peter when it states:
- 1 Peter 3:15–17 – 15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; 16 having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed. 17 For it is better, if it is the will of God, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.
We need to maintain a good clear conscience, not lowering ourselves to indulging the underhanded, deceptive, compromising tactics of the world. We need to have a clear conscience before the Lord and be willing to suffer if need be for our loyalty to Jesus. That is what we see in Daniel. That is what we should do as well.
We can maneuver the swamp of government in the leading and empowerment of the Holy Spirit (John 14-16; Acts 1 and 2; Romans 8). We should be such well thought of followers of Christ, that our president or other politicians, can call on us to pray, or provide insight and explanations that without God, would not be available. We, like Daniel, should be seen as a reliable resource to those in governmental authority. We serve, without compromise, but our character opens the door to us being able to influence for God’s glory.
Seventh, in this world, under a foreign government, no matter the change in rulers or administrations, we must remain consistent, we cannot compromise – Daniel 6. A second example of not compromising is found later in Daniel when the Babylonians have been replaced by the Medo-Persians. In this situation Daniel refused to obey a decree of king Darius that on a certain day no prayers should be offered to any god except to the king himself otherwise they would be thrown into a den of lions (Daniel 6:4-9). Daniel had rose to prominence in the government of Persia which had defeated the Babylonians (Daniel 6:1-3). But Daniel had a holy habit of praying three times a day to the LORD his God and nothing was going to stop him from doing that. And so, he was found out and thrown into the den of lions. God preserved him through the night by shutting the lion’s mouths (Daniel 6:10-24). This demonstrated the consistency of not compromising regardless of who ruled or what government was in place.
Eighth, in this world, under a foreign government, we need to maintain a close relationship with God; for it is from God that we receive wisdom and revelation for life – Daniel 9 and 10. Daniel had a close relationship with the LORD his God. And God gave him insight into the kingdoms to come as well as Israel. Daniel is referred to as “greatly beloved” by the LORD” (Daniel 9:23; 10:11, 19). Daniel could be involved in politics and foreign government because he was in love with the LORD and was loved by the LORD. God gave Daniel prophet revelation of future kingdoms to come (Daniel 7-8). God gave Daniel detailed prophetic revelation about his people Israel (Daniel 9). God gave Daniel insight into the end times and final glorification of God (Daniel 10-12). Daniel could be involved in government and not swayed or tempted away from the LORD because he was close to the LORD. The same is true of us, we need to stay close to the LORD so that we aren’t swayed by government or political manipulations.
Similarly, we have been given revelation from God in His word, not only for practical godly living now, but He has blessed us with insight into future events. The Book of Revelation begins with the promise:
- Revelation 1:3 – 3 Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is
When we are students of God’s prophetic word, we are blessed, but we are also given insight into future events that can bless others. Remember, what is written I scripture was written to give us hope (Romans 15:4). “Hope” is faith for the future.
Ninth, Daniel used government, he did not depend on government. Daniel worked within the government and political system of his day. But he did not depend on it. Daniel depended on God. He kept the LORD exalted and his priority above everything earthly. We should too.
Government will always seek to be first in life. For the Christian, only God can be first. We seek first God’s kingdom and righteousness, and trust everything else to fall into place (Matthew 6:33-34).
Conclusions About Being in This World Living Under a Foreign Government
What do we learn from Daniel and his three friends? What should our involvement in government and politics be? All of what we saw in Daniel began when upon their introduction to this foreign land of Babylon, Daniel and his three friends took a stand on what we might think was an inconsequential issue, diet (Daniel 1). From there they gained a reputation that put them in a position for Daniel to interpret king Nebuchadnezzar’s dream (Daniel 2). When the king defied God’s prophetic word and Daniel’s three friends stood tall to resist bowing down to the king, God made His second impression on Nebuchadnezzar and Daniel and his three friends were put in government positions (Daniel 3). The king continued his obstinance but through Daniel’s interpretation God humbled the king so that he came to honor the God of Daniel (Daniel 4). This very well might have been a conversion experience for the king. Then with Nebuchadnezzar’s successor Daniel remained consistent and in a prominent position to again b called upon to interpret God’s handwriting on the wall (Daniel 5). In Daniel 6 Daniel demonstrated bravery to resist deviating from his spiritual life and survived the lion’s den (Daniel 6). And Daniel, who remained close to God, received incredible prophetic revelation that would eventually encourage those in captivity as well as people in our day (Daniel 7-12). And just think, it all began with taking a stand on something as simple as the food to be eaten. That should instruct us. Nothing is too small to obey the Lord in. He can use every bit of obedience for His glory. The Book of Daniel is an example of this.
Should Christians be involved in politics?
Politics is a part of life. But since it deals with people in power, with people ruling and taking authority, it is easily corrupted, especially by unbelievers or carnal Christians. Remember, “the flesh profits nothing” (John 6:33; Galatians 5). But having said that, we are instructed by God to be salt and light in every part of life (Matthew 5:13-16). So, what does this mean for us?
Pray for those in authority. Daniel is our example of the importance of prayer (e.g. Daniel 6 and 9). He was willing to be thrown in a lion’s den rather than stop praying. Prayer was essential, an absolute necessity to Daniel. Is prayer that important to you? Would you be willing to suffer loss in order to pray?
Because politics is so given to perversity, we are instructed to pray for our leaders both secular and spiritual (1 Tim. 2:1-7). We are to pray for those in authority, “that we made lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence” (1 Tim. 2:2). The reason for us praying in this way is, “this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior” (1 Tim. 2:3). We are to pray for the salvation of all men, for God, “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim. 2:4). We are to pray that all people come to know Jesus as Savior (1 Tim. 2:5-7).
“Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities.” Government is used by God to maintain order, peace, and bring good. Therefore, the Bible states:
- Romans 13:1–5 – Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. 4 For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. 5 Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake.
- 1 Peter 2:11–17 – 11 Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, 12 having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation. 13 Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, whether to the king as supreme, 14 or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good. 15 For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men—16 as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God. 17 Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.
We should cooperate and work for good as much as we can within the government system God has placed us. We are instructed in God’s word to “be subject,” which means to work within the government system. In our democratic Federal Republic this would include voting as well as serving in this area (Romans 13:1-7; cf. also 1 Peter 2:11-17).
The only exception to cooperation with the government is when it attempts to force us to disobey God. Then along with the Apostles we need to say:
- Acts 4:19–20 – 19 But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. 20 For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.”
- Acts 5:28–29 – 28 saying, “Did we not strictly command you not to teach in this name? And look, you have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this Man’s blood on us!” 29 But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: “We ought to obey God rather than men.
Voting. In our Federal Republic and democratic system, we are given the power and authority of a vote. At the end of the Constitutional Convention of 1787 as Benjamin Franklin was exiting Independence Hall he was asked, “Well doctor, what have we got, a Republic or a Monarchy?” Franklin’s response was, “A Republic if you can keep it.” “If you can keep it” are words that we need to revisit today. A republic is a representative government. The system of our nation is supposed to be government by the people, for the people and of the people. On June 1, 1865, Abraham Lincoln in the closing words of the Gettysburg Address stated, “. . . that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.” As we watch our government act like an amoeba consuming large swaths of society for government control, as the government often enacts laws contrary to the will of the people, we have to wonder is the government still by the people or for the people?
Do we have to sit by and watch our nation degrade and fall further and further into depravity? Is there something we can do, in this world, under this foreign system, to resist the decline and even steer this national ship in the right direction? Yes, there is. God, through our nation, has given us a very practical means of being involved and having influence, a say in what happens to America. We can vote!
What should we base our vote on? Vote for those things and people (candidates) who most closely align with God’s word. As in all of life, we base whatever we do in relation to the governing authorities, on the word of God. We should vote for those who come closest to the truth and righteousness of God’s word. God’s word is always our guide (2 Tim. 2:15; 3:16-17). Here are some examples:
- Vote for those who support life – Life is the most sacred, basic essential gift of God to humanity (Gen. 1-2). Life gives existence and that life begins at conception. Scripture affirms this truth:
- Job 31:15 – Did not He who made me in the womb make them? Did not the same One fashion us in the womb?
- Psalm 22:10 – I was cast upon You from birth. From My mother’s womb You have been My God.
- Psalm 139:13–16 – For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. 14I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well. 15My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. 16 Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them.
- Isaiah 44:24 – Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, And He who formed you from the womb: “I am the Lord, who makes all things, Who stretches out the heavens all alone, Who spreads abroad the earth by Myself;
- Isaiah 49:15 – “Can a woman forget her nursing child, and not have compassion on the son of her womb? Surely they may forget, Yet I will not forget you.
- Jeremiah 1:5 – “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.”
- Luke 1:41–45 – 41 And it happened, when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, that the babe leaped in her womb; and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. 42 Then she spoke out with a loud voice and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! 43 But why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? 44 For indeed, as soon as the voice of your greeting sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. 45 Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfillment of those things which were told her from the Lord.”
War. Included in the area of considering “life” as a voting guide, we should include a consideration for those who will bring or promote war. War, while the government can be justified in waging it (cf. Romans 13), should not be something easily entered into. And those we vote for should be peacemakers. Life is the most important issue since without it, one has no say. To take life is the highest offense for it robs someone of God’s most precious gift. Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (Matthew 5:9). A government ordained by God should set a priority on keeping order and peace.
- Vote for those who bring order – God works in an orderly fashion:
- 1 Corinthians 14:33 – For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.
- 1 Corinthians 14:40 – Let all things be done decently and in order.
Law and order is the role of government and its agents (Rom. 13:4).2
2. Vote for those who lean toward liberty and less government – God created humanity to be free. The kingdoms and governments of this world seek control and power. This is gained at the expense of human freedoms. God created humanity and then gave them freedom to choose (Gen. 2:16-17; cf. also Deut. 30:19; Joshua 24:15; Matthew 11:28; Rev. 22:17). Slavery, or the taking away of freedom, is seen as something wrong and that God delivered His people from (Exodus 20:2). Loss of freedom was a consequence of turning away from God. Loss of freedom was a judgment from God not a blessing of God (Deut. 28:28-29, 33; Judges 2:16-23). Messiah came “to proclaim liberty to the captives” (Isaiah 61:1). The year of Jubilee was put in place by God so that in the seventh year all captives in Israel would be set free (e.g. Lev. 25:10).
Therefore, a purpose of government is to safeguard liberties. Our nation’s founding fathers wanted relief from tyranny. They didn’t want to extricate themselves from one tyrant only to create a new one. Therefore, they designed a government with three branches, Executive, Legislative, and Judicial, that would serve as a check and balance against the abuse of power. And so far, it’s worked relatively well.
The United States Constitution is designed to guard freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of assembly, freedom to petition the government (First Amendment). The Bill of Rights is designed to protect our freedoms. Inasmuch as the tendency of government is to impose its will on its people, we should always be wary of such government overreach and infringements of freedom. We need to remember that our nation was begun with a Declaration of Independence that recognized certain inalienable rights of every person. Now government restrictions freedoms in order to maintain order. But we should be every vigilant of the restrictions of our freedoms by government. As a rule, less is more when it comes to government. We should remember the word of God which states:
- Galatians 5:1 – Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage.
- Galatians 5:13–14 – 13 For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14 For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
We are Christians, who have such instruction from the LORD, are especially equipped to direct our government in the area of liberty and freedom.
3. Vote for those who are just and promote justice – God wants righteousness and justice. The Bible says, “For the LORD loves justice” (Psalm 37:28; cf. also Psalm 10:18; 25:9; 33:5; 37:6). “Righteousness and justice are the foundation of His throne” (Psalm 97:2). Through the prophet Amos God exhorted, “But let justice run down like water, and righteousness like a mighty stream” (Amos 5:24). We are to seek to promote just judges. We are to seek to elect government officials who will legislate just laws.
The one thing we should be wary of is that the “justice” we seek is biblical. We will get off course if the justice we seek comes from a worldly perspective. We need to guard against revenge and bitterness. Vengeance is the Lord’s responsibility (Romans 12:19). And the government “does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil” (Romans 13:4).
4. Vote for those who help the weak – Jesus came to preach to the poor and bind up the brokenhearted, to set free those who are captive in sin and the oppressed (Luke 4:18-19). His purposes should be in mind when we vote.
5. Vote for those who come closest to God’s stewardship – God does not want us in debt, financial or spiritual. The borrower is the slave of the lender (Proverbs 22:7). Jesus sacrificed for the needs of others, to get them out of debt, our government should consider this principle (1 Cor. 8 and 9). It is more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35). But also, work and industry to supply our needs is God’s ordained plan for life:
- 2 Thessalonians 3:10–13 – 10 For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat. 11 For we hear that there are some who walk among you in a disorderly manner, not working at all, but are busybodies. 12 Now those who are such we command and exhort through our Lord Jesus Christ that they work in quietness and eat their own bread. 13 But as for you, brethren, do not grow weary in doing good.
Work and career and vocation is a means of finding meaning in life. We find meaning by living for Jesus in whatever vocation God directs us to in life.
6. Vote for those who provide a good environment to fulfill the Great Commission – Sharing the gospel and seeing people come to eternal life in Christ is our highest calling (Matthew 28:18-20). Therefore, we should vote for those who either promote it, or who hinder it the least.
7. Vote for those who support Israel – God will bless those who bless Israel (Gen. 12:1-4).
There are many other issues in society; too many to cover here. But if we seek the Lord and use His word as our guide, we can be a good influence on the government God has put us under.
The Fiery Furnace
Working in a political system and serving in government in some way can sometimes feel like a fiery furnace. Things can get pretty hot in political discussions and legislation. Political campaigns can create a lot of heat as well. But no matter how hot things get, we need to remember, Jesus is by our side. If we keep Jesus by our side, we will go in the right direction and bring glory to Him.
But politics and government can be a swamp of corruption and vice. Because of that, we need to be watchful. As those called by God with a holy calling, we should see ourselves as watchmen over the nation and its government that God has placed us in. We need to be good stewards of our nation. Some things to watch out for:
- Watch out for dirty politics.
- Watch for deception and misleading practices or propaganda. The devil is a deceiver and where you see deception the devil is at work (John 8:44).
- Guard against what someone says as opposed to what they actually
- Guard against what someone says about someone, as opposed to what the target person actually
- Don’t proceed in anything political without first praying and going to God’s word.
Daniel and his three friends were sent off into exile, by the will of God. Nothing that happened to them surprised the Lord. And even though they were thrown in the fire from time to time, they kept the LORD by their side and so were greatly used by Him for good and for His glory. That should be our objective in political life. We should prayerfully proceed to be what God would have us to be, so that we can do what He wants us to do, for His glory, until Jesus returns. Let’s pray that through. In the power of the Holy Spirit, we will, and we will bring glory to our God.
And one last thing for us to remember:
- Hebrews 12:28–29 – 28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. 29 For our God is a consuming fire.
Never forget that no matter how hot things get in this world under foreign government, our hope is in God’s kingdom coming; a kingdom that cannot be shaken; a kingdom of grace. Until God’s kingdom comes, let us serve God acceptably no matter where we are. And let us always remember, “our God is a consuming fire.” He has consumed our sin in Christ. And one day, this world and all its kingdoms will be consumed in His fire. To that we say, Maranatha! Come Lord Jesus; come quickly!