Cooperation or Coercion?


S (Scripture): Daniel 6:14 When the king heard this, he was very upset and began thinking about how he might rescue Daniel. Until late afternoon he was struggling to find a way to rescue him. 15 Then those men came by collusion to the king and said to him, “Recall, O king, that it is a law of the Medes and Persians that no edict or decree that the king issues can be changed.” 16 So the king gave the order, and Daniel was brought and thrown into a den of lions. The king consoled Daniel by saying, “Your God whom you continually serve will rescue you!” 17 Then a stone was brought and placed over the opening to the den. The king sealed it with his signet ring and with those of his nobles so that nothing could be changed with regard to Daniel. 18 Then the king departed to his palace. But he spent the night without eating, and no diversions were brought to him. He was unable to sleep.

O (Observation):  What King Darius had heard was the Daniel was caught praying to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and NOT Darius.   

These other wise men mentioned in the text were advisors to King Darius, much like Daniel himself.   And because of the gift of insight that God shares with Daniel, the others are jealous.  So they collude to setup Daniel.  These other advisors convinced King Darius to make an interdict to prohibit prayer or worship to any God or person, except to King Darius alone.  

Daniel is caught praying, and King Darius is caught in a pickle.   He can’t go back on his interdict – what becomes law must stay law.   But he also respects Daniel.  

The result:   Daniel is thrown in the lion’s den, and King Darius is upset with himself. 

A (Application):  Ever felt coerced by others?   Jesus got this type of coercion all the time, but was able to see through it…able to shift focus of conversations towards what God desires and what God calls him / us to do.  

The political upheaval in this country is palpable.  I know plenty of liberal/progressive friends and plenty of conservative friends.    Both can be pretty outspoken.    

We are all torn by politics as well as compassion.   

I recently attended an event at the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro, just days after the Paris and Beirut attacks.   The event was scheduled for months in advance, and the topic:  The Policital Ideal.  How poignant a topic.  

We heard from the Muslim, Jewish, and Christian perspectives.  Suffice it to say that the conversation was collegial and bridge-building in its nature.  Disagreements stand, but so do friendships.  

I hope that none of us becomes so afraid as to let stand the bigotry that exists between our varied cultures in America.  We are indeed a melting pot.   

Those of us who are part of the body of Christ are called to be compassionate and caring.  We are called to care for the widowed and orphan, the naked and thirsty.  

We don’t need to be mindless about welcoming refugees and rooting out evil, but we also don’t need to be coerced into shutting people out who seek refuge from terrorism.  

Let us be diligent in our security, but let us not allow political power to stand in the way of charity and compassion.  

What are your thoughts about these attacks or the political pressures you see in America?

P (Prayer):  Lord, we lean solely on you for wisdom, and endurance, and grace.   Help us through these difficult times, and remind us that you’ve seen us through already, in the death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.   Amen. 


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