Series: When Cultures Collide
Topic: Moral Law & Civil Disobedience
August 4, 2002
Introduction: Pledge Of Allegiance
Rise of patriotic fervor over last year
1) acts of terror
-like the firefighter on Time we shroud ourselves in our American identity
-commercial "I am an American" -governmental propaganda to reinforce the ‘spirit’
2) somber Fourth of July celebration.
-wept in remembrance of what our freedom has cost and yet rejoiced in the liberty of that freedom.
3) ‘Day of Completion’ for cleanup at ‘ground zero’
4) culminating in 9th Circuit Court of Appeals’s decision to ban the Pledge of Allegiance and the national uproar to the affront upon our National identity
We are "one nation, under God". Many have said that America has risen in its great prominence (militarily, financially, politically, socially) because God has blessed us and desires to use us for His glory and purpose. This view holds that our spiritual identity and our national identity coincide.
But what happens when our national identity goes head-to-head with our spiritual identity?
Today most men and women believe there is a God (better than 80%); yet only 40% put their faith into action and attend church. Even less pray on a regular basis. And even less read their bibles.
The church today has been marginalized. It is no longer the central focus of mainstream America. America is moving away from the Christian ethic.
-abortion is not murder -it’s now called pro-choice, and family planning
(somebody should tell the fetus that)
-sodomy’s no longer a grotesque sin, -but an alternative lifestyle
-pornography is no longer a demoralizing vice, -but rather ‘adult entertainment’
Envy is in vogue, and selfishness is in style
What indeed do we do when our national identity and our spiritual identity go head-to-head?
Daniel faced this very dilemma. When the laws of my government contrast the laws of God what do I do?
Text: Daniel 6:1-5
Commentary: Once again Daniel’s ‘giftedness’ lands him in a place of prominence.
-‘giftedness’ also generates jealousy among his peers
-so they manipulate the king to declare a new law: for 30 days/ one month the entire populace can only bow down and pray to the king.
What do you do when your loyalty is divided? When you must decide between civil law and moral law?
The answer for Daniel was to ACT appropriately and decisively
A-Allegiance (to God above all)
Daniel realized his greatest allegiance was to God.
vs 5 "Then these men said, "We shall not find any ground for complaint against this Daniel unless we find it in connection with the law of his God." " (RSV)
vs 10 "When Daniel knew that the document had been signed, he went to his house where he had windows in his upper chamber open toward Jerusalem; and he got down upon his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously." (RSV)
Exodus 20:3 "You shall have no other gods before me." (RSV)
Isaiah 43:1 "But now thus says the LORD, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine." " (RSV)