Summary: A look at the life of Daniel; civil disobedience.
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)
Song of Solomon 6:3 "I am his and he is mine."
We must ask ourselves "Does the issue challenge my allegiance to God?" Or, is it mere discomfort.
I am commanded to submit to civil authorities
Romans 13:1-3a,5 "Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore he who resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. . . . Therefore one must be subject, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience." (RSV)
1 Peter 2:13-14 "Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to praise those who do right." (RSV)
Submit-we are to "obey" God alone, but we live under the leadership of human agents and are to respect that leadership. And even pray for them.
1 Timothy 2:1-2 "First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all men, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life, godly and respectful in every way." (RSV)
T-Think prayerfully and deliberately
Daniel didn’t take the issue lightly
-chief of the "administrators" (NIV)
-regents represented the king/king’s authority
-Daniel in charge of them to ensure they do their duties