We’ve got your daily encouragement, written by Bruce Sampson.
“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. He got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously. 11 Then these men came by agreement and found Daniel making petition and plea before his God. 12 Then they came near and said before the king, concerning the injunction, ‘O king! Did you not sign an injunction, that anyone who makes petition to any god or man within thirty days except to you, O king, shall be cast into the den of lions?’ The king answered and said, ‘The thing stands fast, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be revoked.’ 13 Then they answered and said before the king, ‘Daniel, who is one of the exiles from Judah, pays no attention to you, O king, or the injunction you have signed, but makes his petition three times a day.’“
What comes to mind when you think of the word “rebel”? Do you think of a sick leather jacket from the 80’s? Maybe it’s some celebrity yet again on the headlines for their display of public misconduct? Unless you prefer the Johnny Lawrence signature look, my guess is that you would typically avoid identifying with the extreme sense of the word.
We know that there are rules that we shouldn’t go against to keep order for the good of all. However, what do we do when we don’t agree with the rules because they are unlawful or go against what we believe? Before considering how we could rebel, let’s look at what it means to have courage.
Courage is not built on rebellion but on faithfulness. Faithfulness actually comes from placing trust in something or someone outside of our own impulses. While living as an exile from the Babylonian empire, Daniel maintains trust in God by keeping to his Israelite practices of faith and Jewish identity. His foreign peers tried to test his allegiance to his God by issuing a law against serving any other god or human being other than the king in power at that time.
Where Daniel’s rebellion would have been justified, his courage to have faith in God remained even despite the consequence of death. 1 Peter 3:17 says, “For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil.” “If it is God’s will.”
Who’s will are we acting upon when we rebel? It’s easy to assume our position is right, but are we actually considering God’s will over our own? One thing that we learn from Daniel’s response to his conquering adversaries is that by choosing what is right in the Lord’s sight, we build courage on the God whose will is made perfect. The same will that sent his son Jesus to die for us in love when there were many reasons he could have rebelled, too. If God is for us in this way, what better place is there to place our courage?
God help me to see your perfect will in my life. Even when I don’t understand I want the courage to faithfully trust in you. Thank you Jesus for the love you had for me despite my rebellious heart. I receive your forgiveness to be set free from my sins. It’s in your name that I pray, amen.
Discuss these questions either on your own or with a group:
- What are you going through in your life now that is currently testing your impulse to rebel?
- What do you know is God’s will that is difficult to believe in the face of your circumstances?
- Where can you start today in building your courage in Christ who suppressed his need to rebel in order to save us from sin?
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