Tuesday, June 14, 2011

June 14, 2011 … Integrity Endures Criticism

Passage of the Day: Daniel 3: 8 – 12 … 8 At this time some astrologers came forward and denounced the Jews. 9 They said to King Nebuchadnezzar, "O king, live forever! 10 You have issued a decree, O king, that everyone who hears the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes and all kinds of music must fall down and worship the image of gold, 11 and that whoever does not fall down and worship will be thrown into a blazing furnace. 12 But there are some Jews whom you have set over the affairs of the province of Babylon—Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego—who pay no attention to you, O king. They neither serve your gods nor worship the image of gold you have set up."

My Journal for Today: Strong stands by God’s leaders, when they encounter the public arena, what we Christians call, “The World,” will almost always yield opposition and may involve outright rejection or even persecution (depending on the worldly power of the opposition). Today’s passage is a good example, involving Daniel’s three young Hebrew friends who had become prominent in the King’s government, incurring jealousy from the Babylonian court elite. The existing, and likely older, officials of the Chaldean government had no doubt been on a slow boil of jealousy for quite some time; and finally, they hatched a plot to bring down these three talented Hebrew youths (see Dan. 2: 49). In today’s text we see that plot beginning to unfold, illustrating how a Godly (i.e., in our case “Christians”) world view can generate criticism and counter-cultural wrath.

In the context of our post-modern world, a Christian leader can expect that the proclamation of the Gospel message, or often merely the Name of “Christ,” will be repugnant to our humanistic culture and power structure. Jesus, Himself, said, “If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you (John 15: 20);” which was also Paul’s warning to Timothy (2nd Tim. 3: 12). It’s a given social construct. Proclaim “CHRIST” openly in our world; and you will be rejected, mocked, or persecuted. The world preaches, through hypocrisy, a doctrine of “tolerance;” yet, it is most intolerant of the one Person who was the most tolerant in His mercy and the least tolerant of our hypocrisy ... i.e., ... Christ..

So, since we’re focusing on Christian integrity this month, be forewarned! If you are a Christian called to lead the cause of Christ; … and you hold, with integrity to your faith, you can expect the non-believing public, and especially the worldly power structure, will ridicule or revile your stand; and they will do all they can to block what you say or to bring you down personally or politically. For a lesson in these tactics all we have to do is see how organizations today like the ACLU or the People for the American Way treat Christian political action groups like the The American Family Association, the Family Research Council, or ministries like Focus on the Family, which loudly proclaim the Gospel and Christian family values to a very hostile world.

BUT, we must never forget that God will never forsake His own (see Heb. 13: 5); and His word and truth will never come up void for His purposes (Isaiah 55: 11). And beyond this, our Lord is always greater than those representing the world and fomented by Satan (1st John 4: 4; Romans 8: 31).

So, those called to lead, as were Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, or maybe people like you must, with integrity, lead … and lead us to victory.

My Prayer Today: Today, Lord, if called to do so, I will stand for You! Amen


Dennis Rutledge said...

Great lesson, but yours always are so good. Thank you for being so open to the Spirit and sharing it with us.

Bill said...

Humbled by your feedback ... thanks, so much!!! Bill