Friday, June 17, 2011

June 17, 2011 … Integrity Incurs the World’s Wrath

Passage of the Day: Daniel 3: 19 – 20 … 19 Then Nebuchadnezzar was furious with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and his attitude toward them changed. He ordered the furnace heated seven times hotter than usual 20 and commanded some of the strongest soldiers in his army to tie up Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego and throw them into the blazing furnace.

My Journal for Today: In today’s passage we read a prototype for worldly leadership reaction when the truth of God is being held up like a mirror in front of those in authority and power like Nebuchadnezzar. It’s predictable! King Nebuchadnezzar looked in the mirror of truth represented by the four Hebrew lads; and he saw himself for who he really was; and the result was anger and reprisal. And that’s what we, as Christians, can expect if we go against the cultural tides these days, especially when the wrath of certain, powerful organizations are confronted, … groups like the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, and the People for the American Way. Buck these self-proclaimed protectors of the status quo; and you will feel the wrath of their anger.

When the ego or authority of ungodly leaders sees a reflection of themselves in God’s mirror of truth, and when the integrity of any strong Christian holds that mirror before these leaders, rage, as was Nebuchadnezzar’s reaction to the three Hebrew lads, is a common, and even expected response. King Nebuchadnezzar went “bonkers” when the three boys, whom he had loved and given favor, challenged him with rejection of his idol, holding onto their faith in God. These faithful boys were God’s mirror of truth; and the King just couldn’t see Godly truth without become defensive in denial and wrathful in reaction.

There have been other similar examples in scripture. Other incidents include the wife of King Herrod, reacting to John, the Baptist (see Mark 6: 19); and there was Saul of Tarsus and his Jewish mob reacting to the witness of Stephen (see Acts 6: 9). And finally, of course, there was the Sanhedrin in Jerusalem becoming totally irrational as they reacted to the Lordship of Jesus during His time of Passion. To me, the latter as well as today’s study are the most salient examples of how the world with likely react to Christian integrity.

What we see in the reaction of Nebuchadnezzar and in these other examples described above is the attitude of Satan, reacting to those who stand up in living worship to the living God. But we know from the outcomes of the situation involving our three Hebrew lads, and even from those who died as martyrs like John, the Baptist, Stephen, and most certainly from Jesus, that no matter what the reaction of the world might be when we stand for Christ, we are overcomers in Him when we do so (see John 16: 33). We become lights shining in the darkness when we stand for God; and our Lord will always be glorified when we do so (see Matt. 5: 16).

My Prayer Today: Lord, I live in You and You in me, no matter how the world reacts. Amen

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