Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The Lions

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.” Daniel 6:5
The story of Daniel being cast into the lion’s den is a common teaching for Sunday schools, vacation Bible studies, and other formats commonly taught to children.

To recap, King Darius was all set to give Daniel charge of his entire kingdom, but the king’s other officials were jealous and set out to destroy him. Since they could find no fault with him, they decided to use his faith in God to destroy him.

They convinced Darius to sign a decree that anyone caught praying to anyone other than the king should be cast into the den of lions.
Daniel continued to pray to God, not just once, but three times a day.

And so, Daniel was thrown to the lions.
The only thing is, God sent an angel who shut the mouths of the lions and Daniel emerged from the lion’s den completely unscathed.

It’s a story of faith and trust in God, and I am struck by its similarity to recent events which just unfolded over the Christmas season.

I’m sure many of you followed the story of Phil Robertson, the patriarch of the most popular show on cable television, Duck Dynasty—and a huge money-maker for the A&E Network.

It was revealed that Mr. Robertson had said in an interview for a men’s magazine that homosexuality was a sin. Robertson, in fact, had almost directly quoted 1 Corinthians 6:9-10.
A&E almost immediately suspended Robertson from the show. The mainstream media set about in a tsunami of self-righteous outrage over this backward hillbilly’s ignorant hate-speech.

The only thing is, Phil did not back down. Nor did his family, who announced they were standing behind him. In effect, they told A&E, “No Phil, no show.”

The controversy went on for days. Cracker Barrel restaurants pulled Duck Dynasty merchandise. The media continued to blast Phil.
Still, Phil and his family did not back down.

What A&E had not counted on is that Phil is not an ignorant, backwards hillbilly. He has a master’s degree in education, and he serves the One True God. A&E, on the other hand, serves the god of money.

Phil and his family had effectively called A&E’s bluff and it was the Robertsons who were holding all the aces. They knew even if all their money disappeared over night (and they are quite wealthy), the God of abundance would provide for them.

Still, the media firestorm raged. 

Charlie Sheen (granted, a very small lion in the world of those who preach modern morality) promised that Phil would find himself “in the crosshairs of a MaSheen style media beat-down” and went on a long name-calling vitriolic rant.

Phil responded by saying he loved all people but he would not “give or back down.”
Then, a funny thing started happening in the middle of all this.

The public stood with Phil.

Cracker Barrel, citing a wave of public reaction in favor of Phil, admitted they had been wrong and put Duck Dynasty items back on the shelves.

Even people who disagreed with Phil asserted his right to freedom of speech.

Then, on the day after Christmas, a very large lion roared his rage. Jesse Jackson himself said Robertson’s comments were, “more offensive” than the bus driver who told Rosa Parks to move to the back of the bus.

Then, a very unusual thing happened. Instead of Jackson’s incendiary comments inciting a new wave of rage, A&E backed down the very next day and dropped its suspension of Robertson.  

Jackson’s comments were largely ignored.

The mouths of the lions had been shut. The Robertson’s faithfulness to God had saved them from being eaten alive and it was their adversaries that paid the price.  I, for one, will continue to be very pleased to watch a show about a functional family with more than one functional father that gives thanks and praise to the God of all creation—and has fun doing it!

Today’s Praise
25 Then King Darius wrote to all the peoples, nations, and languages that dwell in all the earth: “Peace be multiplied to you. 26 I make a decree, that in all my royal dominion people are to tremble and fear before the God of Daniel, for he is the living God, enduring forever; his kingdom shall never be destroyed, and his dominion shall be to the end. 27 He delivers and rescues; he works signs and wonders in heaven and on earth, he who has saved Daniel from the power of the lions.” Daniel 6:25-27 ESV




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