Thursday, February 21, 2013

Save the Soothsayers

For real? 

But that's what Daniel did.  (Yup, Daniel.  As in "Daniel in the lions' den."  That Daniel.)

The story is in Daniel 2.  Nebuchadnezzar had a dream.  He wanted the interpretation.  But he knew the sorcerers and magicians could lie and make up any old explanation for the dream.  So the king said, "You tell me the dream first.  Then tell me what it means."    Of course, they all flipped out.   So the king said, "Kill 'em all." 

Daniel heard.  He too would be executed.  He and his friends prayed.  God told Daniel the dream and what it meant.  So Daniel went to the executioner and said, "Wait!  Don't kill all those magicians.  I will tell the king what he wants to know." 

These dudes didn't deserve to be saved.  They were false prophets.  They were astrologers and fortune tellers.  These were the kind of people that God had told the Israelites to kill when they went into Canaan many centuries earlier.  But here's Daniel in Babylon, saving their hides, showing mercy to them.

There are people who think this country has gone to hell in a handbasket.  I've talked to Christian friends who think that both the nation and the church are in such a pitiful state that it would be better for the destruction to just come and be done with it already.  If the country's going to fall apart, they say, the sooner the better.  That way (they say) the healing can start sooner.  Who cares about salvaging anything (they say)?  Who cares about compromise?  We should stick to our guns and hold out for the ideal.  Wouldn't it be better to wipe out what's been marred and make a fresh start?

But godly Daniel showed mercy to those who didn't deserve it.  Godly Daniel served Nebuchadnezzar who was appointed by God to raze Jerusalem. 

What's that we pray?  That we would have peace in our land so that the word of God "may have free course and be preached to the joy and edifying" of His people?  Maybe the country is falling apart.  Maybe the country doesn't deserve to continue.  Maybe the country spites the Lord.  But does that mean Christians want to see it smashed?  No!  If Christians are to be Christlike, they will pray for mercy for those who don't deserve it, for those who don't appreciate it, for those who will even [sigh] abuse it.  And they will be thankful that the word of God continues to be preached, so that more people might be saved before any catastrophe arrives.

After all, those Magi that came to worship Jesus when He was a baby, those guys learned about the Lord from somewhere.  The Magi had not been wiped out in Daniel's day.  Daniel pleaded for them.  He went on to live a life of suffering in the midst of a country of unbelievers. And five centuries later, we see faith in some of those magicians from The East. 

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