After Daniel’s lion’s den rescue, King Darius issued an edict to the people of his kingdom. Daniel 6:26 says, ” ‘I issue a decree that in every part of my kingdom people must fear and reverence the God of Daniel. For He is the living God and He endures forever; His kingdom will not be destroyed, His dominion will never end.’ ” Pondering Daniel’s situation before his miraculous rescue by God, it’s hard to imagine that he could feel anything other than powerless.
Sometimes I run across words that express something so well that I have to write them down for safekeeping. That is what follows. This is a quote from Gary W. Moon, Ph.D., in his article “Finding Serenity in Today’s Traumatic Culture of Anger and Contempt: Part II Learning from Jesus and a Black Christian Mystic” (Christian Counseling Today, Vol. 25, No. 1):
It’s a quote within a quote: In Moon’s article, he shares highlights from the book Jesus and the Disinherited by Howard Thurman (author, philosopher, theologian, educator, and civil rights leader). And here’s what got me. Moon reports that Thurman said in an interview that all must consider the “unprecedented empathy of Jesus built on three seldom-pondered realities from His life. The Son of God, charged with bringing healing to the world, chose to enter into humanity from the perspective of three, powerless positions: 1) Jesus was a Palestinian Jew in an occupied land, 2) Jesus chose to be born into poverty… (Jesus’ parents offered the sacrifice of two turtle doves at His dedication – which was allowed in Leviticus if a lamb was beyond the family’s financial means), and 3) Jesus was a member of a minority group whose history included being slaves in a foreign land and living in the midst of a dominant and controlling group.”
Sound familiar? Plastered all over media, approaches that we see in today’s traumatic culture are: “Fight. Flee. Judge. Attack. Maintain power. Obsess.” Yet the Way of Jesus paints a radically different approach. Try instead abandoning the fear of Rome-like power grabbers and reverence only God. Try instead refusing to follow the path of “fighting, fleeing, power-brokering, and obsession ideation.” Try instead embracing the truth that “hatred begets destruction both to the hated and to the hater.” And try remembering that the enemy of our souls knows this all well…
So imagine a world in which hatred and deception are abandoned and exchanged for loving your enemy. Imagine when choices are made, living out instead the radical love of Jesus Christ. Imagine a heavenly kingdom more powerful than Rome. When alignments are taken up, imagine citizenship that is permanent in the kingdom of God. This is the hope of the Gospel. This is the completely transformative way of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.
In Daniel 6:22, Daniel says, “My God sent His angel, and He shut the mouths of the lions.” In response, King Darius says in Daniel 6:27, “He [God] rescues and He saves; He performs signs and wonders in the heavens and on the earth. He has rescued Daniel from the power of lions.”
Reverence only God. He endures forever. He shut the mouths of lions.