How The Church Should Interact With Government (Lessons From Daniel) Part 2
The Church and Government (Lessons From Daniel): Part 2
There is an important stipulation which should be made before going further: this blog series is not saying we should never confront or engage with government. There are times when the Church must confront such things as unjust policies or laws, and corruption in the government. Notwithstanding, the bigger question is how do we engage? There’s a right way and a wrong way to do that.
Again, it comes down to this question: do we want to do it God’s way, or lean on our own understanding and use carnality? How should the Church interact with Government? Let’s see what we can learn from Daniel Daniel Was First Faithful to God
In our introduction to Daniel, the first thing we discover is he was first faithful to God above all. In the first chapter of Daniel, we’re told king Nebuchadnezzar would bring into his palace, those of Israel who were considered exceptional. The king assigned them a diet that consisted of a daily portion of his food, which was part of their three-year preparation to stand before him. What was Daniel’s response? Daniel 1:8-9But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king's meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself. Now God had brought Daniel into favour and tender love with the prince of the eunuchs.
Daniel determined to follow the Law of Moses, or the Word of God. Of course, his request to forgo the king’s diet could possibly put everyone in jeopardy who took part in his proposal. Even though the prince of the eunuchs was reluctant, he allowed Daniel along with Hananiah(Shadrach), Mishael (Meshach) and Azariah (Abednego) to only eat pulse (vegetables) and drink only water for 10 days. If they fared better, they would be allowed to continue with their own diet; otherwise, they would have had to eat the king’s diet (see Daniel 1:1-21). Daniel 1:17As for these four youths, God gave them learning and skill in all literature and wisdom, and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams.
By default, as children of God we have favor, but the Lord does reward obedience. That means God will open doors that may not normally be opened when we’re less inclined to submit to His Word. Daniel Sought the King’s Welfare
In part one, we found that God had instructed the children of Israel to seek the peace of Babylon in prayer, even though they were their enemy. Now we have an example of not only obedience to authority, but to what degree Daniel would go to benefit that authority. As we read Daniel chapter four, which was in the words of king Nebuchadnezzar, we see an extraordinary example.
Nebuchadnezzar had a dream that troubled him, and he could not find the interpretation, so he called on the prophet, Daniel to find it. Be sure to read the chapter, but short of it is that it revealed Nebuchadnezzar would be driven out of his kingdom and live with the beasts of the field for seven periods of time. He would eat grass like an ox and basically lose his mind. What affect did this dream have on Daniel? Daniel 4:19Then Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, was astonied (dazed, bewildered or astonished) for one hour, and his thoughts troubled him. The king spake, and said, Belteshazzar, let not the dream, or the interpretation thereof, trouble thee. Belteshazzar answered and said, My lord, the dream be to them that hate thee, and the interpretation thereof to thine enemies.
It troubled him so much, he was reluctant to tell the king, but not out of fear. Daniel 4:27Wherefore, O king, let my counsel be acceptable unto thee, and break off thy sins by righteousness, and thine iniquities by shewing mercy to the poor; if it may be a lengthening of thy tranquillity.
Daniel sought the king’s repentance for his sake. Look at the end of the verse: “If it may be a lengthening of thy tranquillity. He sought Nebuchadnezzar’s peace. Stop a moment and think about this: this was a wicked king who was responsible the thousands of deaths of Daniel’s fellow citizens. More than likely, that included members of his family. Not to mention the enslavement of the remnant of those who survived the sword, starvation and pestilence.
He could have said, “Yes! I hope he gets everything he has coming. I hope he suffers and fries.” Daniel could have merely gave the interpretation, and kept silent afterward. His boldness with Nebuchadnezzar reveals his reluctance was not fear-based, but that of compassion.
When those in authority are diametrically opposed to our own values, we cannot allow a political spirit to overtake us. That spirit is carnal and demonic. It causes division and seeks destructions; not repentance and reconciliation. It does not pursue the welfare of others; in fact, it loves to move down the aisle hand in hand with self-righteousness. Yep, that means judgmentalism would spew all over the place, if it were given room to operate in us.
“They’ll be held accountable for that!” Have you ever heard that phrase? Maybe something more direct: “You’ll be held accountable for that!” Do these reveal a heart that desires repentance, so someone can turn to God? It’s about the equivalent of, “I hope they fry!” Let’s be clear: we’re all going to give an account for our life. To be sure, as believers, we’ve been saved from the wrath to come; but, we’re still going to stand at the Judgment Seat of Christ. Romans 14:10-13But why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy brother? for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written, As I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God. So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God. Let us not therefore judge one another any more: but judge this rather, that no man put a stumblingblock or an occasion to fall in his brother's way.
Our attitude and way we interact with others, can be a stumblingblock. Anytime we behave contrary to the nature of Christ, we fail to further the Kingdom of God. “If that’s what it means to be a Christian, count me out!” Remember, sometimes we are the only Bible people read!
Finally, If you want to what’s best for the Body of Christ, and the nation in which you live, then it’s important to interact with those in authority in a way that actually influences them towards the Cause of Christ. We will go in greater detail in doing that in the next blog. We’ll also follow up on king Nebuchadnezzar.