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1. Godly, yet in the Government

Bible readings: Daniel 1:1-21; Daniel 3:1-30; Daniel 6:1-28.

My Life (put) Alongside God's Word, volume 1.

“Without Christian involvement in politics and government, Christianity cannot influence society. God can, and often does, put godly men and women in specific political situations to effect changes”.[1]

I have recently been reading Daniel in the Bible. Three times God calls a handful of godly people to stand firm for Him. Every stand is a costly stand. But because these people stand firm, God uses them to make a difference.

Read Daniel 1:1-21. Here are four godly prisoners. They are young men with good background, currently on the losing side, vv3-4. They find themselves chosen to serve a powerful oppressor of God’s people. Yet God put them there, v2.

God had already prepared the ground on which they could make their stand, v9. The men decide they will honour God even down to the food they eat. Daniel leads by influencing others. They all take the risk.

They pass the doubting official’s test. Following their personal integrity, God especially blesses them with wisdom and insight, vv17-20. These men show us that believers can serve in ungodly regimes without compromise, and with distinction.

Verse 19, “they entered the king’s service”. Actually they were serving two kings – the kingdom of Nebuchadnezzar and, primarily, the kingdom of God.

Read Daniel 3:1-30. Three of these men, now sharing the government of Babylon, are called by God to challenge the assumptions and values of the society forced on them.

Like many today the king was concerned about his image! He wanted everyone to think well of him and bow to his greatness. He put himself equal with the many gods of polytheism.

Three godly men refuse to go along with the crowd, some of who turn against them, v12. They are given a second chance to bow, but they use it as an opportunity to verbally witness for their Sovereign God.

They know God is able, v17. They are not sure if He is willing, v18. They will accept death if that is His will. What happens to our bodies on earth is not the issue that matters. Our souls/spirits must stand eternally before God!

One commentator wrote: “They would rather burn than bow to idols!”[2] Their faith was not a results-driven faith. It was principle which others followed too, Hebrews 11:34-38.

The men’s faith does not save them from the fire. God joins them and keeps them safe within the fire. The hostile king sees this must be the true God at work, v28.

The men’s faith and sacrifice was used by God to give them positions of influence in the province, v30. It was a baptism of fire!

Read Daniel 6:1-28 After 60 years of public service, Daniel’s God-given abilities were still recognised, v3. So was his daily godliness, v5. Personal communion with God in prayer was his good practice, vv10, 11, 13.

Even when human government said he must stop – Daniel would not. His first loyalty is to Almighty God. This loyalty that enables him to serve the country well, see v22, “Nor have I done anything wrong before you, O king”. Daniel only ever broke an unjust/ungodly decree.

The king seems to regret throwing him to the lions and certainly doubts God’s ability to preserve Daniel, v16. But God prepared the way through this test for His servant, v22. The Creator always rules all of His creation for His purposes.

During Daniel’s lifetime kings came and kings went in his country. Only God’s kingdom was eternal. Even king Darius came to see this in the end, vv26-27.

The four godly men I have highlighted all influenced their country and its leadership. Scripture holds them before us as great examples to follow.

In 1 Peter 2:13-17 Christians are urged to take a stand. “By doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men”, v15.

May God help every one of us “to die to sins and live for righteousness” v24. Even if it costs us our lives on earth – as it did our Saviour the Lord Jesus Christ – it is a price well worth paying!

Discussion questions:

  1. Some Christians say that it is wrong for any Christian to be in politics. How does the book of Daniel answer that criticism?

  2. What must a Christian make sure he or she keeps as a priority, when God calls them into politics?

  3. What is God calling you to do with your life?

[1] Samuel Waje Kunhiyop African Christian Ethics (Nairobi: Word Alive, Hippo Books) 2008, p.100. [2] Tokunboh Adeyemo African Bible Commentary (Nairobi: Word Alive) 2006, p.996.


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