Civil Disobedience

Daniel 6:10 “Now when Daniel learned that the document had been signed, he went into his house, where the windows of his upper room opened toward Jerusalem, and three times a day he got down on his knees, prayed, and gave thanks to his God, just as he had done before.”

We live in a day where civil disobedience seems to be an expectation for even the slightest provocation. Don’t get me wrong, there have been times when standing up against bad laws was absolutely necessary but now people will march down the streets if they dislike the election results or set fires and loot when one bad cop shows his true character. Even if someone is doing their job correctly, people will attack a mayor’s home or storm a governors mansion.

Civil disobedience used to mean something. Racial discrimination in society was a good reason to march against injustice. Those who followed MLK respected the man not just for his message but for his character. Proof was given that peaceful demonstrations raised a people above those who lead poorly and showed the world that no matter how evil your leadership may be, we will not disgrace ourselves by lowering ourselves to the same level of injustice we are fighting against.

There is a long history of people who peacefully spoke out against inequality and evil. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn was a famous Soviet dissident, he was an outspoken critic of communism and helped to raise global awareness of political repression in the Soviet Union (USSR), in particular the Gulag system. His book, The Gulag Archipelago written in 1973, was a highly influential book that challenged the Soviet state head on. His christian faith gave him a foundation of what morality looked like, the value God places in people and how he might challenge evil without compromising his testimony.

Solzhenitsyn and MLK were some of the people who have challenged evil authority, but Daniel has to be one of the most famous of all.

The Faithful

During Israel’s captivity in the land of Babylon, the Persian empire took control and on the throne sat Darius. Darius I, commonly known as Darius the Great, was a Persian ruler who served as the third King of Kings of the Achaemenid Empire, reigning from 522 BCE until his death in 486 BCE. The position Daniel attained during the Babylonian rule was a position he maintained when the Persians took control. Even today it seems unlikely for a ruler to hold authority during a regime change. More than likely Daniels jewish heritage didn’t pose a threat to this new king while Daniel’s wisdom and leadership clearly was appreciated by all who came to know him.

Daniel 6:1-3 “Now it pleased Darius to appoint 120 satraps to rule throughout the kingdom, and over them three administrators, including Daniel, to whom these satraps were accountable so that the king would not suffer loss. Soon, by his extraordinary spirit, Daniel distinguished himself among the administrators and satraps. So the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom."

By the time of Darius’ reign, Daniel was close to 90 years of age. The satraps appointed by Darius were the only ones threatened by Daniels position and so a scheme was devised to remove Daniel from his prominent position.

Darius’ plan to elevate Daniel didn’t sit well with the persian satraps who seemed threatened by a man who was not corrupt or negligent, but was found trustworthy. The scheme was to attack Daniels allegiances and those were founded in his faith in God.

Daniel 6:7 “All the royal administrators, prefects, satraps, advisers, and governors have agreed that the king should establish an ordinance and enforce a decree that for thirty days anyone who petitions any god or man except you, O king, will be thrown into the den of lions.”

What did Daniel do when he heard of this decree that could not be revoked?

Daniel did what he always did, he went to his room, opened his window, and prayed.

Daniels actions were in direct conflict with the decree that had been issued, the King upon discovery that his future right hand man was under conviction realized his mistake too late. Daniel didn’t insult Darius or march through the streets shouting “not my King”, Daniel knew that God’s authority usurped Darius’ authority on earth, so Daniel was obedient to God.

Tomb of Darius

We’re all familiar with God’s faithfulness to Daniel in the lion’s den. Whether Daniel had been eaten was irrelevant to him, in life or in death Daniel knew obedience to God was paramount.

Daniel 6:21 “Then Daniel replied, “O king, may you live forever!  My God sent His angel and shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, for I was found innocent in His sight, and I have done no wrong against you, O king.”

Daniel was first faithful to God, secondly he proved faithful to Darius.

We must remember that those placed in authority over us have been allowed to be in that position by God. Regardless of whether they are good or evil, we have a standard to uphold as christians first.

If we are to be found faithful, let us be found faithful to God, regardless of what position He has placed us in.

Noah’s Faithfulness

Many wouldn’t look at Noah as one who expressed civil disobedience but when you consider the meaning of the term, you might disagree.

Defined as the refusal to comply with certain laws or to pay taxes and fines as a peaceful form of political protest, the term could be applied to anyone who forsakes societies expectations and chooses to go against the expected norm’s.

Hebrews 11:7 “By faith Noah, when warned about things not yet seen, in holy fear built an ark to save his family. By his faith he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness that is in keeping with faith.”

Condemnation of the world doesn’t have to be a self-righteous manifestation of personal rights, it can be an act of godly obedience that confronts the worlds values by the way you live your life.

Noah was commissioned by God to build an ark and it took around 75 years to complete the task. For 75 years Noah confronted the world system around him, each day was an indictment against the sin that pervaded society.

How many people responded to Noah’s act of faithfulness and confrontation of a sinful society?

Only his immediate family.

What these examples say is that civil disobedience is not an act of evangelism, it is an act of faithfulness.

Daniel’s faithfulness impacted King Nebuchadnezzar and King Darius, how many people followed the Lord because of HIs faithfulness we don’t know but you can be sure God used these acts for His glory.

In Noah’s day the people were so evil, not one outside his family repented and followed Noah’s lead, sadly, the world we live in today has been compared to those people.

God’s Message to the World

Matthew 24:36-39 “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only. But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.”

The message the world needs to hear is the gospel. If our political ambitions usurp our desire to share the gospel, our ambitions have been misplaced. There is certainly a need for the righteous to stand up against evil authority and our governors and current president have had such an agenda. From promoting abortion on demand to pushing sexual agenda’s upon our children, there is a void of righteousness throughout our land.

The church is the last bastion of Truth by which evil is held back. Their standard is the Word of God and it is upon this standard we must live.

Let the church first and foremost stand upon the call by which is what given, to go unto all the world and preach the gospel, to be a light in the darkness, and to make disciples.

The love for God should be the motivation for any act of prominence, the Lord will be the One who uses the faithfulness of His people to complete the work that He is doing.

Isaiah 14:24 “The LORD of Hosts has sworn: Surely, as I have planned, so will it be; as I have purposed, so will it stand.”

The church must never forget its marching orders come from the King of kings.

May the world see our faithfulness and glorify God, this will be the lasting mark of good civil disobedience.

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