How to maintain a righteous standard in evil times.
During these 2019 elections, many Christians have fought for a righteous government. Hoping that a Christian Party will have more significant support and hence greater influence on lobbying faith-based Judeo-Christian values and policies. Although the Christian parties gained some ground, it is small in comparison with the leading secular parties.
A recent sermon of Bill Johnson, “reformation through loyalty” is an essential and inspirational word for SA, post-2019 elections.
We can learn a lot from the period where Israel was captured by the Babylonian and Persians kingdoms, as a judgement of God for their idolatry. As always, there was a faithful remnant, of a small number of righteous people. How did these godly men and women leverage this unfair and unjust circumstance, to God’s glory?
The most amazing part of this story is how Daniel showed incredible loyalty and faithfulness to probably the most ungodly, evil ruling King in the OT, Nebuchadnezzar. This in the light of Daniel, not voluntary losing his manhood becoming a eunuch, uprooted from his family and home, and thrown amongst sorcerers, magicians, and probably the evilest unrighteous people on the planet at the time.
Daniel did not compromise, but already early in the story displayed courageous wisdom and tact to sidestep intricate plots, demonstrate his faith and not pollute himself from the delicacies of the King’s table. Daniel and his friends quickly learned to adapt, keep a positive spirit, finding favour with the Master of the Eunuchs.
Their phenomenal management of the circumstances, came from a deep-rooted fundamental belief, that God is ultimately in control. When faced with his first direct contact with this King, and his first vision interpreted. He disclosed a secret of the thinking of his heart.
“Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, For wisdom and might are His. And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise And knowledge to those who have understanding. He reveals deep and secret things. (Dan 2:20-22)
Daniel understood that God uses all things, even evil eventually will serve His purpose for His glory. Daniel was elevated and promoted to become, “chief administrator over all the wise men of Babylon” (Dan 2:48) That is: All the wise men of Babylon! These wise men were not Jews. They did not believe in God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. They held different beliefs and viewpoints, yet he had to administrate them peacefully, to the benefit of the Babylonian Kingdom.
You can only have an influence when you are trusted, by your superiors. When Nebuchadnezzar had a second dream, this time a dream about God’s judgment against him. Daniel said: Then Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, was astonished for a time, and his thoughts troubled him. So the King spoke, and said, “Belteshazzar, do not let the dream or its interpretation trouble you.” Belteshazzar answered and said, “My lord, may the dream concern those who hate you, and its interpretation concern your enemies! (Dan 4:19)
This statement from Daniel’s lips is such a beautiful admission of the real heart of Christ, the Prince of peace, who wants all men to be saved! (2 Tim 2:1-4) Even the evil, prideful, narcissistic ruler, deserved to get to know the truth. In the end, when he was restored again to his right mind, Nebuchadnezzar acknowledged the true living God. (Dan 4:34-35)
Part of the Christian war for truth is fought overtly, sometimes publically. There should be moments of public declaration and demonstrations, but equally important is the influence we establish through relationships in every sector of society through loyalty and trust. We do not speak evil against any person, party, ruler, leadership. That is called blasphemy and slander. We overcome evil by doing good. (Rom 12:21)
It is the same character displayed by Nehemiah, the cupbearer. Serving a heathen Persian King, and obtaining a letter of free passage and support to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. (Neh 1) Esther and Mordecai also walked in this anointing, finding favour with the King. Eventually, Mordechai became second in charge of the Kingdom. For Mordecai, the Jew was second to King Ahasuerus, and was great among the Jews and well received by the multitude of his brethren, seeking the good of his people and speaking peace to all his countrymen. (Esther 10:3)
The church in Rome and Ephesus also faced an evil Rule and Government. Although the Romans practised a measure of religious freedom, many of their rulers became direct enemies trying to exterminate all traces of Christianity. It is against this backdrop and persecution that Paul writes: Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except God, and the powers that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who oppose will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake.
For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God’s ministers attending continually to this very thing. Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honour to whom honour. (Rom 13:1-7) Please read this passage thoroughly. Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God, our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. (1 Tim 2:1-3)
When Paul arrived in Ephesus, after the resistance from the synagogue, started a Bible School where he reasoned daily from 9:00 – 15:00 in the School of Tyrannus. This overt infiltration of the Word eventually began to change the local economy, and the silversmiths of Ephesus started complaining about the decline of statues of Diana worship sales. This was the evilest and prominent idol worship religion of the time. (See Rev 2:13 Seat of Satan, the Pergamum altar, later excavated by Hitler, and rebuild in Berlin) A riot occurred as a result. When the Town Clerk asked the people: For you have brought these men here who are neither robbers of temples nor blasphemers of your goddess. (Acts 19:37) No lawful accusation could be made, and the crowd was dismissed. The Kingdom of God was thus winning ground, without public display or prominence.
We are called to be the salt of the earth. (Mat 5:13) This means we have to be in the soup. We are in the world but not of the world. Our overt infiltration where every believer demonstrates the Kingdom of God, as He leads, and where He leads is paramount!