Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

So Which Will We Follow – The Laws of the Land or the Laws of God?

Daniel 1:8

But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way.

82015 RayIt is big in the news these days – a clerk in Kentucky who has decided to stand her ground on what she believes (not to mention the Bible – the U.S. and Kentucky Constitutions) in regards to same-sex marriage. Questions abound as to whether the Supreme Court is overstepping their bounds – trying to make law instead of interpreting it. Questions surrounding marriage verses a license to change tax status abound.  Is marriage a state or a national rite?

A debate has reared its head in social media for sure. Some have compared the clerk to Daniel – a high government official – in line for even higher office – of a foreign land – who stood against the government on several occasions. Daniel was faithful to the foreign government – until that government asked him to do something that was contrary to God’s law.  Daniel was willing on a number of occasions to face the consequences of his rebellion – following God’s law rather than the law of the land.

Here is today’s passage in partial context. Daniel 1:8-14 – But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way. 9 Now God had caused the official to show favor and compassion to Daniel, 10 but the official told Daniel, “I am afraid of my lord the king, who has assigned your food and drink. Why should he see you looking worse than the other young men your age? The king would then have my head because of you.” 11 Daniel then said to the guard whom the chief official had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, 12 “Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. 13 Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food, and treat your servants in accordance with what you see.” 14 So he agreed to this and tested them for ten days.

Later in Daniel’s life we see him standing with God rather than the government in the story of his faithfulness and the Lion’s Den. Daniel 6:13-20 – 13 Then they said to the king, “Daniel, who is one of the exiles from Judah, pays no attention to you, Your Majesty, or to the decree you put in writing. He still prays three times a day.” 14 When the king heard this, he was greatly distressed; he was determined to rescue Daniel and made every effort until sundown to save him. 15 Then the men went as a group to King Darius and said to him, “Remember, Your Majesty, that according to the law of the Medes and Persians no decree or edict that the king issues can be changed.” 16 So the king gave the order, and they brought Daniel and threw him into the lions’ den. The king said to Daniel, “May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!” 17 A stone was brought and placed over the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the rings of his nobles, so that Daniel’s situation might not be changed. 18 Then the king returned to his palace and spent the night without eating and without any entertainment being brought to him. And he could not sleep. 19 At the first light of dawn, the king got up and hurried to the lions’ den. 20 When he came near the den, he called to Daniel in an anguished voice, “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to rescue you from the lions?”

So the question of the day – shall we obey the laws of the land when they oppose the laws of God? Will we stand up and be counted as followers of God – and face the consequences? Remember the other lads who were with Daniel – and remember the fiery furnace. What did they say? Daniel 3:16-18 – 16 Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. 18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”

So – will we face some of these same decisions? Will we be asked – are we even now being asked – to make a choice between obeying the laws of the land or the laws of God? And if or when we are asked – what will our answer be?  The United Methodist Church will decide this coming spring whether we will obey the laws of the land or the laws of God.  Pray with me that they will side with God.

Just something to think about today as you go on your way.

P.S. – By the way – I don’t feel like she should keep a secular job that she cannot fulfill.  If your faith keeps you from performing your legal duties – stand by your faith but be ready to face the consequences.

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September 4, 2015 - Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Denomination, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Marriage, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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