Look to your left…look to your right…there seems to be danger everywhere. Whether it is a world wide pandemic, riots that are burning cities to the ground or human trafficking at the highest levels of our society it seems to have no end this year. The year 2020 has become a meme in that you are forbidden from saying that it “can’t get any worse” for fear that the year will prove you wrong. Then I saw a light, I saw Christians standing and speaking the truth of “Fear Not”. “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10).
I saw God moving, I saw people becoming strengthened but then something happened that I did not expect. Governors of states in a country that was founded on the principle of religious liberty banned church gatherings using the covering of a pandemic. Now let me say, in the beginning of this pandemic I believed that it was a good practice for pastors to do as much as possible to protect their congregations. If they had the ability to move services online or have parking lot services then I thought that was a good thing. However, that is a pastor’s and congregation’s decision not a government official’s.
Then I saw a group…Now let me define what I mean by a group. I call them just a group because I believe that they are made up of many groups that all have the same agenda of “submit or else” or in other words “bend the knee to us”. That being said, I saw a group come on the scene and begin to attack everything that did not conform to their worldview and idea of utopia. Churches across the United States have been vandalized and burned. Recently, the Bible has become the target of their ire and scenes of Bibles being burned are seen on social media and news stations.
So what do we do now. Honestly, it is time for some peaceful protesting like Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. But be ready for the consequences that go with that. The story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, is told in Daniel 3 and I encourage you to go and read the account even if you remember the story. It is one of those “Wow Stories” of the Bible. In short, three men of God refuse to bow to political pressure and are thrown into the fire, literally, only to walk out of the fire untouched because of the protection of God around them.
A few days ago, I saw a video of a person running up to people and yelling at them to apologize and bow to their ideology. I saw people at a church yelling at the congregation and cursing the God we serve. I see politicians closing churches and synagogues in different cities across the nation. I could go on but I think you can get the point that the choice is once again being given to the people of God to bow to the pressure of this world or stand for God. In Ephesians 6:13, the Scriptures tell us that “after you have done everything, to stand.”
In the story that has become known as “Daniel and the Lions’ Den” that is in Daniel 6. Daniel is confronted by a law that says that if he prays to anything other than the King Darius then he will be thrown in a den of lions. Unlike before this is a law that other politicians have drafted up with a punishment attached. Undeterred Daniel continues to pray to God and God alone three times a day. When Daniel is reported on the king is left no choice but to follow through and follow the punishment prescribed by law. Again, like in Daniel 3 with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, God’s protection is at work and Daniel is kept safe even in an extremely dangerous place and situation.
I do not expect things to get better. As I said in the beginning, 2020 is a meme of how bad things can get but God is more powerful. God’s protection has been surrounding His people since the very beginning. Empires have risen and fallen and political views shift but God and His truth remain steadfast. ““In the time of those kings, the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed, nor will it be left to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and bring them to an end, but it will itself endure forever” (Daniel 2:44).
“You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:9). Remember who you are. Remember that God goes with you, that His truth lights your way. In these times of darkness we are to declare His truth and proclaim the Gospel. When they command us to stop praying, we pray more fervently. When they command us to stop singing and praising Him we worship that much louder. When they tell us to bow to them, we stand for God and proclaim God’s love through the sacrifice of His son Jesus.
P.S. One of my favorite scriptures is 2 Peter 3:9 and I always try to remember it. Every time hate or unforgiveness try to rise up within me I quote this scripture, over and over, and remember that God does not anyone, not one, not a single one person, ever, to perish but He wants everyone to come to repentance. “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).