Day 24 – Devotional & Discussion April 1, 2014

Daniel 6:1-23

King Darius issued an executive order that prohibited prayer.  Daniel, in what amounts to civil disobedience, continued to pray three times a day and is caught.  He ended up being sentenced to capitol punishment — death by lions.  God intervened and Daniel was saved from execution. 

Why do you think King Darius issued the order to begin with?  Why do you think Daniel chose to break the law of the land, knowing it could mean execution? What does God’s intervention reveal about God in relationship to Darius’ “law and order” edict? 

We often say, “Do the crime; do the time”.  This attitude reveals an underlying assumption that all laws are just.  Historically, what are some examples of “unjust laws”?  How do you determine whether a law is “just” or “unjust”?  Have you ever acted in “civil disobedience” because of the law clashed with your faith?  If not, why not? 

In April 1963, Martin Luther King, Jr. was jailed in Birmingham for violating an injunction to refrain from organizing or promoting protests against segregation.  Many pastors criticized him for breaking the law and using “extreme” tactics in his fight for equality.  In response, he wrote his famous “Letter from the Birmingham Jail”.  You can read it HERE.

One comment

  1. Darius at times seems to be a great guy, as evidenced by his response to having to put Daniel in the lion’s den. But I wonder if he had a proud streak that his advisers fed, thus leading to the law requiring people to pray to him. A leadership training group at Faith Church is reading the book Humiltas. The author takes a chapter to describe the honor vs. shame culture that was prevalent throughout most of the history of the world. It seems probable that Darius could have given little thought, as king, to having people pray to him. He was king, it was honor due him. A humble approach was not acceptable for a king.

    The law was clearly unjust, even to Darius. I have wondered about copyright laws. While I totally agree that one person’s intellectual property, art, etc should be seen as theirs and theirs alone, and they should be able to profit from its use. But the line can be very grey. The NFL crackdown on churches having Super Bowl parties, for example. How much does the NFL believe churches are profiting from having these parties? I feel the NFL has overreached a bit on that one. I called them to talk it over, but was only able to leave a message. They never called back. We still had our party. I don’t know if this an instance of civil disobedience.

    I often think about this regarding the use of media in worship services. We buy licenses allowing us to display lyrics, to show video clips from movies and TV shows, etc. For years I made our worship powerpoints and I illustrated them using photos I found online. How far should I go in getting permission to use photos? It could be a full-time job. Sometimes we bought photos, sometimes people gave permission, sometimes it seemed the photos were free domain. Was it enough to ease my conscience to say “Well, if they put it online for anyone to grab, then I’m in the clear?” Imagine worshipping God using stolen photos? It is ridiculous and hypocritical. So we stopped illustrating our lyrics shows. But are the photos really stolen? I don’t think we’re profiting from their use. To me that is the line we shouldn’t cross. If we are profiting from someone else’s work, then we should pay to license it. But a non-profit should have leeway for appropriate use of work found free of charge online. I don’t know…it’s messy.

    These are minor concerns compared to what you are referring to, though.

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