Tuesday, February 10th

Tuesday, February 10th

Darius the Mede decided to divide the kingdom into 120 provinces, and he appointed a high officer to rule over each province. The king also chose Daniel and two others as administrators to supervise the high officers and protect the king’s interests. Daniel soon proved himself more capable than all the other administrators and high officers. Because of Daniel’s great ability, the king made plans to place him over the entire empire. Then the other administrators and high officers began searching for some fault in the way Daniel was handling government affairs, but they couldn’t find anything to criticize or condemn. He was faithful, always responsible, and completely trustworthy. Daniel 6:1-4

What is causing the quarrels and fights among you? Don’t they come from the evil desires at war within you? You want what you don’t have, so you scheme and kill to get it. You are jealous of what others have, but you can’t get it, so you fight and wage war to take it away from them. Yet you don’t have what you want because you don’t ask God for it. James 4:1-2

O God, listen to my complaint. Protect my life from my enemies’ threats. Hide me from the plots of this evil mob, from this gang of wrongdoers. They sharpen their tongues like swords and aim their bitter words like arrows. They shoot from ambush at the innocent, attacking suddenly and fearlessly. They encourage each other to do evil and plan how to set their traps in secret. “Who will ever notice?” they ask. As they plot their crimes, they say, “We have devised the perfect plan!” Yes, the human heart and mind are cunning. Psalm 64:1-6

Now, who will want to harm you if you are eager to do good? But even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So don’t worry or be afraid of their threats. Instead, you must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it. But do this in a gentle and respectful way. Keep your conscience clear. Then if people speak against you, they will be ashamed when they see what a good life you live because you belong to Christ. Remember, it is better to suffer for doing good, if that is what God wants, than to suffer for doing wrong! Christ suffered for our sins once for all time. He never sinned, but he died for sinners to bring you safely home to God. He suffered physical death, but he was raised to life in the Spirit. 1 Peter 3:13-18

Darius the Mede represents the new administration so to speak. The Babylonian Empire had been conquered by the Medo-Perian Empire. Even though he was a captured Jewish foreigner, Daniel prospered so well under King Nebuchasnezzar that he promoted him to ruler over the whole province of Babylon and the chief leader over all the wisemen of Babylon. It seems that Daniel has transitioned well under the new regime. He is one of the three top administrators under the King and soon so distinguishes himself that Darius makes plans to place him over the entire empire. The other administrators and high officers become Daniel's opposition at this point and set out to undue Daniel and the King's plans for him.

James gives us three little words, "you are jealous," which go right to the heart of what often fuels opposition. Most certainly Daniel and the Psalmist would affirm this. Jealousy leads to a stance of opposition, which leads to plans of opposition, which then leads to actions of opposition. Daniel and the Psalmist know all about this as well. The description by the Psalmist of those who oppose him says it all. Although it is not given to us, it would be quite special to hear Daniel's perspective on his experience with his opposition in the story from Daniel 6. Whether it's Daniel, the Psalmist, or us, suffering is very much a part of the experience of opposition. The 1 Peter passage gives us a lot of help with handling such suffering.

Lord, help us not be surprised when we face opposition and help us to find you in the midst of the suffering we experience as a result. Lord, we trust you to use opposition and suffering for our good and for your glory. Grant that we truly believe that suffering for doing what is right at the hands of those who oppose us is an opportunity for the advancement of your kingdom. Help us to see that whenever we face opposition there is a "Darius" who is being impacted by how we walk with you through it.

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