Day 294 - 295 – October 21-22, 2021
Scriptures: Daniel 1-4, Psalms 136, James 1
The book of Daniel is one of my favorites in all the Bible. The stories of Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego has inspired faithfulness for generations. Right out of the gate, we are encouraged to know that there are some who are faithful, despite their being captured and assimilated into Babylon. Against all odds and the threats against their lives, they maintain a faithful loyalty to God. Daniel’s diet, isn’t so he would be physically fit. Instead, it was him drawing the line. He can learn about Babylon, even take on the emperors clothing. But a diet was one way in which Daniel and his friends could keep Israelite identity and a bit of their holiness intact. The same goes for the bowing to the idol that Nebuchadnezzar creates. The three friends are wise to abstain from idolatry. They are protected by God, who they have come to believe and trust in, and understand that his love endures forever.
In James, we are encouraged to remain faithful as well. I enjoyed the connection to James 1:27, and the pure and faultless religion. A religion that pleases God is one that cares for widows and orphans in their distress. It also is not polluted by the world.
That’s the key to the whole thing, isn’t it? That we would care for others, and watch over our faith, that it wouldn’t be polluted. Daniel drew the line at meat. Shadrach, Meshach, and Benny, well, they drew the line at political persuasion that led into certain idolatry.
This of course is a challenge for us today.
Are we caring for others? Are we being polluted by the world? Is politics polluting our faith? Is money? Are we loving and kind?
Careful analysis probably reveals that there is a level pollution within each of us. Will we repent, and turn to Christ?
We are encouraged today to know that despite our failures and sin, God's love endures forever. Take courage, repent and trust in him!
Jordan Ickes, Minister of Etna Green Church of Christ.