November 7, 2007
Then the presidents and the satraps sought to find a ground for complaint against Daniel with regard to the kingdom, but they could find no ground for complaint or any fault, because he was faithful, and no error or fault was found in him. Then these men said, “We shall not find any ground for complaint against this Daniel unless we find it in connection with the law of his God.” Daniel 6:4-5
Paul Tibbets of Columbus, Ohio, has passed away at the age of 92. It is quite possible that you might not remember, or ever have known the name of Paul Tibbets. That’s surprising, because there was a time, many years ago when Paul was a famous individual. Paul, you see, was the pilot of the Enola Gay, the World War II Super-fortress that, on August 6, 1945, dropped the first atomic bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima.
Somewhere between 70,000 and 100, 000 people were killed in the blast. Many more were injured.
Since that day, some have criticized Tibbets for being a murderous monster, while others have proclaimed him a faithful hero who followed orders and brought the war to a quick conclusion, saving numerous American lives. Paul found out it is a rare action that will be universally allowed, accepted, or applauded.
That kind of mixed reaction is not confined to matters military. The Bible is filled with numerous examples of God’s designated leaders who were condemned because they tried to honor the Lord and do as He asked. The liberator Moses was constantly bombarded by the complaints of God’s people during their wilderness wanderings, and most of the prophets found themselves being ignored, persecuted, and despised. In the text, which acts as the inspiration for today’s devotion, Scripture tells of how jealous political leaders hatched a plot to bring down Daniel.
Of course, our text has greater importance than simply telling God’s people, “You’re going to get criticized for the things you do.” Life’s experiences have taught that fact to most of us long ago. Please, look carefully at what the text says. After examining Daniel’s entire life, the leaders who were trying to ruin him came to the conclusion: “We shall not find any ground for complaint… unless we find it in connection with the law of his God.” The only area where the unbelievers thought they might successfully criticize Daniel was in his devotion to the Lord. That’s not a complaint… that’s a compliment.
How wonderful it would be if the unbelieving world, looking at Christians as individuals and as a group might come to a similar conclusion: “Christ’s people are OK, except for the fact they live their lives in thanks to the crucified and risen Savior.” If you believe those words to be a compliment and not a complaint, the Lord may be giving us a goal toward which to strive.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, You lived a perfect life so I might be saved. Now, I pray, grant me the ability to lead my life in thanksgiving to You. May those who look at me find no room for criticism other than to say, “I love You too much.” In Your Name I ask it. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries