"A Guy Could Starve"
September 24, 2009
... certain Chaldeans came. . . . They declared to King Nebuchadnezzar. . . . "You, O king, have made a decree. . . . There are certain Jews (who). . . . pay no attention to you; they do not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up. Daniel 3:8ff (excerpts)
The good news is this: they're not just picking on Christians; the bad news is Christians are still being picked on.
Confused? If so, allow me to explain.
Recently, the Islamic community in Egypt finished celebrating the annual festival of Ramadan. Those weeks are marked by, among other things, daytime fasting by the faithful.
It's a personal duty that many members of that faith take seriously -- just as you take your faith seriously. But there is a difference. While Christians don't demand unbelievers follow their customs or make the sacrifices they do, the Egyptian government, at least in some places, has no such reservations.
Just a few weeks ago more than 150 people were arrested in that ancient country. The people were incarcerated because they had been seen eating, drinking, or smoking during the hours the fast was taking place.
Now here's the corker: in past years, the actions of those non-believers would have been acceptable and allowable. This year that was changed as Christians, foreigners, and non-Muslims who had ignored Ramadan found themselves sentenced to a month in jail or being forced to pay a fine of $350. All this was because they had violated the tenets of a religion in which they don't believe.
In truth, it's hard to play by the rules when the rules keep changing. It's hard to keep your balance when somebody keeps yanking the rug out from under you.
That's why Pharaoh kept changing the rules on the enslaved Children of Israel. It's why Nebuchadnezzar changed the rules on Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. It's why the devil changes the rules on you.
The devil wants God's people to become discouraged, oppressed, and despondent.
This is why The Lutheran Hour preaches a changeless Christ to a changing world. We take seriously our duty to encourage all those who are, in spite of the world's changing rules, trying to remain faithful. As the hymn says, "My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus' blood and righteousness; I dare not trust the sweetest frame, but wholly lean on Jesus' name. On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand; all other ground is sinking sand."
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus for relative stability in my life, I give thanks. For those who are confused by the world's every-changing rules, my prayers. May they be given the wisdom to stand fast in their faith and glorify You. In Your Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries