2009-06-11 - Actions Speaking
Daniel 6:3 Then this Daniel began distinguishing himself among the commissioners and satraps because he possessed an extraordinary spirit, and the king planned to appoint him over the entire kingdom. 4 Then the commissioners and satraps began trying to find a ground of accusation against Daniel in regard to government affairs; but they could find no ground of accusation or evidence of corruption, inasmuch as he was faithful, and no negligence or corruption was to be found in him. 5 Then these men said, "We will not find any ground of accusation against this Daniel unless we find it against him with regard to the law of his God." (NASB)
The last several devotions and a good deal of my thinking lately has been on speaking, communicating and how it affects our lives and the lives of the people around us. The ability to think and communicate clearly is critical. When a message is delivered making sure it is received in the way it was intended is the goal. The alternative is that the message is not understood or only understood in part with room left for interpretation. Paul speaking with Festus (Acts 26:24) had clearly issued the message of the gospel, but Festus calls Paul mad with learning rather than believe what Paul has clearly presented. It is plain there can be problems like this even when the message is clearly issued and received. Communicating unclearly then is even more of a risk.
Words are not the only means of communication. We are told that our actions speak louder than our words. There is a great deal of truth in this statement. The two must work together for either to be credible. When Daniel was accused in chapter six by his jealous fellow officials, the King knew that he had been trapped as well as Daniel. King Darius knew there was no ill-will or evil intentions in Daniel's prayers. Daniel's detractors had appealed to the King's pride in getting him to sign an injunction against anyone praying to any person or deity beside the King himself for 30 days. The famous punishment was for the offending person to be thrown into the lion's den. His adversaries must have thought their trap was perfect. If Daniel stopped praying, he would have shown that his relationship with God was less important than the will of the King. Daniel's faith, which is an important part of his character, becomes less credible. If he continued to pray, Daniel would break the law of the Medes and the Persians and be sentenced according to the injunction. Daniel continued to offer his prayers to God.
In the end we all know that Daniel was saved by God Who shut the mouths of the hungry lions all night long. The King had Daniel's enemies thrown into the same den of lions from which Daniel had been released and those who had wrongly entrapped Daniel and King Darius were destroyed. The end result was a decree of praise to Daniel's God issued by King Darius that was spread through the entire Persian Empire.
Verse four says, "... and no negligence or corruption was to be found in him." That's quite a statement. There were no mixed messages in Daniel's behavior or his words. His yes was yes, and his no was no. His character was literally beyond reproach. Can the same be said of us today? Life for Daniel in the political world of the palace and the government of an empire was not much different than today. Daniel did the right thing and was envied for his position. But when Daniel stood accused, the one who should have been the most offended was the most concerned for Daniel's well-being (v. 14). No one, not even Daniel's accusers believed that he had anything ill or hurtful in his heart - not even his accusers.
"If people speak ill of you, live so that no one will believe them." ~ Plato
Lord, these words of Plato have been on my heart and mind for some time now. Continue to show me how to better internalize this ideal for Your glory. Amen.
Matthew 10:27 What I tell you in the darkness, speak in the light; and what you hear whispered in your ear, proclaim upon the housetops.
Grace & Peace,
All verses are from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) unless otherwise noted.