Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Devotion 2.4.16

Kissing the ring.  A phrase used, maybe from royalty and the papal history, when referring to being around someone with influence, fame, or power, and perhaps it is a custom to do so. Now days, it carries a different meaning.  "If you want that to happen, you need to see John Bigmoney and kiss the ring."  I'm not good at it and never have been.  I'll use proper titles if I am in the presence of someone, "Mr. Speaker, Mr. Commissioner, Senator, Chancellor" are the titles I've run into in a lifetime, and those titles follow the person even after being in office.  So, when they go to work for other companies after leaving the office, the title is still appropriate.  Beyond that, I'm not good at cajoling, glad-handing, back-slapping, and otherwise deferring to the perceived power and authority of the person.  That's not a quality to be admired.  Sometimes it is wise to know when to appear to be honored to be in the presence of someone, and to be truthful, there are some I admire for their work and their accomplishments.

That's a build-up to ask, "How would you react when in the presence of influence, fame, and power?"  We have to be truthful and admit that in our unique American DNA, we don't bow down, but still, I don't have a picture of me with Bill Murray because I wasn't proud to meet him and get a picture with him.  And yes, I've been proud to have been in the room with someone with those qualities as almost all of us would be, even if we are reluctant to admit it.

King Nebuchadnezzar, fresh off his bad dream and promoting Daniel for his God-given gift of telling him his dream as well as interpreting it, now desires to have an idol built and issuing a command that everyone, no exception, bow down to it.  To add incentive to bowing down to the idol in honor of the king, failure to do so will result in death by being "cast into a burning fiery furnace." (Daniel 3:6)  When Daniel and his three companions refused to bow down, the king became furious.  "Who is the god who will deliver you out of my hands?" They answered, "If this be so, no need to answer you in this matter.  If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of the your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up." (3:17-18)  They don't kiss the ring, but they also don't use God's gifts and unwavering support to taunt the king either.  Our God is there for us, he will deliver us, but he also may not.  Yet we won't kiss the ring.

The answer could be examined at multiple levels, but simply put, Daniel and the three companions have faith in God's care for them and God's promise beyond redemption from the fiery furnace.  Note they say he will deliver us, but if he doesn't, we still won't worship you.  This aligns with Christ's prayer in the garden for deliverance from the cross, "Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me.  Nevertheless, not my will, but yours be done." (Luke 22:42)

We pray to God often, and our prayers include prayers from deliverance.  Yet, like Daniel and Christ, we know that God will answer the prayer, but not always in the manner we ask.  We pray we have the attitude of Daniel and ultimately Christ in our prayers and requests from God.  We pray that we have that ability to stand on our own two feet and believe that God is there for us, but acknowledge that "there for us" means "his will be done."

Hope Men's Ministry

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