Except Me

Soon Daniel distinguished himself above all the other presidents and satraps because an excellent spirit was in him, and the king planned to appoint him over the whole kingdom. So the presidents and the satraps tried to find grounds for complaint against Daniel in connection with the kingdom. But they could find no grounds for complaint or any corruption because he was faithful and no negligence or corruption could be found in him. The 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.”

So the presidents and satraps conspired and came to the king and said to him, “O King Darius, live forever! All the presidents of the kingdom, the prefects and the satraps, the counselors and the governors are agreed that the king should establish an ordinance and enforce an interdict, that whoever prays to anyone, divine or human, for thirty days, except to you, O king, shall be thrown into a den of lions. Now, O king, establish the interdict and sign the document, so that it cannot be changed, according to the law of the Medes and the Persians, which cannot be revoked.” Therefore King Darius signed the document and interdict.

~ Daniel 6.3-9, NRSV

The story of Daniel’s deliverance from the lion’s den is a familiar one.  His faithfulness to God still stands out today.  He broke the king’s law in order to keep his commitment to God.  His enemies also stand out; unable to find fault with his work performance, they sought to use his faith against him.

Thrown into the lion’s den for his unwillingness to pray to King Darius, the Lord honors Daniel’s commitment and shuts the lions’ mouths.  In so doing, he shuts the mouths of his enemies.  They are in awe and amazement that Daniel is not devoured.  The lions are meat- eaters and should’ve been man- eaters.  But, God changes their appetite or perhaps, fills their bellies just as Daniel had filled his mouth with prayer.  God caused the lion to lay down with the lamb (Isaiah 11.6).

Daniel was an exceptional leader, entrusted with authority and responsibilities in the ruling of Darius’ kingdom.  His service to King Darius was unmatched but his service to God is placed above all other commitments.  He is not concerned about his position or a paycheck but continues to pray to his God.  He does not reduce the number of times that he prays.  He does not change the location of his worship.  No, the law does deter him.  He practices his faith just the same because he has given to King Darius what belongs to him– his best work not worship.

I think that I feel the same way about race and its progeny.  I don’t care what circumstances I am thrown into; I am not afraid of race.  I will not join in its prejudices.  I will not surrender to its stereotypes.  I will not give in.

Everybody may be the same and want to remain socially colored human beings.  They may not see a problem with it, that it’s just the way of the world, that it comes with the job.  It may be the way that society treats me, the standard by which the law judges me, the lens through which strangers see me, the premise upon which the employer hires me.  Everything around me may say that race rules but if I stand alone, so be it.

I will not surrender to its social truths but to God because race is not the factor that determines His love for me. I will continue to pray to a race-less God, preach a race-less gospel and strive to live a race- less life.  Race can count on everyone to bow except me.

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