August 15, 2011

Tuesday after the Eighth Sunday after Trinity

Lectionary

Morning - Ps. 111, 114, 1 Sam. 11:14-12:5, Lk. 15:11
Evening - Ps. 118, Dan. 6:1-15, Acts 26:24-27:

Commentary

Daniel does as his enemies knew he would, going to his house and praying the liturgical prayers, which the Jews offered several times each day. Now they are ready to report him to the king, who will have no choice but to throw Daniel to the lions. Thus, we see that a foolish law, so easily and ignorantly signed into existence by Darius, is a tremendous danger to the lives and security of people the king should be protecting.

Those in civil government should learn from Darius' mistake. The laws that govern any land should be enacted only after extremely careful deliberation and examination of all possible effects on the people on whom they will be enforced. A foolish law, enacted in haste and ignorance under pressure from those who would use it to advance their own agenda and prosperity, can cause suffering and loss that is almost beyond comprehension. Those who urge and pass such laws are nothing short of criminals.

Darius has a moral meltdown. When his enemies charge Daniel with breaking the law, Darius finally realises they are also his enemies, and that they had used him to accomplish their own, evil purposes. How sad that these trusted leaders had no concern for the security and prosperity of their homeland. How sad that their only concern was for their own private prosperity and egos, and that they were willing to sacrifice thousands of people, risk the security of their land, and betray the confidence of their king and fellow citizens to gain their own selfish ends. Yet, does it not seem, looking at the world today, that the names and faces have changed, but the game remains the same?

What should Darius do? He should publicly and humbly recant his foolish law. Then he should remove these wicked men from their positions, and replace them with people who truly have the good of the people, at heart. But Darius does not have the courage to do this. Again we learn a lesson from the Scripture, that we save ourselves much agony of the soul if we simply confess our mistakes and sins, rather than hide or ignore them. Rather than correct an evil law, Darius labours to find a way to keep Daniel out of the lions' den (6:14). He seems to try everything but the right thing.