Sunday, July 24, 2016

Taking the Blame

“Then the king, when he heard these words, was sore displeased with himself, and set his heart on Daniel to deliver him..." - Daniel 6:14

Maybe it's just me, but the first thirteen words of this verse seem more likely to have read this way: "Then the king, when he heard these words, was sore displeased with Daniel...not "himself." After all, it was Daniel who had knowingly, deliberately defied his decree that for thirty days, petitions (prayers) should not be made to any god but him, King Darius. Surely this short term arrangement was not too much to ask. Of course, you and I know, our (and Daniel's) God will not countenance dual allegiance, no matter how temporary. 

Still, in spite of his weakness in succumbing to this opportunity of undeserved glory, I commend Darius for realizing immediately who was at fault in this development. He should have known that a man of Daniel's proven integrity and allegiance to his God would never alter his routine of daily prayer to Him three times a day. It grieved him sorely that he himself had set this all in motion. 

I wonder if I'm discerning or humble enough to recognize that the very outcome I decry could very well have been my own fault? Or maybe I'm more like Jephthah, in Judges eleven, who made a hasty vow to God that if He delivered the Ammonites into his hand in battle, the first thing that came out of his doorway when he returned home would be offered in sacrifice to Him. Then, when it turned out to be his daughter, he accused her of "troubling" him and breaking his heart! 

Should we be surprised if questionable choices we have made when our children were young blossom into worse choices in their own lives? They may have the ultimate blame, but you and I should be willing to admit our own, at least to God and ourselves...and perhaps them. 

I could cite other biblical illustrations, but I strongly feel I have delivered the message He wanted me to pass along today. I'll admit, God has taken me in an unforeseen and somewhat unwelcome direction in these musings. Blame is a tricky concept to deal with. It can be overblown, or underestimated. I pray I have struck a chord somewhere in the middle. 

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