Hello friends! Welcome to more drama in the book of Daniel, today featuring yet another super famous Sunday school story of Daniel in the lions pit. You would think by now these kings would realize that throwing Daniel and his friends in dangerous situations doesn't seem to effect them, but hey, everyone learns at their own pace! I have a few theories on this reading that I'll share more down below as thoughts, but as always, I hope you will share yours in the comments below or by sending me a private email.
Further today is another opportunity for us to read together live at 6pm - yay! To join in that look out for the email sent out to you this morning (if you have attended in the past) or click the link below. Look forward to seeing you!
UMC of CF Office is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.
Topic: Reading the Bible LIVE
Time: Apr 12, 2021 06:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
Join Zoom Meeting
Meeting ID: 731 241 8277
Scripture to Read
Questions to Consider
What does this teach me about God?
What does this teach me about what was happening at the time? By reading it through the historical lens does it change how I feel about the text?
What, if anything, feels applicable to today? What does it challenge me to do as a result?
- My Thoughts -
Two thoughts on this one - one is more theologically grounded while one is a theory that would need much more research to give any credit to. I'll share the grounded one first.
I can't help but see comparisons to King Nebuchadnezzar and David, which is really weird because Nebuchadnezzar is the one that put the Israelites into exile, but did so at God's command. Daniel and a number of other prophets that we have read this year have given high praise to Nebuchadnezzar, calling him things like "highly favored by God" or "did so at the command of God." These are the same things that God said about David. But, both David and Nebuchadnezzar struggled with the power of being a king and both are reprimanded for their actions, but both are also given a second chance. While I certainly have angst with the expression "love the sinner but hate the sin" I do think it applies here. God's love is greater than the past kings mistakes and therefore your potential is greater than your mistakes, too.
My theory is that this story didn't go down quite this way and that King Nebuchadnezzar was really not that great of dude, neither was his replacement. This mostly comes from a revelation I got when studying religious studies in undergrad where they talked about how unreliable the King James Bible translation is as it intentionally was edited by the scribes to elevate any of the royal language to near "god" status because if they didn't they probably would have died from the wrath of the King and he was under intense pressure to get it printed so he just "guessed" on a number of greek words that he did not understand.(See here for a source on this: https://bible.org/article/why-i-do-not-think-king-james-bible-best-translation-available-today **note this is a evangelical source**) Unfortunately, the KJV quickly became one of the most popular translations of the Bible over the years partly because of the royal line pushing it and partly because we like the fancy pants "thee, thou, thine" crap. What is the point of all of this rambling? In an era where we are constantly on high alert for "fake news" my theory suggests this reading might be "fake news" on some accounts. Much like Fox News/MSNBC will pull some story from the dark caverns of their rear ends to make conservatives/liberals happy - I think the parts where Nebuchadnezzar feels awful about Daniel being thorn in the lions pit and stays up all night in sadness and won't even eat because he's soooooo sad is a bunch of junk. I don't think Nebuchadnezzar was "highly favored by God" as he was the king that represented the physical manifestation of sin itself. I think this was an edit much later on to make kings look like empathetic / divinely favored people that has survived like a bad game of telephone. But again, I really have no way of knowing whether or not this is true. Point being - when you read/listen to something on the news or even read something in the "good news" (bible) that raises an eyebrow, it's not unfaithful to ask questions about the authenticity of the source. It just means you care enough to want to get it right.
Praying the Hymns
Oh this is a classic that will make everyone happy (or mad because it's Christmas music in April, haha.) Our prayer for today is hymn 211 - O Come, O Come, Emmanuel. I hope you'll join in however the Spirit leads you.
1 O come, O come, Immanuel, and ransom captive Israel that mourns in lonely exile here until the Son of God appear.
Refrain: Rejoice! Rejoice! Immanuel shall come to you, O Israel.
2 O come, O Wisdom from on high, who ordered all things mightily; to us the path of knowledge show and teach us in its ways to go. Refrain
4 O come, O Branch of Jesse's tree, free them from Satan's tyranny! That trust your mighty power to save, and give them victory o'er the grave. Refrain
5 O come, O Key of David, come and open wide our heavenly home. Make safe for us the heavenward road and bar the way to death's abode. Refrain
7 O come, O King of nations, bind in one the hearts of all mankind. Bid all our sad divisions cease and be yourself our King of Peace. Refrain