ONE BAD DECISION: YOU ARE INSANE!

INTRODUCTION

In the course of a twenty-four hour period we make gobs of decisions. Some of these we make with a serious amount of forethought and prayer. But, if you’re like me, we make many of our decisions spontaneously with little or no thought as to the consequences or impact our decisions will have—not only for ourselves, but also for the many others whose lives are intertwined with ours.

Have you ever thought much about how a single decision can change your life forever? Sometimes a single decision will change us for the better. And sometimes a single decision will change us for the worse.

In these blog posts I’d like to look at the singular decision that some people in the Bible made that changed their lives forever…for the worse. By looking at ourselves in the mirror of God’s Word it’ll give us reason to stop and think about both the long-term and short-term ramifications of the decisions we make. Lots of forethought and prayer, I’m convinced, will save us from the pain and regret of a hastily-made decision for the worse.

YOU ARE INSANE!

I have to admit that I don’t know a whole lot about jealousy. I’m not the jealous type and I seriously don’t remember when the last time was that I battled jealousy. I guess my morals kept me from going there. So I don’t know a whole lot about jealousy except what I see it do in people’s lives and how it’s affected them. In every instance, jealousy affected them for the worst. Always. And without exception.

I used to think that anger was temporary insanity. It is. But I recently learned from a Bible story that jealousy is temporary insanity too. IT MAKES YOU THINK, TALK, AND ACT IRRATIONALLY. IT MAKES YOU CRAZY! The story I’m talking about is found in Daniel 6.

Darius the Mede has captured Babylon. He now reigns as supreme ruler of the ancient Middle Eastern world. His is a vast kingdom composed of three great nations. They were not only great, but they were world empires! These three nations were Babylonia, Media, and Persia.

Naturally, every king needs help in governing the vast expanse of lands and nations that now lie under his possession and control. Babylonia itself is divided into 120 provinces and the King appoints 120 satraps, or governors, to rule over these provinces. These 120 satraps, in turn, were subordinate and answerable to 3 presidents. And, finally, the 3 presidents were answerable to the King.

Anyways, Daniel made a name for himself in Babylon, serving in the courts of the Babylonians Kings Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzer. So when Darius took the throne he conducted interviews to see who would make a good satrap or president. As you’d probably guess, Daniel stood at the forefront of the King’s candidates and he was promptly appointed as one of the 3 presidents in Babylon.

In the course of time, Daniel proved himself to be such a gifted leader and greatly advantageous to the King that Darius thought to promote him to an even higher position: he would make Daniel the Grand Vizier over the entire Kingdom! He would no longer be a presidential triumvir in Babylonia: he would be the 2nd in Command over Babylonia, Media, and Persia. Only the King would be more powerful than him!

With such a promotion pending, Daniel’s associates in Babylonia were alarmed. Daniel 6:4-5  puts it this way:  Then the presidents and the satraps sought to find a ground for complaint against Daniel with regard to the kingdom, but they could find no ground for complaint or any fault, because he was faithful, and no error or fault was found in him.  (5)  Then these 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.”

I don’t know about you and I don’t know what you see in these verses, but I see jealousy written all over these men. Why would they want to  badmouth and vilify a man when there was nothing wrong with him? Think of it. These guys couldn’t find a single thing wrong with Daniel! They didn’t care for Daniel’s God. And they certainly didn’t respect or agree with  his religious convictions. But other than this, Daniel was so good at his job that they couldn’t pin any missteps on him! So why mess with the guy?

Daniel had a solid, favorable reputation in Babylon. These satraps and presidents knew him well. They knew about his  extraordinary wisdom and his ability to interpret strange, perplexing dreams.  And writings on the wall. They got a taste of Daniel’s God when they witnessed or heard Shadrach’s, Meshach’s, and Abednego’s miraculous preservation in the midst of the fiery furnace. Did these men have no fear of God?

Worse yet, didn’t they fear the King’s edict? After the King had Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego brought out from the furnace, he proclaimed “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who has sent his angel and delivered his servants, who trusted in him, and set aside the king’s command, and yielded up their bodies rather than serve and worship any god except their own God.  (29)  Therefore I make a decree: Any people, nation, or language that speaks anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego shall be torn limb from limb, and their houses laid in ruins, for there is no other god who is able to rescue in this way” (Daniel 3:28-29).

Daniel’s jealous satraps and presidents were playing with fire by messing with Daniel’s God. They ought to have known better. Did they seriously think that a God who could keep 3 guys from getting incinerated and cremated in a humongously-hot fire  not keep a guy alive in a den of lions? Fire burns and hungry lions eat. But if fire doesn’t burn 3 God-believing Jews, then isn’t it possible for hungry lions to keep their paws and chops off a God-believing, God-blest Jew? Let’s face it. These scheming and conniving foxes were downright crazy. But then, THIS IS WHAT JEALOUSY DOES TO PEOPLE: IT RENDERS YOU TEMPORARILY INSANE AND UNABLE TO THINK CLEARLY.

What’s even more insane about these satraps and presidents is the fact that they decided to wage a war of impeachment against a man who was heavily favored by the King! To fight the King’s friend was risky business because they’d be fighting against the King himself. Did these guys honestly think they could mess with the King’s friend and not lose their heads over it?

Apparently so. In hindsight we know they were stupid. Just remember that. JEALOUSY MAKES YOU INSANE AND IT ALSO MAKES YOU STUPID. IT BRINGS THE WORST OUT OF YOU. IT MAKES YOU MURDEROUS. AND IT MAKES YOU SAY AND DO STUPID THINGS THAT YOU’LL LATER ON REGRET.

Long story short, the satraps and presidents fool the King into forbidding anyone to pray to any other god except the King. The King unwittingly signs the edict. Of course, Daniel isn’t going to obey the royal edict. He’s faithful to God, first and foremost. So Daniel continues to pray to his God three times a day, with his window open so that everyone can see that he was praying.

Naturally, when the satraps and presidents brought the matter to the King, the King had no recourse but to very reluctantly and sadly throw his beloved Daniel into a den of hungry lions. May the God who you serve keep you safe from the lions were the King’s last words of hope to Daniel before the den was sealed.

The King couldn’t sleep all night. He didn’t eat either. Darius was remorseful about the edict that he’d been conned into signing. He didn’t want Daniel dead! If he was like any of us, as I’m sure he was, the King was ginormously ticked with his satraps and presidents. Payback was on his mind. He wasn’t going to let these men get away with murder!

At the crack of dawn, the King hurried to the lions’ den. It was dark in the den, so the King cried out, O Daniel, servant of the living God, is your God, whose servant you are at all times, able to keep you safe from the lions?

And from the bottom of the den came Daniel’s reply and the King’s gladdened relief:  O King, live for ever.  (22)  My God has sent his angel to keep the lions’ mouths shut, and they have done me no damage: because I was without sin before him; and also before you, O King, I have done no wrong (Daniel 6:21-22 ).

The King was so elated! His hope that Daniel’s God would keep him safe had been realized! Truly, God was a powerful Savior and Defender of His people! And woe to the man who messes with God or His people! In fact, the King went on to declare this edict: I decree that in every part of my kingdom people should tremble with terror in front of Daniel’s God, the living God who continues forever. His kingdom will never be destroyed. His power lasts to the end of time. (27) He saves, rescues, and does miraculous signs and amazing things in heaven and on earth (Daniel 6:26-27).

As it turned out, the satraps’ and presidents’ decision to mess with Daniel was their worst decision ever. Daniel 6:24 tells their sad end, The king ordered those men who had brought charges against Daniel to be brought to him. They, their wives, and their children were thrown into the lions’ den. I can’t imagine what these men must have felt as they heard the King’s judgment and were brought to the lions’ den. I can’t imagine the horror their wives and children felt, their tortured screams and pains as they were being eaten alive. Take it from these guys, JEALOUSY WILL FILL YOUR LIFE WITH REGRETS AND SORROWS.

JEALOUSY KILLS YOU IN ONE WAY OR ANOTHER. A big part of you dies on the inside when you let jealousy consume and control you. The sad thing is, JEALOUSY NOT ONLY KILLS YOU: IT ALSO KILLS THE PEOPLE YOU LOVE OR ARE JEALOUS ABOUT. Jealousy brings death. It ends in death. And when you decide you want to be jealous you’re bringing the curtains down on yourself. You’re asking to be eaten alive. Don’t do it! It’s not worth it!

GET RID OF JEALOUSY. IT’S THE ONLY WAY YOU’RE GOING TO SEE AND THINK CLEARLY AGAIN. HOLD ON TO JEALOUSY AND IT’LL DRIVE YOU NUTS

1 Comment

  1. My Homepage said,

    October 25, 2012 at 5:43 PM

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