Thursday, August 19, 2010

Dan's Den

I was reading in Daniel 6 yesterday about Daniel being thrown into the lions den, and I found some things I'd never before considered.

v.2 - Daniel isn't just a prince of one of the 120 provinces, he's a supervisor of those princes, along with two others.
v.3 - Daniel is about to be the next Joseph of the Israelites. Joseph was placed 2nd in command only to Pharaoh, even though he is a foreigner in Egypt. Daniel is about to become 2nd only to Darius the Mede, even though he, too, is a foreigner in Persia. With his presumably extensive knowledge of Hebrew history, did he grasp that fact? Was it overwhelming?
v.4 - Daniel sounds like a boy scout: "faithful and honest and always responsible!"
v.5 - If people were to look at me, would the only chance they'd have of finding grounds for accusation be in regard to my faith and practice of my faith?
v.7 - These guys are effective liars. "We have 'unanimously' agreed...." Obviously they didn't consult one of the king's top three guys, or Daniel would have been a dissenting vote!
- I love how they limit this law of worship to only 30 days. Were they trying to be sure they didn't offend their own gods too much? More than a month, and they might risk making their own gods a bit jealous!?
- And why lions? Was hanging out of vogue? Beheading too bloody? I think they didn't want to have to watch the murder of an innocent victim. Closing him up with deadly animals salved their conscience a bit, I suspect.
v.10 - Nothing changed for Daniel. His routine was not about to be disturbed by man-made unctions. And he didn't suddenly make his worship private for his own protection. I admit; I would have closed my windows, just as a precaution.
v.13 - The guy has been an official of the empire since the days of Nebuchadnezzar. He's a resident. He's about to be their boss, and yet the accusers refer to him, identify him as a slave: "one of the captives from Judah." And greatest adversaries always remember who we were. Satan himself stands before the God day and night (Rev. 12:10) reminding Him of our past, not the new creations we've become.
v.14 - I'm glad there's someone else who gets angry with himself for doing something stupid.
v.20 - The king uses an interesting expression, referring to Daniel as the servant of "the living God." He hasn't heard Daniel reply yet, but he knows of the power of Holy God, and speaks in faith and hope!
v.24 - I wonder how many leaders the king lost that day. He knew he'd have to kill the family members as well, because they might seek revenge on him or Daniel in years to come.
v.25-27 - This hymn of praise is beautiful; I hope it came not only as a proclamation to the people, but as an expression of the king's heart of worship and submission to Almighty God. I guess we'll find out one day.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Swimming with Turtles and Lightning Bugs

Well, not actually swimming with the lightning bugs, just the turtles.

Growing up as a little girl in the woods of southwest Louisiana, I sat for hours on summer nights watching out the window to see the lightning bugs flicker through the night sky. (I sat inside, because only liars or the overly nostalgic/forgetful say they sat outside - you'd be eaten alive and carried away by mosquitoes if you really sat outside for hours.) I sat mesmerized and amazed by their glow. Even as a child, those tiny creatures were one of the intricacies of creation that convinced me of an Intelligent Designer (who has a sense of humor and delight). Who else would think to make a bug that lights up? Surely God must giggle like I do and smile as each bug competes with the stars in the vast expanse of his creation! And on the scientific side of things, the fact that different species of fireflies have different flash patterns to attract their own kind is only another point of evidence for His master plan.

So moving out here to the lake has been a reminder of all those wonderful hours gazing at the glow of the lightning bugs. We have them in proliferation out here, and I'm delighted. So if you hear a giggle in the darkness - it's me.

Now, as for the turtles, I'm not as big a fan. Oh, they're cute...over there. Not right beside me as a I paddle through the water. We had turtles in south Louisiana, too, but I opted not to swim with them or the crawfish in the front ditch. (Although once I remember we had a big flood - @ 12 inches of rain - and as my sister and I waded through the front yard, an eel swam by. We screamed. And ran. Of course, we were sure it was a deadly serpent, but when my dad saw it, we got a science lesson...indoors, of course.) Anyway, one turtle just seemed to follow me today. I was only in the water for about 40 minutes, but he kept popping his head up right ahead of me. I don't know if my sunscreen was his favorite scent or what, but I'll be wearing something different tomorrow. As a matter of note - turtles are in the reptile family, and to this new-to-the-lake live-r, a turtle's head looks too much like a snake's. All that to say, if you hear a scream in the blazing light of day, it's probably me.