It is no secret that many parents are outraged… Strike that… Many Christian/Conservative parents are outraged at President Obama’s National Address to students in public schools across America today. For weeks we’ve heard stories of brainwashing, indoctrination and purposeful targeting of the next generation.
Now, I must first admit that we have decided in our family to homeschool. This decision is one that was reached for a variety of reasons that I will not go into details here. I’m not entirely sure how I’d react to the President’s address if our girls were in public school. I can understand the fear that a lot of the parents are having with this situation. First off, we’re supposed to trust God and surrender those fears to Him. (See Max Lucado’s new book out today, Fearless)
But today, as I was continuing my reading through the Old Testament, I came to the book of Daniel. Talk about relevant. The first chapter of Daniel talks about when Babylon conquered Jerusalem and took many Jews captive to Babylon.
Talk about your premeditated brainwashing from the government and King Nebuchadezzar. He ordered these children who were taken captive to be attractive, possessing knowledge and quick to understand, and to have the ability to serve in the king’s palace. They were taken and and forced into three years of training. One note I found says that the foursome were probably 14-17 years in age. They were pulled away from everything they knew and were comfortable and were being forced to adapt to the new environment. The famous four “children” that were deported were Daniel, Hananiah (Shadrach) Mishael (Meshach) and Azariah (Abed-Nego)
Not until I started reading this today, did I learn that the meaning of their new names were given to them so that they would be associated with Babylon’s false and local gods. They lost their names that had previously shown their loyalty to the God of Israel!
Daniel = “God is my judge”
Belteshazzar = “Bel Protect the King”
Hananiah = “The Lord is Gracious”
Shadrach = “Command of Aku”
Mishael = “Who is like the Lord?”
Meshach = “Who is what Aku is?”
Azariah = “the Lord is my Helper”
Abed-Nego = “Servant of Nego”
[It is interesting to me that I’ve always referred to Daniel by his Jewish name, but the other three by their pagan Babylonian names. Why is that? This should not be. I will make an effort to learn their Jewish names and only refer to them by their real names from now on. I feel my years of VBS has failed me in this regard :)]
Even though all of this happened – the fact that brainwashing had been attempted on them, they never forsook their loyalty to God. They did not compromise their commitment to God. They did not eat the food that God’s law prohibited them from eating. Finally, when faced with the ultimate choice, they stood firm with their beliefs that their God was the only true and living God.
If you don’t know the rest of the stories, God rescued Daniel from the lion’s den and he rescued Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah from the fiery furnace. Chapters 3, 4, and 6 are amazing stories that tell the greatness of God. And that :
“There is No other God who can deliver like this” – Daniel 3:29
“He delivers and rescues and He works signs and wonders In heave and on earth.” – Daniel 6:27
These are well known children stories that are told in church (In fact I would bet that my 6 year old daughter actually does know the Jewish names) but ultimately these children had to make a stand on their own. They had to rely on the education that I’m sure was given to them by parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles… They had to rely on their own faith instead of being consumed by fear. They trusted God to deliver them. But even if He would not deliver them, they still trusted in Him:
“But if not, let it be know to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods, nor will we worship the gold image you have set up.” – Daniel 3:18
So…This post was not about President Obama. I am in no way inferring that President Obama is like Nebuchadezzar. In fact, I’ve read the speech that will be giving to the nation’s students. I personally think that conservative Christians have made this into a much bigger issue than it actually is. We have to teach our children that God’s Word is more important than any word a president will give.
If you have the time, read what Brian Haynes has to say about this specific issue on his blog. As Brian so eloquently writes, we must pray for President Obama. This is a much more effective plan of action for us conservative Christians than immediately boycotting something just because he is involved in it.
Hand that fear over to Him and only trust Him.