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A View from the Altar / Loyalty
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Loyalty

When Daniel became Nebuchadnezzar’s principal advisor, he still remembered who his real friends were.  Maybe this was partly his cynical judgment of what kind of men were in the king’s court.  They were nasty, nasty and eventually tried to murder him.  Like Jesus, Daniel knew what was in man.

But the heavier factor is that it was just the nature of the guy to stand by his friends.  Before Daniel even got moved into the corner office with a view, he asked the king to promote Hananiah, Azariah, and Mishael along with him.  These were the men he’d asked to pray with him for the revelation of the king’s dream, and God had blessed the alliance.  Nebuchadnezzar, satisfied with the results he’d gotten so far, complied.

New social connections are one of the side effects of advancement — big promotion, winning an election, becoming highly successful in business, maybe even starting in a new pulpit.  These things move us into new social circles, put us in touch with people we’d never have met otherwise.  It’s tempting to take up with the powerful, the successful, the people at the top of the food chain — the ones Jesus referred to as loving the uppermost seats.  The men of this world have a sixth sense about who’s in and who’s not.  The Secular Man craves the rush of knowing he’s truly in.

It’s beside my purpose in this article to explain how the Secular Man’s apparent circle of in-ness is a mirage.  Daniel had enough smarts to understand that.  But what’s more important is that despite whatever appeal this might have had for Daniel, his loyalty to his God, his nation, and his friends was more important to him.  Daniel’s valuation of better things set him worlds apart from the rest of the courtesans.

The miserables who inhabit tony neighborhoods in the shadow of the White House are the first to tell you, if you want loyalty buy a dog.  That tells us all we need to know about their friends.  Daniel and his friends couldn’t relate.

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