You Knew, But You

The Handwriting on the Wall

The story of the king, who fell to the point of being no longer human,
Who lost his kingdom for a time,
Then was restored to kingdom, rule and a new understanding of his relationship to God,
Has a strange foot note when the next king took over.

This king was the opposite of his predecessor.
Not knowing his end loomed, he decided to celebrate.
So he brought out captured, sacred utensils to hold their wine,
Making sport of life’s most serious foundations.

After the handwriting on the wall experience, Daniel was called in;
The same Daniel of the lions’ den and example of faithfulness under stress.
But, much to the king’s surprise, things did not go as he expected.
“Your days are numbered, your life hasn’t measured up, and the Kingdom will be divided.”

But Daniel’s proclamation shed scary light on the whole situation.
“You are Nebuchadnezzar’s successor, and you knew ‘all this.’
You know he ignored God, endured a harsh punishment,
Returned to God, and was gloriously restored.

“Yet, in the face of the evidence. . . .
You knew the man, you know people who knew him.
His Queen reminded you of the gifts God has given me.
Yet you refuse to step down from your prideful arrogance.”

Oh dear me, my heart cried and then accused.
You knew all these things, yet you…
You know people God has touched and you deny He will touch you.
You’ve seen miraculous interventions and specific answers to prayer,

And still you whine, ask why me, and assume you are the center of things.
Still you make the whole world and church activities about you instead of service.
Still you insist everything needs to meet your vision of things,
Effectively making sport of what doesn’t meet your criteria.

You discount things just because they are foreign to you.
You deny God’s power without understanding the circumstances He worked in.
You go beyond assuming you know what is best for you,
Refusing to be humbled, assuming your vision and expectations are the standards.

Oh God, Forgive us. Forgive me.
Forgive our “us and them” attitudes
That divide our congregations, churches, communities and nation.
You know the one. It says your likeness of ideas, your successes, or what you do determines your value to us and God.

God , forgive me when I use the complexity of contemporary life
As an excuse to turn my back, or worse, respond in bitter, biting cynicism,
Using the same arrogant, unloving assignment of agendas and demographic positions to everyone
That I accuse secular society of using to divide and conquer for commercial or political control.

God, help me put away my idea of what the world should look like.
Help me become one who brings people together.
Instead of an instrument of sorting, dividing, assignment of moral positions,
Help me become an enabler, encourager, a shorer-up of weakened spirits.

Yet help me know how to do all this while preserving personal purity,
Pursuing complex spiritual maturity, honing my abilities,
And sharing deeply and freely of Your gifts to me, without conceit, or arrogant separation from others
While still coming apart; committing all I am to You.

Daniel 5:22 You are his successor… and you knew all this, yet you have not humbled yourself …

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