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June 17 – Stop! Look Around…

Warnings come to us in many different ways. If you’re driving, an orange sign is the official way that you see that there’s trouble ahead. There are a few other ways, also. Sometimes, it may be a person with a flag to let you know that there’s construction in the area. Other times, it may be a person waving cars down, perhaps looking for help. Flashing lights from an oncoming car might be a warning to slow down because a policeman is up ahead waiting for people speeding.

Sometimes, we listen to those warnings; at other times, people laugh at them. Usually the laughing doesn’t last long as the driver may face extra congestion or get pulled over to the side of the road to have a nice chat with an officer. The officer’s advice to slow down usually comes at a high price. God gave King Nebuchadnezzar a warning in a dream. He couldn’t understand the dream, so he called on Daniel to help. As Daniel explained the dream, he gave the king some advice: “Therefore, Your Majesty, be pleased to accept my advice: Renounce your sins by doing what is right, and your wickedness by being kind to the oppressed. It may be that then your prosperity will continue.” (Daniel 3:27)

Daniel had developed the kind of relationship with the king that he could be honest about anything. Imagine telling a king to renounce his sins. Most kings had this idea that they were in their position because of their greatness. Some would claim that God had placed them in their position. In any case, kings could be proud and would have the power over life and death, yet Daniel came right out and gave the king this advice while interpreting the dream. In short, the advice can be about anyone: stop doing what’s wrong; start doing what’s right; be kind to the people you’ve been putting down.

I don’t know if anyone else has the threat against them from God that Nebuchadnezzar had, but the advice of Daniel is still good advice for all people, especially those who are financially prosperous. Often those who are financially prosperous have forgotten those who are struggling and are taking advantage of others to get ahead. The oppression comes not just from direct attacks on people who are in poverty, but many times by thoughtless behavior that allows people to suffer when the oppressor can change the circumstances. The way out of being an oppressor begins by noticing those who are oppressed and working to make a difference. Begin treating all people as God’s children, instead of looking at them as resources to be used. Start finding ways to offer a hand up out of the bad circumstances so that they can become the people that God has called them to be. King, entrepreneur, rich or even poor – the message is the same: give up your sins, start doing what’s right, and practice kindness towards all people, especially the oppressed.

Lord God, how often do I go on through life not even noticing those who are oppressed by the world. Open my eyes to let me see those being oppressed. Change me so that I have a willing heart to be Your servant to them.


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