Southern Non-Violent Coordinating Committee
DEFIANCE means open resistance and bold disobedience. It’s a Middle English term that denotes the renunciation of an allegiance or friendship. DEFY means to openly resist or refuse to obey; to make an action or quality almost impossible; to appear to be challenging someone or something; a challenge to combat. The derivative Old French desifier – means dis-faithful. Defiance is a behavior that followers of God and Jesus must at times invoke, especially on the grounds of unjust laws and statutes, or in questions of worship, where our allegiance to Christ is threatened.
This morning I woke up with the phrase, “Pray through the window.” This brought to mind the prophet Daniel. We remember that God delivered him from the mouths of lions, but do we recall why he was in the den in the first place? Daniel 6 says that “Daniel so distinguished himself among the administrators and the satraps by his exceptional qualities that the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom.” (vs 3) The other leaders were so jealous they sought to find a charge against him, but could find no corruption in him “because he was trustworthy and neither corrupt nor negligent.” (vs. 4) They said to themselves, “We will never find any basis for charges against this man Daniel unless it has something to do with the law of His God.” (vs. 6) So as a group they influenced king Darius to set out a decree, “that anyone who prays to any god or human being during the next thirty days, except to you, Your Majesty, shall be thrown into the lions’ den.”
Daniel did not go into his ‘secret closet’ to defy this law. He opened his window THREE times a DAY, got on his knees and prayed to JEHOVAH. When the king realized what he’d done, he was greatly distressed and tried all day to figure out how to save Daniel. He could not because his decrees were irreversible. (vs. 14-15) So he
said to Daniel, “May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!” and the rest as they say, is HIS- story! The next day the king found Daniel alive and well, “My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight. Nor have I ever done any wrong before you, Your Majesty.” The king was overjoyed and gave orders to lift Daniel out of the den. And when Daniel was lifted from the den, no wound was found on him, because he had trusted in his God.” (vs. 22-23) The LORD shut the mouths of ALL the lions that were after Daniel…not just physical ones.
“At the king’s command, the men who had falsely accused Daniel were brought in and thrown into the lions’ den, along with their wives and children. And before they reached the floor of the den, the lions overpowered them and crushed all their bones.” Then King Darius issued another decree inspiring all of his subjects to worship to the True and Living God, “that in every part of my kingdom people must fear the God of Daniel.” So the defiant Daniel prospered throughout the entire reign of king Darius. I don’t know who I’m writing this for, but sometimes you need to pray through the window because defiance is what’s called for. We are to SUBMIT to God and RESIST the devil and he will flee.” (James 4:7) When Peter and the apostles were given strict orders by the religious officials not to teach in Jesus’ name, they defiantly replied, “We must obey God rather than man.” (Acts 5:29)