Devotional 10-20-10

October 20, remedy 2010
Scripture: Daniel 7:6
After this, as I watched, another appeared, like a leopard. The beast had four wings of a bird on its back and four heads; and dominion was given to it.
Thought for the Day: Four wild beasts with strange characteristics are described through this section.  If you watch late-night religious TV, you will hear all kinds of crazy explanations of who the four creatures represent in our modern context.  Every time the United States elects a new president, someone explains why the new President is the bear or the leopard or the beast with the iron teeth.  I find it interesting how people use scripture to demonize those with whom they disagree.  The sad thing is that Jesus spent most of his ministry challenging that idea.  He invited people to allow the scriptures to tell a different story: one of mercy, healing and unity.  The leopard was a symbolic way of speaking of the Persian Kingdom, and the four heads represented the four kings: Cyrus, Xerxes, Artaxerxes and Darius.  This image has absolutely no intended correlation to someone in modern time.  Instead, we are expected to look at the book in its historical context, and by weaving the stories from the first half of the book into this section, we are reminded that God was always at work through faithful people in difficult times.  Kings came and went, but Daniel and his friends would always use unconditional love and unbending faithfulness to transform their circumstance.  That is where these visions are relevant for today or any day.
Prayer: Lord, I want to be a Daniel.  I wish for my faithfulness, expressed in love, to bring transformation even when the beasts of hatred and injustice raise their heads.  Amen.