What is Biblical Citizenship?
Are the politics of our time frustrating you?
Are you looking for solutions?
Are you losing Hope?
There is hope and a solution to the challenges of our times — just as there has always been hope and a solution to the challenges of every time.
As with all challenges in life, God’s Word provides the answer. God revealed the hope and solution to his prophet Daniel, and it is still true for us today. Daniel 11:32b says, “but the people who know their God shall stand firm and take action”. So, who are these people; what does standing firm mean, and what action are they taking?
The People Who Know Their God Shall Stand Firm and Take Action
A search of the Bible (English Standard Version) for the term “the people” shows that this phrase is used over 1,700 times throughout Scripture to describe followers of God, or Christians. Yet only once is this particular phrase coupled with the description “who know their God,” and it’s found in our theme verse in the book of Daniel: “The people who know their God shall stand firm and take action” (Dan. 11:32b).
The book of Daniel is twelve short chapters, the first six chronicle Daniel’s life in service to three foreign kings. Daniel was himself a captured refugee as a result of Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar’s siege of southern Israel. Throughout these first six chapters, Daniel and his friends are tried and tested—and each time God delivers them. As a result, they, and Daniel specifically, are elevated to leadership within the kingdom.
The second six chapters are devoted to the visions of future times God gives to Daniel. The visions are of destruction and death. Yet, in the midst of it all, there is hope. Why? Because in the midst of the calamity, Daniel sees the people who know their God standing firm and taking action. There is hope in knowing that God uses His people throughout time to call others to Himself; a remnant preserved and always present to proclaim the Good News!
WHO KNOW THEIR GOD
It begs the question; how does one know God? Perhaps a good place to begin is by reading Knowing God by theologian J.I. Packer, a thoughtful book on how God knows you thoroughly and wants to be known by you!
While we will never truly know God this side of eternity, several habits can draw us closer to Him:
A simple word pregnant with promise. As Daniel looks into the future, he sees God’s people engaging the culture—not might, not possibly, not maybe… they shall! It is a word with promise attached. The people who know their God WILL stand firm and take action. That is hopeful to know that in every time—even today—people of God are standing firm and taking action.
Stand firm on what? As Daniel looks to the future, he sees the people who know their God standing firm on God’s Word, understanding the times in which they live, and applying it to those times.
Knowing and applying scripture is demonstrated by Jesus himself during his period of temptation (found in the Synoptic Gospels; Mt. 4:1-11, Mark 1:11:12, and Luke 4:1-13).
After the Lord’s baptism, He was led into the desert where He fasted for 40 days and nights. Satan tempted Him three times and through each temptation, Jesus turned him away by quoting Scripture or, more precisely, by applying Scripture. Recall that Satan tempted the Lord to turn stones into bread. Christ in turn rebuked Satan by saying, “It is written, man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that comes from the mouth of God” quoting Deuteronomy 8:3.
Then Satan deceptively tempts Jesus again this time quoting Scripture himself — specifically the Psalmist in 91:11,12 — where he states that angels will rescue the Lord if He were to throw Himself off the pinnacle of the Temple. Here Jesus applies the Word accurately when he said to him, “Again, it is written, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test’” (Deut. 6:16). Jesus, through His relationship to the Father and His knowledge of the Word, applies it correctly to the situation at hand as should we.
When we know God and His Word and apply it to the culture around us, that is taking action. But how can we do so effectively?
To do so begins with the Great Commandment. “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets” (Mt. 22:37-40).
The Lord amplified this command even further for those closest to Him. The night before His death, He told His disciples, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another” (Jn. 13:34).
How did Jesus love? In a word, sacrificially. Jesus was willing to go to the cross for His people even though He was without fault. Jesus was willing to extend Himself for us, for our salvation, knowing that we would, in turn, retaliate with His crucifixion. That’s the type of love we are to show to the world.
WE MUST BE WILLING TO SHARE THE TRUTH IN THE MIDST OF NAME-CALLING AND PERSECUTION, REGARDLESS OF THE PERSONAL CONSEQUENCES, OUT OF LOVE FOR OUR NEIGHBOR. THAT’S THE ACTION WE ARE TO TAKE.
Daniel was a man greatly loved by God (Dan. 10:19). Wouldn’t you like to hear those words upon arriving in heaven? Daniel was given a vision of the future and there he saw the people who know their God standing firm and taking action.
Are you one of those people? Because that’s the true solution to the challenges in our world today. The Hope for our country is found in God’s people, Christians, understanding the Truths of the Bible, applying them to our culture, and acting upon them in love.
And that’s what Biblical Citizenship is.