What did Joseph, Daniel and Mordecai have in common? These three were Old Testament Israelites who at different times rose to great political power under secular Kings – foreign Kings who did not share their values, and whom they could easily have despised. Save the sovereignty of God, from a human standpoint, how did these men of principle – set aside by God and for God – attain such positions of influence?
Is this not the same situation with the majority parties in the US Congress and Senate in relation to our President? I see at least four common characteristics and two common results in the lives of these three uncommon men. Herein are parallel principles that you need to incorporate into your own life in order to remain effective for God in office.
As a matter of fact, if I could teach an elected official only one Bible study as to how to remain effective for God in office, it would be this one.
As we ponder a whole new day in America’s future there is concomitant pressure on you to perform: This study will be a great aid to you in that quest. Read on.
It is a new day in Washington and America. With this in mind, and the obvious cry for change by the electorate, what are some of the pitfalls that could await you, the elected agents of change? Please contemplate this study as the new dawn arises. Please take this study to heart, my dear friends because there is no room to blow it again. With that in mind, there is much we can glean from these OT scriptural parallels that follow from the lives of these three remarkable OT leaders! My prayer is that you will be prayerful and contemplative, asking God to interact with your heart as you plumb the depths of His Word in and from the following passages.
II. THREE UNCOMMON MEN
What’s in common to three uncommon men? Joseph, Daniel and Mordecai each rose from austerity to political prominence as sojourners in a foreign land. As a matter of fact, each became his host country’s second-in-command under a pagan King! One such feat alone – not to mention three – is reason for special study for anyone finding themselves in a position of political leadership and power under a ruler who thinks just the opposite about most everything! Think about this by way of comparison:
Joseph found himself under Pharaoh during Israel’s 400 years in Egypt
Daniel was carted in to serve under Nebuchadnezzar (and Cyrus) during Israel’s Babylonian captivity, and…
Mordecai ended up in the palace of Ahasuerus (Xerxes) during Israel’s confinement in the Persian empire.
In each man’s meteoric rise to power, what are the similar traits, characteristics and leadership qualities that we can glean and apply, especially in relationship to the Senators – and the Senate’s sudden rise to power under a hostile President?
THESE PASSAGES ARE APPLICABLE AND CAN PROVIDE MUCH GUIDANCE RELATED TO THE SUDDEN DRASTIC MESSAGE THAT HAS BEEN SENT TO THE US SENATE
These OT men didn’t just survive; they thrived in a hostile political environment. How about you? Will you thrive under the current President by following the principles seen in these three wise men? I can find at least four common characteristics that account for the prosperity of them even though each is in a different time and situation.
Due to the length to which I confine my weekly studies, this study must assume a working knowledge of the context of each man within his respective book of the Bible: The books of Genesis, Daniel and Esther respectively. I strongly suggest you read them prior to studying what follows (if you do not already have an agile familiarity with these OT books), so as to gain the maximum impact of this study on your thinking, life and actions while in office.
Building a cogent parallel of these three men will require quite a lengthy study in the least, which prohibits me from getting in the weeds and duly contextualizing each of the passages that will be mentioned in rapid fire. I trust that you understand.
III. FOUR COMMON CHARACTERISTICS
What are the four common characteristics that are evident in each of these men that can be attributed to their growing and continued influence in a hostile political environment? Each follows and is supported by respective biblical passages.
A. MANIFEST RESPECT FOR A SECULAR KING
Genesis 41:14 Then Pharaoh sent and called for Joseph, and they hurriedly brought him out of the dungeon; and when he had shaved himself and changed his clothes, he came to Pharaoh.
Daniel 1:8 But Daniel made up his mind that he would not defile himself with the king’s choice food or with the wine which he drank; so he sought permission from the commander of the officials that he might not defile himself. (Cf. 2:49)
Esther 4:2 He went as far as the king’s gate, for no one was to enter the king’s gate clothed in sackcloth.
In each of the three men is outward respect for the King, strongly suggesting inward respect, at least for the office. In each setting these men were cognizant of God’s institution of Civil Government, and since Government is created by God, but not necessarily led by godly men and women, respect for governing authorities is nonetheless requisite. Note this principle in the NT from Romans 13:1…
Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.
Joseph, Daniel and Mordecai each exemplified this principle, as is evident from these passages; they followed the rules and protocol. Nor did they call their boss names in the media. Believers usually think much differently from secular authorities, and rightfully so, but nevertheless one must respect the leader’s God-ordained position, as these passages so vividly portray. (So long as doing so is not contrary to the commands of Scripture). Do you show respect for people in authority with whom you rightly disagree? States 1Peter 2:17…
Honor all men; love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king.
B. LOYAL SERVICE TO A SECULAR KING
Genesis 39:8 But he refused and said to his master’s wife, “Behold, with me here, my master does not concern himself with anything in the house, and he has put all that he owns in my charge. 9 “There is no one greater in this house than I, and he has withheld nothing from me except you, because you are his wife. How then could I do this great evil and sin against God?” 10 As she spoke to Joseph day after day, he did not listen to her to lie beside her or be with her.
Daniel 2:25 Then Arioch hurriedly brought Daniel into the king’s presence and spoke to him as follows: “I have found a man among the exiles from Judah who can make the interpretation known to the king!”
Esther 2:22 But the plot became known to Mordecai, and he told Queen Esther, and Esther informed the king in Mordecai’s name.
Each of these men displays a manifest unfaltering loyalty to the country’s civil leader at times when it would have been easy to do otherwise. In each case and in due time the King learned of their loyalty. Do you practice not only the presence of God, but the King when engaging in private, personal conversations with others? Note the following…
Proverbs 14:35 The king’s favor is toward a servant who acts wisely, But his anger is toward him who acts shamefully.
Proverbs 25:9-‐10 Argue your case with your neighbor, And do not reveal the secret of another, Or he who hears it will reproach you, And the evil report about you will not pass away.
C. INSIGHTFUL WISDOM FOR A SECULAR KING
Genesis 41:38 Then Pharaoh said to his servants, “Can we find a man like this, in whom is a divine spirit?” So Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Since God has informed you of all this, there is no one so discerning and wise as you are.
Daniel 1:20 As for every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king consulted them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and conjurers who were in all his realm.
Esther 6:1-‐3 During that night the king could not sleep so he gave an order to bring the book of records, the chronicles, and they were read before the king. It was found written what Mordecai had reported concerning Bigthana and Teresh, two of the king’s eunuchs who were doorkeepers, that they had sought to lay hands on King Ahasuerus. The king said, “What honor or dignity has been bestowed on Mordecai for this?” Then the king’s servants who attended him said, “Nothing has been done for him.”
Another profound element explaining the dramatic rise of these three men was their value to the King. We may not be able to interpret a king’s dreams today, but we can put into words the ageless truths of God’s Word! (Cf. 1Peter 3:15)
WHEN A LEADER DISCOVERS YOUR GODLY WISDOM, YOUR ABILITY AND AGILITY TO APPLY THE WORD ACCURATELY, SPECIFICALLY AND SUCCESSFULLY IN SOLUTION TO COMPLEX POLITICAL DIFFICULTIES, IT IS THEN THAT YOU TAKE ON TREMENDOUS VALUE
President George W. Bush called Congressman Trent Franks his anchor for this very reason. How are you progressing in your discipline and quest for gaining greater biblical understanding and perspicacity (M&W: “Clear-sighted, quick-sighted, sharp-sighted”)? If you have no plans to continually grow and increase in your biblical acumen you are most definitely limiting your future political value and worth my friend – not only in God’s eyes, but to the King and the country. Remember above all else is the power of the Word in your life. 1Tim. 3:16-17 says…
All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.
Do you believe your biblical knowledge and wisdom directly determines your vocational altitude and value? Are you presently adequate, equipped for every good work that a superior might need from you? Or are you biblically illiterate and full of your own ideas about things? Work to intertwine your personage with the Word of God and you will possess insightful and profound wisdom for a secular leader. It stands you should be committed to the Members Bible Study in the Capitol wherein the Word of God is regularly explicated and applied in specific to the life of a Public Servant. How foolish it is to miss out on studying the Bible; it is to the peril of your country, your King, and yourself.
D. UNSWERVING COURAGE IN THE FACE OF A SECULAR KING
Genesis 41:16 Joseph then answered Pharaoh, saying, “It is not in me; God will give Pharaoh a favorable answer.”
Daniel 3:16 Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-‐nego replied to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to give you an answer concerning this matter. “If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. “But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”
Esther 3:3 Then the king’s servants who were at the king’s gate said to Mordecai, “Why are you transgressing the king’s command?” Now it was when they had spoken daily to him and he would not listen to them, that they told Haman to see whether Mordecai’s reason would stand; for he had told them that he was a Jew. When Haman saw that Mordecai neither bowed down nor paid homage to him, Haman was filled with rage.
These guys had guts! In their prerequisite Manifest Respect, Loyal Service and Insightful Wisdom to the King they did not compromise their beliefs one bit! In addition to the three aforementioned prerequisites they displayed Unswerving Courage! Notice however that the other three must be manifest in concert with courage. Courage alone, without the others will lead to your disaster in office.
When Joseph is answering Pharaoh in the cited passage above (D1), he in essence is stating to the follower of a pagan deity that it is not him, but rather [it is] God [who] will give Pharaoh a favorable answer. Why is this so profound an illustration of the characteristic of courage? Because the Hebrew word for God that he used is Elohim – Joseph is heralding to Pharaoh that it is the God of the Hebrews who will answer his dream! That my friend takes guts! Fresh-out-ofprison Joseph is witnessing right in the face of Pharaoh about the one-and-only true God!
Likewise Daniel doesn’t even flinch when in essence he entices Nebuchadnezzar to (my paraphrase), “turn up the furnace as high as you want…it matters not to us! We are not going to serve your god no matter what!” (D2).
Nor would Mordecai bow to the intimidating power of Haman! (D3). It is this unswerving total confidence in God that is illustrated by each of the three! And note this in each case: each King ends up respecting God’s servant for it! Put simply…
THE ONE WHO COMPROMISES ON GODLY PRECEPTS ENDS UP HAVING TO PROTECT HIM OR HERSELF; WHEREAS THE ONE WHO WILL NOT COMPROMISE GODLY PRECEPTS WILL BE THE RECIPIENT OF AN UNEARTHLY PROTECTION
Do you have unbending convictions relative to and grounded in the principles and precepts of God’s Book? Will you “stand before Kings as a witness to them and not be ashamed” (Psalm 199:46)? When God sees this quality and characteristic repeatedly manifest in one of His children, He strongly supports and elevates them. Notice this principle/promise as summarized in Matt. 25:21…
His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’
Undoubtedly, this is the one characteristic that led to the rise of these otherwise common foreigners: God elevated them because each one of them was faithful to represent God without compromise! There are many who display Manifest Respect, Loyal Service and Insightful Wisdom but who lack the Unswerving Courage to speak of God’s ways no matter the price. God is looking – America is looking – for leaders of Unswerving Courage! That’s what the election just said! Are you one of them?
ELEVATION AND SUSTAINMENT IN LEADERSHIP
If ultimately “The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the LORD; He turns it wherever He wishes” (Proverbs 21:1), and if “the Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind, And bestows it on whom He wishes” (Daniel 4:17), and if God “…moves to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His” (2Chronicles 16:9a), then it follows that He alone is ultimately the one who determines who will or will not be elevated in this life – no one else can determine your destiny! Accordingly, wise is the Public Servant who puts him or herself in a place whereby God can choose to elevate and sustain them if He so desires.
Unswerving Courage in the manifestation of God’s Word is an uncommon characteristic today. Do you possess it? How many of these four characteristics characterize you? Are you respectful, loyal, insightful and unswerving? Again, don’t be the last one without first being the first three! To do so is to be a “noisy gong and a clanging symbol” (1Cor. 13:1-3). I have noticed over decades of ministry in Capitals that such individuals typically do not maintain office as long as they would like.
IV. TWO COMMON RESULTS
Now notice from these passages at least two recurring results in the lives of these men:
A. PROMOTION BY THE SECULAR KING
Genesis 41:40 “You shall be over my house, and according to your command all my people shall do homage; only in the throne I will be greater than you.”
Daniel 2:46-‐49 Then King Nebuchadnezzar fell on his face and did homage to Daniel, and gave orders to present to him an offering and fragrant incense. 47 The king answered Daniel and said, “Surely your God is a God of gods and a Lord of kings and a revealer of mysteries, since you have been able to reveal this mystery.” 48 Then the king promoted Daniel and gave him many great gifts, and he made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon and chief prefect over all the wise men of Babylon. 49 And Daniel made request of the king, and he appointed Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-‐nego over the administration of the province of Babylon, while Daniel was at the king’s court.
Esther 10:2 And all the accomplishments of his authority and strength, and the full account of the greatness of Mordecai to which the king advanced him, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Media and Persia? 3 For Mordecai the Jew was second only to King Ahasuerus, and great among the Jews and in favor with his many kinsmen, one who sought the good of his people and one who spoke for the welfare of his whole nation.
There is no guarantee that if one masters the four common characteristics herein that he or she will be chosen as the Vice President of the United States in our day and age. That’s not the point of the study. But for sure one will be more pleasing to the King of Kings! Apart from your career path in this world, God promises His faithful (those who are trusting in Christ alone for their salvation) an imperishable crown in Heaven. May that prize consume our hearts more so than the perishable, temporary awards and accomplishments of this life. 1Peter 5:4 states to believers,
And when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory.
And who knows…. Certainly it is my prayer that faithful and mature followers of Christ will lead not only America, but also many nations throughout the world! And such individuals only exist to the degree that others disciple them in the Word.
B. PROTECTION BY A CONCERNED, EVER-WATCHING FATHER
Genesis 50:20 “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.
Daniel 3:24 Then Nebuchadnezzar the king was astounded and stood up in haste; he said to his high officials, “Was it not three men we cast bound into the midst of the fire?” They replied to the king, “Certainly, O king.” 25 He said, “Look! I see four men loosed and walking about in the midst of the fire without harm, and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods!”
Esther 7:10 So they hanged Haman on the gallows which he had prepared for Mordecai, and the king’s anger subsided.
God has a way of protecting and delivering His children in the long run; He is the expert at reversing evil for good.
THESE THREE FAITHFUL MEN ALL EXPERIENCED HEART-THREATENING AND LIFE-THREATENING SITUATIONS, ONLY TO SEE THE HAND OF GOD DELIVER EACH OF THEM!
When unfolding God’s economy of maturing His loved ones, James 1:2 cannot be avoided:
Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance.
Similar to the lives of Joseph, Daniel and Mordecai, those whom God is elevating (don’t allow yourself to think for a moment that you won office in and by your own power) will face refining fires — humanly impossible fiery ordeals that only God can deliver you from. However, a concerned, everwatching Father never takes His eyes off of those whom He loves, elevates and sustains! He wants only what is best for you as He perfects you! The fact that God has placed many new, godly men and women in the Congress and in the Senate is His doing! Each will face his or her own trials, but may each never lose sight of practicing the four characteristics that these three men displayed. They are the formula for pleasing God and maintaining influence for God in public service.
The four characteristics shared by these three men embody the tension every elected official must maintain between loyalty and service to someone whom they may not respect, and at the same time not compromise on biblically based principles. In a very real sense, these three men serve as narrative illustrations of Proverbs 3:3…
Do not let kindness and truth leave you; Bind them around your neck, Write them on the tablet of your heart.
Note the same tension and principle in 1Corinthians 13:6…
[Love] does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth;
God has been gracious to grant America many new, God-fearing governing authorities. May He grant even more such governing authorities in the days ahead: Men and women who possess unbending, omnipresent respect, loyalty, wisdom and courage, those same characteristics found in and attributable to the rise and sustainment of political wisdom and power by Joseph, Daniel and Mordecai!
God may not advance you to be second-incommand, but in His own way, economy and purposes, He will promote and protect you to the degree these qualities depict you!
May such characterize the men and women in Congress and the Senate who name the name of Christ.
This my friend, is what Joseph, Daniel and Mordecai have to say today in regards to the recent Senate takeover. We thank God for the message of their lives that still lives on today!