“So David restrained his servants with these words and did not allow them to rise against Saul.”  Samuel 24:7

“So they answered and said before the king: ‘That Daniel, who is one of the captives of Judah does not show due regard for you……..but makes his petitions three times a day’.”  Daniel 6:13

“Then Mary said to the angel: ‘How can this be, since I do not know a man?”  Luke 1:34

Three people.  Three people in vastly different times and circumstances.  Three people, in vastly different times and circumstances, but each facing the very real possibility of impending death.  Three people to whom the world would shout:  “Stop You Fool!  If you continue you will be destroyed”.

David was the enemy of the King Saul of Israel.  David had done nothing wrong.  In fact David had won great victories for Saul and had always shown great loyalty to Saul.  However, that did not keep Saul from becoming extremely jealous of David.  The people were shouting praises to David louder than their praises for Saul.  Saul could not stand that, nor allow it to continue.  David must die.  David ran, Saul pursued.  Then it seemed that God had delivered Saul into David’s hands; at least that is what David’s men thought.  For Saul had entered a cave by himself where David and his men were hiding.  It would have been so easy to sneak up and kill Saul, which is exactly what David’s men wanted him to do.  I’m sure they thought David a fool and perhaps themselves fools for following him we he wouldn’t do it.  But Saul was not a king raised up by himself or the people.  Saul had been anointed king by God’s prophet Samuel.  And who God had anointed to be king, David could not destroy.  So he kept hiding, only cutting off a corner of Saul’s robe, while he lie resting, to show that David was no threat to Saul.

Daniel was in trouble.  His enemies, again jealous of his success had made a plot against him.  They tricked the king into making a decree that no one could pray or petition any other god but him for thirty days.  These men knew Daniel and how devout Daniel was to God Almighty.  He would not disobey or act unfaithful to his heavenly King at the orders of an earthly king.  The world would scream: “it’s only 30 days, you can go that long without praying!”  Daniel knew from whence his strength came and knelt in his room, with the doors closed and prayed to God.  He was still discovered and now was to be tossed into a den of hungry lions.

Mary had a choice to make.  She was already engaged.  Engaged to a good man.  The man had a skill, knew a trade.  He would be able to provide for her.  Yet here was an angel saying that she was to become pregnant before ever marrying the man.  And here was the dilemma, you see she would not be able to hide the pregnancy from him.  Her fiance would or at least should suspect that she had been unfaithful.  The punishment in her day was far, far different than how the world looks at that behavior today.  Mary was facing complete and utter banishment at the very least, and quite probably death by stoning.  The world would cry out: “Don’t be a fool, tell the angel, he has the wrong woman!  Find another!”  Mary responds: “let it be according to your word.”

Three people.  In the world’s eyes, three fools.  The world would say that they each needed to have their head examined.  And based on that examination the world would say that there behavior was self destructive and that each was delusional.  The world would have them committed to an institution for their own good.  The world would seem right.  Truth would be though, the world would be completely and utterly wrong.

Destroyed?  Hardly, for in sparing Saul and being faithful to God, David would not only survive but end up being the greatest earthly king Israel was to ever have.  Daniel would survive the lions den when an angel came and shut the big cats mouths.  When the king saw Daniel’s miraculous survival, he ordered Daniel’s accusers cast into the lions den along with their families where they all perished.  Not only that but the king decreed that all his kingdom should honor and live in fear of Almighty God.  Finally, we know that Mary was not banished or killed.  Joseph is told that Mary has not been unfaithful to him with another man and is carrying the Savior of the World.  Mary will be revered as the most blessed woman ever.

The world gives a lot of advice.  Stores are filled with self help books, tapes and videos.  If we are to believe them; they know exactly what we should be doing, thinking and saying, as well as those things we should avoid.  Put our money here, get this degree there, use this vitamin supplement now, wear these clothes for success and this exercise machine will effortlessly make you look fabulous.  Faith in a higher power?  Admitting that I am broken, a sinner in need of a savior?  Follow an obscure person who lived long ago and lasted barely three years?  Sounds foolish to the world.

When we look in the mirror, we can see David or Daniel or Mary looking back at us.  We know that we are being called by God Almighty to do amazing things.  We are ordinary people with whom God wants to accomplish extraordinary things.  The world tells us; don’t do it.   The world advises us to turn Him down.  Following God will only make us look foolish when we inevitably fail.  Thank God we have His resource; the bible.  The bible, where we can see countless times where it is the wisdom of the world that becomes foolish and fools are the ones who follow it.  It is the ones who, through faith, overcome the failure of earthly foolishness to succeed through God’s wisdom.

Our Most Gracious and Heavenly Father, the world cries out against You and against Your followers.  The world tells us we are fools to follow You and we will be destroyed.  Give us Your strength, Most Merciful Father, to stand up to the world’s foolishness and faithfully follow where you would have us go.  In that living a life of triumph, through Your blessings, we might truly praise Your Holy Name.  We pray in the name of Jesus Christ.  Amen