Should You Obey a Law That Forbids Worshipping God?

“I would rather die than to obey a law that prohibits worshipping God,” says Sarah, age 8. “I love God with all my heart. You should do what’s right. Obey what’s right, and you will be fine.”

Thank you for your incredible statement, Sarah. I’m amazed and challenged by your love and devotion.

“I would pray three times a day in the morning, at lunch and at suppertime,” says Lindsay, 11. “I would have a quiet time in the morning and at night.”

You’re in good company, Lindsay. The prophet Daniel prayed three times a day. His custom became the focus of a plot hatched by people who were jealous of his position in the court of King Darius.

The king signed a decree that guaranteed a luncheon with the royal lions if you prayed to any god or man other than the king. In other words, whoever violated the decree would become lion lunchmeat.

Daniel’s custom was to pray with his window open toward Jerusalem. It would have been very easy to justify closing the window during the 30 days of the decree. Daniel could have said: “Can you please shut the window? It’s kind of breezy in here today.” Not Daniel. His pattern never changed.

The rest of the story is well known. Daniel was thrown into the lions’ den, but the lions suddenly lost their appetites. This miracle apparently impressed the king, who issued another order: “I make a decree that in every dominion of my kingdom, men must tremble and fear before the God of Daniel.”

Sara, 10, is on target when she says, “You should set a good example for other people to know God, and not worship something else.” Amy, 11, adds, “It is better to die for a true God than living and worshipping a false god.”

Yes, Daniel is an example. Do you suppose he knew God would shut the lions’ mouths? Nothing in the Bible indicates he knew anything of God’s plan to turn the lions into house cats during his overnight stay in their den.

“If you believe in the real God, no matter what happens to you, you will not get hurt at all because God and his angels are always with you. That is having faith in God,” says Salar, 10.

Uh, excuse me, Salar. How do you explain the death of first-century Christians who were devoured by lions in the Roman Coliseum?

Obviously, it was God’s purpose to show unbelievers the courage and peace of Christians as they looked past death into the glories of heaven. As Stephen the evangelist was being stoned to death, he said: “Look! I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God” (Acts 7:56).

The Scripture records that there was a young man named Saul who consented to Stephen’s death. Later, that young man’s name was changed to Paul — the Apostle Paul. At the time of Stephen’s martyrdom, who would have ever guessed that one of the men consenting to his death would become God’s chief agent for spreading the gospel throughout the world?

“I think that if Jesus was able to give his life and die for us, we should be able to stand up and say that we will not obey a law that forbids us from worshipping him,” says Alyssa, 12.

Point to ponder: Laws that coerce people to worship false gods or the true God should not be obeyed.

Scripture to remember: “But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: ‘We ought to obey God rather than men'” (Acts 5:29).

Question to consider: If a law were passed forbidding the worship of God, would you obey it?