Nosy Neighbors

This week our theme is Gospel Hope and our passage is Daniel chapter 3.

It’s time we had a talk about Gladys Kravitz. Many of you over fifty know exactly who I’m talking about. Mrs. Kravitz was the famously nosy neighbor on the television show “Bewitched” that ran from 1964 to 1972. Mrs. Kravitz was always preoccupied with what her neighbors were doing, and I thought of her when thinking about the astrologers in this passage.

At this time some astrologers came forward and denounced the Jews. They said to King Nebuchadnezzar, “May the king live forever! Your Majesty has issued a decree…

…But there are some Jews whom you have set over the affairs of the province of Babylon—Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego—who pay no attention to you, Your Majesty. They neither serve your gods nor worship the image of gold you have set up.”
(Daniel 3:8-9,12) 

I am far from a Bible scholar, but I sense that just maybe these astrologers did not approach the King with a sincere, selfless concern about his decree. They appeared to be taking more of a “tattle-tale” approach to the situation, more eager to focus on the behavior of others than their own. It reminds me of a preschooler ratting out a friend who didn’t close her eyes during prayer time. Oh, really? Well, if your eyes were dutifully closed, how did you see that hers were not?

An online commentator theorized that these astrologers resented the prominent place Daniel and his friends had taken in Babylon - a place more prominent than the astrologers’. I can’t speak to the accuracy of this theory, but it sure fits with human behavior I’ve observed. Going back to the preschool analogy, nothing will rankle a three-year-old like receiving a cookie, and then noticing one of his friends somehow got his hands on two cookies.

Are we ever like that? Can’t appreciate a good thing because somebody else has a better thing?

My challenge for us today is to not be like Mrs. Kravitz or those astrologers, preoccupied by the petty slights and offenses of those around us. Please know that I’m not talking about ignoring true injustices or excusing harmful behavior. My challenge is very simple:

When God gives us a cookie, appreciate and enjoy the cookie.

And when God gives us the hope of a glorious eternal life with Him through a Savior who willingly suffered a punishment we deserved? It’s all we really need.

By Mark Stuart






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