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Controlled By Gifts - Dave's Daily Devo - November 15

  • 2019 Nov 15
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20191115   

Controlled By Gifts 

Daniel 11:20-24

In John Grisham’s legal thriller, The Firm, Mitch McDeere, a young lawyer from a poor family, is about to graduate from Harvard Law. A law firm offers him a dream job with money, a new car, house, and fancy vacations in the Caribbean. After passing his bar exam, he pours out the hours and discovers too late that his job is to create cunning tax-avoidance strategies and phony out of the country shell corporations. His bosses used the gifts and rewards to lure him in, but then they demand loyalty—even if it means breaking the law.

This seductive game of giving generous rewards in exchange for absolute loyalty is an old con game. As a boy growing up as a hostage in Rome, Antiochus Epiphanes (175 -163 BC) learned the game well. His older brother, Seleucus IV Philopator, and then his brother’s son had the right to the throne, but when their father died, Antiochus IV used stealth and smooth lies to take the throne. Then just as Daniel predicted 373 years earlier, he used the plunder from military victories to reward his friends and solidify their absolute loyalty. 

“Then his successor will send a tax collector to maintain the glory of the kingdom. In a few years he will be shattered but not in anger or in battle. In his place will arise a despicable person to whom the right of royal majesty has not been given. 

In the midst of a period of ease and rest he will come in and seize the kingdom by his smooth cunning schemes. Then a large army will be swept away before him. Both the army and a prince of the covenant will be destroyed. After making an agreement with him, he will act deceitfully, with only a few people he will keep growing in power.     
Some of his richest territories will feel secure and safe, but he will invade and achieve what neither his father or forefathers were able to do. Using booty, plunder, and wealth he will distribute it among his followers, making plans to overthrow fortresses. But his success will only last for a time.” Daniel 11:20-24

When Antiochus III died, his son, Seleucus IV, became king and sent Heliodorus, his tax collector,  to the Temple in Jerusalem for plunder in an attempt to pay the large indemnity Rome demanded after Syria’s defeat at Apamea. Daniel predicted this and he also predicted Seleucus IV wouldn’t rule long. Only a few years later his tax collector poisoned him. 

Seleucus’ son then had the right to the throne, but Antiochus, his uncle, stole his throne. Quickly Antiochus IV solidified his power. When Ptolemy VI Philometer tried to retake Palestine; Phoenicia defeated him, took him hostage, and then made a covenant with his enemy. 

When Ptolemy VII took power in Alexandria, Antiochus made a covenant with his hostage, promising to put him back in power. The plan backfired. The two brothers in Egypt reconciled, and turned against Antiochus. With a large army they tried to destroy Antiochus , but he swept them away, plundered Egypt, and used the plunder to reward his supporters. His schemes, deceit, and use of bribes to secure loyalty worked for a time.

LORD, protect me from the seductive manipulations of powerful people who try to use their supposed generosity to gain loyalty. Help me remember that if it’s too good to be true, it’s a lie. Thanks that you never lie, manipulate, or give gifts with strings attached.

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