NEW SERIES: Living As Exiles

MESSAGE: “Faithfully living in the tension”

TEXT: Daniel 2:1-23


Q: How do you live faithfully as an exile?

“In Daniel 1:17 we are told that God gave Daniel understanding in ‘visions and dreams of every kind.’ Now in chapter 2 we see how valuable this gift from God is. It is a gift that will save not only Daniel’s life but also the life of his friends and the lives of all the wise men, enchanters, astrologers, and sorcerers in Babylon.” — Daniel Akin

“It would be only logical for the wise men to communicate with a language common to all, since the wise men are a racially and ethnically diverse group.” — Andrew Hill

Q: How does Daniel live faithfully in the tension? In today’s text we see three ways. He…(1. Discerned the culture 2. Engaged the moment 3. Pursued God’s response)

  1. Discerned the culture (v. 3-6; 10-11)

And the king said to them, “I had a dream, and my spirit is troubled to know the dream.” Then the Chaldeans said to the king in Aramaic, “O king, live forever! Tell your servants the dream, and we will show the interpretation.” The king answered and said to the Chaldeans, “The word from me is firm: if you do not make known to me the dream and its interpretation, you shall be torn limb from limb, and your houses shall be laid in ruins. But if you show the dream and its interpretation, you shall receive from me gifts and rewards and great honor. Therefore show me the dream and its interpretation.”…10 The Chaldeans answered the king and said, “There is not a man on earth who can meet the king’s demand, for no great and powerful king has asked such a thing of any magician or enchanter or Chaldean. 11 The thing that the king asks is difficult, and no one can show it to the king except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh.”

       2. Engaged the moment (v. 12-16)

“Because of this the king was angry and very furious, and commanded that all the wise men of Babylon be destroyed. 13 So the decree went out, and the wise men were about to be killed; and they sought Daniel and his companions, to kill them. 14 Then Daniel replied with prudence and discretion to Arioch, the captain of the king’s guard, who had gone out to kill the wise men of Babylon. 15 He declared to Arioch, the king’s captain, “Why is the decree of the king so urgent?” Then Arioch made the matter known to Daniel. 16 And Daniel went in and requested the king to appoint him a time, that he might show the interpretation to the king.”

        3. Waited on God’s response (v. 17-23)

Then Daniel went to his house and made the matter known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions, 18 and told them to seek mercy from the God of heaven concerning this mystery, so that Daniel and his companions might not be destroyed with the rest of the wise men of Babylon. 19 Then the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision of the night. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven. 20 Daniel answered and said: “Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, to whom belong wisdom and might. 21 He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings; he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding; 22 he reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with him. 23 To you, O God of my fathers, I give thanks and praise, for you have given me wisdom and might, and have now made known to me what we asked of you, for you have made known to us the king’s matter.”

“But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.” — Jeremiah 29:7

“This must have been absolutely astounding to the people who listened. This seems counterintuitive to what you’d think God would ever say. He says three things that must have just been astonishing to them. The first thing is he said, “Get a bigger picture for what I’m doing. This is a city to which I carried you.” He says, “The city to which I carried you.” He is saying, “It’s part of my plan that you lost the cultural power. It’s part of my plan that now you, as believers, have to live in a pagan, wicked city. It’s part of my plan to renew you and to change you and to grow you. It’s part of my plan to change them and to grow them and to renew them. It’s part of my plan to get my Word out into the world. Your loss of cultural power, you now needing to live as believers in an unbelieving world is part of my plan.” He says, “I designed this.” He says, “Move in there. Get in there. Don’t stay away. Big plan. I took away Christendom. I took away the cultural power. I disseminated you through the pagan cities of the world,” he says. That’s the first thing.” — Timothy Keller

“Almost everyone believes that prayer is important. But there is a difference between believing that prayer is important and believing it is essential. “Essential” means there are things that will not happen without prayer.” — Dee Duke

TAKEAWAYS: How can we live faithfully today?

* Discern your surroundings

* Decide who’s greater

Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.” 39 And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.” 40 And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping.” — Matthew 26:38-40

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