NEW SERIES: Living as Exiles: A Study in the book in Daniel
TEXT: Daniel 1:1-21
MESSAGE: “Resilient Faith in Uncertain Times”
“Today, nearly two-thirds of all young adults who were once regular churchgoers have dropped out at one time or another (64 percent). Our contention is that today’s society is especially and insidiously faith repellent. Certainly, God’s people have weathered hostile seasons in the past; church history reminds us that living faithfully has never been easy. But our research shows that resilient faith is tougher to grow today using the cultivation methods we relied on throughout the twentieth century. This leads to our central claim in Faith for Exiles. Young non-Christians are avoiding Christianity, and young Christians are abandoning church; however, by cultivating five practices, we can form and be formed into disciples of Jesus who thrive as exiles in digital Babylon.” — Kinnaman and Matlock
Practice 1: To form a resilient identity, experience intimacy with Jesus.
Practice 2: In a complex and anxious age, develop the muscles of cultural discernment.
Practice 3: When isolation and mistrust are the norms, forge meaningful, intergenerational relationships.
Practice 4: To ground and motivate an ambitious generation, train for vocational discipleship.
Practice 5: Curb entitlement and self-centered tendencies by engaging in countercultural mission.
“In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. 2 And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with some of the vessels of the house of God.” — Daniel 1:1-2
“The one who had sent them into exile had also promised to be with them there, and ultimately to restore them from exile after a time of judgement. An implicit parallel is drawn between the sacred articles stolen from the temple and the people taken by Nebuchadnezzar; the young men are describe as ‘free from defect’, a word more commonly used of sacrifices. Just as the Lord allowed Nebuchadnezzar to carry away the temple vessels, he also allowed him to carry off some of the best of his people. That parallel further implies that just as the temple vessels would inevitably eventually make their way home, so to would his exiled people. God will not abandon what is his own.” — Iain Duguid
“…believers can recognize that none of their troubles take God by surprise, and none will derail his purpose of making things right for those who faithfully love him.” – Tremper Longman III
TEXT: Daniel 1:1-21
How do we see Daniel live out a resilient faith in uncertain times? There are three lessons that we find in his story. There is an: (1. Outward Integration 2. Internal Resolve 3. Constant Dependance)
- Outward Integration (v. 3-7)
“Then the king commanded Ashpenaz, his chief eunuch, to bring some of the people of Israel, both of the royal family and of the nobility, 4 youths without blemish, of good appearance and skillful in all wisdom, endowed with knowledge, understanding learning, and competent to stand in the king’s palace, and to teach them the literature and language of the Chaldeans. 5 The king assigned them a daily portion of the food that the king ate, and of the wine that he drank. They were to be educated for three years, and at the end of that time they were to stand before the king. 6 Among these were Daniel, Hananiah,
Mishael, and Azariah of the tribe of Judah. 7 And the chief of the eunuchs gave them names: Daniel he called Belteshazzar, Hananiah he called Shadrach, Mishael he called Meshach, and Azariah he called Abednego.”
“To be sure, they did not outwardly resist the Babylonian system. They did not refuse to work for the Babylonians, perhaps because they recognized the hand of God in their situation. They understood the word that the Lord gave through Jeremiah, that those whom he sent to Babylon should labor there or the blessing of the place in which they found themselves. As far as possible these young men sought to work within the system in which they had been placed, being good citizens of Babylon as well as of heaven.” — Iain Duguid
2. Internal Resolve (v. 8-13)
“But Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the king’s food, or with the wine that he drank. Therefore he asked the chief of the eunuchs to allow him not to defile himself. 9 And God gave Daniel favor and compassion in the sight of the chief of the eunuchs, 10 and the chief of the eunuchs said to Daniel, “I fear my lord the king, who assigned your food and your drink; for why should he see that you were in worse condition than the youths who are of your own age? So you would endanger my head with the king.” 11 Then Daniel said to the steward whom the chief of the eunuchs had assigned over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, 12 “Test your servants for ten days; let us be given vegetables to eat and water to drink. 13 Then let our appearance and the appearance of the youths who eat the king’s food be observed by you, and deal with your servants according to what you see.”
“But Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the king’s food, or with the wine that he drank. Therefore he asked the chief of the eunuchs to allow him not to defile himself.” (Daniel 1:8 ESV)
“The immersion into the worldview of…Babylon would not win his heart or his mind. Babylon is where he would live, but Babylon would never be his home…Daniel and his friends were forced to be in Babylon, but they would not let Babylon get into them.” — Daniel Akin
3. Constant Reliance (v. 14-21)
“As for these four youths, God gave them learning and skill in all literature and wisdom, and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams. 18 At the end of the time, when the king had commanded that they should be brought in, the chief of the eunuchs brought them in before Nebuchadnezzar. 19 And the king spoke with them, and among all of them none was found like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. Therefore they stood before the king. 20 And in every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king inquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters that were in all his kingdom. 21 And Daniel was there until the first year of King Cyrus.”
* Recognize God’s Hand
* Remember God’s Ways
* Reflect God’s Glory