Series: Thriving in Babylon
Topic: Part 1 — Counter Culture
Speaker: Scotty Priest, Lead Pastor
Date: March 19, 2023
Daniel 1:1-8— In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. And the Lord delivered Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, along with some of the articles from the temple of God.
Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, chief of his court officials, to bring into the king’s service some of the Israelites from the royal family and the nobility young men without any physical defect, handsome, showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well informed, quick to understand, and qualified to serve in the king’s palace.
He was to teach them the language and literature of the Babylonians. The king assigned them a daily amount of food and wine from the king’s table. They were to be trained for three years, and after that they were to enter the king’s service.
Among those who were chosen were some from Judah: Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. The chief official gave them new names: to Daniel, the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abednego.
But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way.
1. Daniel found himself in a culture and situation that was counter to who he was and what he believed in. He was tested, pressured and doubted but he still found the courage to handle himself in a godly manner. How does Daniel stand firm AND love well in this passage?
2. Many of us can relate to Daniel as we face challenges everyday in different aspects of our lives that create tension. Take a look at the five ways we can stand firm and love well; big view of God, resolved, my friends matter, pray like it matters and chase excellence. Which of these areas currently are a strength for you? Which one of these would you like to grow in?
John 17:14-18 — 14 I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. 15 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. 17 Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.
3. You are not here by accident, your life and circumstance are not an accident. God has created you on purpose and for a plan and there will be persecution and trials. Is there a specific challenge you are facing right now (what is your Babylon)? Taking what we know from this message and scripture, what is one way you can be salt and light to those around you?