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His World Changed, But Daniel Didn't

How can we keep our faith in a world that is changing so quickly and drastically? One great man in the Bible shows us how to adjust without compromising.

Daniel was a young man with a promising future when the Chaldeans took him from his home in Judah to Babylon. His world changed overnight and his life was never the same. Everything was different in this strange land—buildings, clothes, food, language, laws, religion, entertainment, education and government. Away from the “Bible Belt” in Jerusalem, Daniel was in a situation where most people did not believe in God or accept the Scriptures. Daniel had to deal with culture shock and make the best of a bad situation.

The challenge was not just different surroundings. The Chaldeans set out to change Daniel from the inside out by training him in the language and literature of the Chaldeans (Dan. 1:4). They wanted to turn this bright young Hebrew into a useful Babylonian in the king’s service. The king even gave him a new name (Dan. 4:8; 5:12). His Hebrew name means “God is judge” or “God’s judge.” Nebuchadnezzar named him Belteshazzar which means “Bel’s prince.” His captors were out to erase his Jewish identity and replace it with a pagan worldview.

How did Daniel accept change without changing who he was? How did he comply with new laws and customs without surrendering his faith in God?

Daniel was young and that was an advantage because young people handle change better than older people do. As we enter into what seems like a Babylonian captivity of God’s people, adjustments will be harder for the older. Young people will not be as frustrated because they are less aware of how much things have changed. But all of us will have to learn new laws and new ways.

Daniel had a good attitude. Others may have hated the Chaldeans for destroying their homes and killing their countrymen. But Daniel did not let this injustice make him bitter. He was respectful to those in authority. When he disagreed he asked permission to state his case (Dan. 1:9; 2:16).Years later king Darius was impressed with the “excellent spirit” in Daniel (Dan. 6:3). If Daniel could have the right outlook in a pagan land, we can have a good spirit in an increasingly secular country.

One of the most impressive traits in Daniel was his courage. Though he was given meals literally fit for a king, Daniel refused to eat. The food violated Mosaic law and the wine was forbidden in the Scriptures (Deut. 14; Prov. 23:31). He “purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s delicacies, nor with the wine which he drank” (Dan. 1:8). Like Peter, he realized that there is a point where we must obey God rather than men (Acts 5:29). We need this courage today. We must not condone homosexuality or forsake the assembling of ourselves together, even if our resistance means a fine, arrest, jail, or death.

Daniel’s example gives hope. The Chaldeans tried to indoctrinate him but they could not change him. Daniel knew the law of God and stood firm. What he learned in youth he kept throughout his life. One of the greatest fears Christians have today is their children and grandchildren having to face a hostile unbelieving world in years to come. That is why they need to be taught the Bible now. Even as Satan attempts to brainwash them through education and the media, they can remain strong if they hold to the Word of God stored in their hearts.

If Daniel could face a den of lions rather than compromise the law of God, we can certainly stay the same in a changing world.

Kerry

West End Bulletin for November 22, 2020

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