Text: Daniel 1 (New living Translation)
Subject: Being a Witness in Babylon
God allows the Babylonian Nation take the Kingdom of God captive.
Daniel and three friends (teenagers) are taken to Babylon. They have witnessed slayings and many destructive things.
They are in exile, separated from love ones. Their situation could be compared to what the U.S. experienced in “9-11.” It could also be compared to the idea of being taken captive by another country.
Daniela and his friends were given orders and rules by the king to erase their old way of living and thinking (erase attachment to their nation and religion/God).
But God had a different plan for them…He wanted them to be witnesses.
The first thing that was done to Daniel and his friends was to strip them of their identities. The king demanded that their names be changed. Below are the meanings of their current names and the changes.
The name Daniel means God is my judge.
It was changed to Belteshazzar, where “Bel” means protect the King.
One friends name was Mishel which means who is like God.
It was changed to Meshach which is related to Babylonian god of the moon.
Next, there was Hananiah which means Jehovah is gracious.
His name was changed to Shadrach which is a decree of the moon God.
Finally, Azariah which means Jehovah is strong.
His name was changed to Abednego which means the servant of the Nebo (Babylonian God of wisdom).
Neither Daniel nor his friends protested the name change. They understood where they came from and understood the importance of their beliefs.
Although Daniel and his friends did not protest the name change as it did not change how they viewed their identity, they did take a stand when they were required to eat differently. However, they did not become aggressive, rude or disrespectful towards the Babylonians. Instead, they operated in wisdom. They offered their own suggestions.
This is what they requested: For 10 days they wanted to eat according to their beliefs. If they were as healthy as other Babylonians, they wanted permission to continue to eat their eating regimen. After 10 days, they were stronger and healthier than others and were allowed to continue to eat according to their culture/beliefs.
This situation could have been a major setback for Daniel and his friends. It was definitely an obstacle. However, Daniel did not allow this obstacle to become a major downfall.
This situation is an example for us today. The enemy will try to put obstacles and challenges in our way in hopes that we will “lose our cool.” We must operate in wisdom and understand how to navigate through those tough situations.
Daniel new that eating the way the Babylonians ate would impact and jeopardize his worship with God. He found a way to remain connected to his way of life (God’s way for him). God delivered Daniel and his friends and showed favor towards them. God received the victory, as they decided to make a stand.
Daniel and his friends served the king even though the King wanted to erase their past. They didn’t show animosity, but instead they sought out the peace of Babylon. God then stepped in.
This is relatable for us today. For example, many of us may not always enjoy or jobs or feel appreciated in the job. We may even feel like we can’t be ourselves on the job. But it is our responsibility to continue to be dependable on the job, do a good job, and work hard as it brings glory to God. We should be good examples. We need to be witnesses.
However, we are not expected to walk with God alone. He is here for us and will show us the way to go. In addition, he wants us to develop an inner circle that will be supportive. We need the community. As with Daniel and his friends, they supported, prayed, and comforted each other. God will provide favor and reward those who are obedient.