Gatherings Sunday 10am & 5:30pm at 950 Victoria St, Hamilton

TAGS

Daniel Blog #3


Daniel and his friends had been deported to Babylon.

In ancient times, when an area had been conquered by a foreign force, there were a number of ways of dealing with the subjugated population:

#1. EXPEL THEM.

They were simply driven out , going wherever they could to find safety and refuge.

The problem with this strategy was that as soon as the conquering force departed they would return and resume normal life.

#2 ENSLAVE THEM.

This would require a garrison of soldiers from the conquering force to remain in the territory to control them. Such a garrison faced the constant threat of insurrection and it tied up soldiers who could be used elsewhere.

#3. ASSIMILATE THEM.

This was usually achieved by deporting the population to another geographical area where they would be in the minority and could be pressured to become like their captors.

Daniel and his friends were victims of strategy number three.

How could people living in exile respond?

How can you live by faith in a setting that is either indifferent towards you or is actively hostile towards your beliefs?

 Responses tended to fall into two categories:

#1 TRIBALISM.

The captives created an ethnic enclave and interacted with their captors only as compelled to do so.

It amounted to an, “Them against the city,” stance.

#2. ASSIMILATION.

“If you can’t beat them, join them.”

Become Babylonians.

Jeremiah wrote to the captives in Babylon and suggested a third, radical alternative.

Jeremiah 29:4-7

“The Lord All-Powerful, the God of Israel, had said:

I had you taken from Jerusalem to Babylonia. Now I tell you to settle there and build houses. Plant gardens and eat what you grow in them. Get married and have children, then help your sons find wives and help your daughters find husbands, so they can have children as well. I want your numbers to grow, not to get smaller.

Pray for peace in Babylonia and work hard to make it prosperous. The more successful that nation is, the better off you will be.”

The instructions were,

“Don’t be tribal – Love God but hate the city.

“Don’t be Babylonian,” – Love the city and forget God.

Love both.

Daniel lived in a ‘bicultural manner.’

He had two names – a Hebrew one and a Babylonian one.

He didn’t give up his Hebrew one and he didn’t reject and refuse to answer to his Babylonian one.

He did refuse to eat from the King’s table {1:8} but he didn’t say ‘No,’ to everything Babylonian.

He was educated in the Babylonian system.

Learning what to say ‘no,’ to and what to say ‘Yes,’ to requires wisdom and discernment.

Like Daniel, we are called to be ‘Salt and Light’ in our ‘Babylonian culture.

Salt and Light require two things to be effective:

#1 Purity.

#2. Proximity.

If we lose either we become ineffective.

If you follow Jesus in this manner it will be highly likely that you will be too pagan for your religious friends and too Christian for your pagan friends.

- Don