Daniel: Life in Babylon, Part 5

Hey Christians! Does living in Babylon divide us or unify us?  

Life in Babylon, where sin flourishes and God is not honored, is a difficult place to live for us who trust Christ as our Lord and Savior. It was lonely and trying for Daniel as well. He was kidnapped as a teenager from the security of his noble family in Judah and transported to a foreign land. God placed him in Babylon where the God of Israel was not honored or acknowledged.  

It’s 2020 and God has placed us in a kind of Babylon as well; we live in a foreign land that is not our home. We are ambassadors representing God where He is not honored and where sin flourishes. Life in Babylon brings daily challenges to our lives and often brings divisions. Sometimes, we simply need some help to know what to do, how to treat people, and how to make difficult decisions.  

Life in Babylon often divides us Christians. This pandemic as well as racial tensions and the presidential election has divided Christians. Wow! This is unprecedented in my lifetime.  I need some help to know how to think, how to live, and how to make godly decisions.  


Let’s learn from Daniel. 

Daniel was separated from his homeland, his parents, and his siblings. This must have been emotionally excruciating. He’s an exile in a foreign land, but fortunately, he wasn’t completely alone. In Babylon, he was segregated from the masses of Jewish exiles and instead was placed in the king’s palace with other ‘choice’ Judean youth of nobility and education.  His life was turned upside down … but at least he had his friends with him. But it wouldn’t take long for the pressures of Babylon to drive the boys to make decisions that would divide them. 

The king appointed for them a daily ration from the king’s choice food and from the wine which he drank … 1:5 

The first decision these young people had to make was whether they would eat of the King’s food and wine. Can you imagine the conversations among the Judean youth? All of them knew it violated their dietary laws, but under the circumstances, some felt they must obey their new king. After all, they are no longer in the comfort of their homes living among like-minded, God-fearing Israelites. They must adjust and adapt to their situation. Not to mention, the king might kill them if they refuse. The fear of losing one’s head can indeed be a motivator, wouldn’t you say? 

On the other hand, Daniel and his three friends felt otherwise. But Daniel made up his mind that he would not defile himself with the king’s choice food or with the wine which he drank, 1:8. They would refuse to eat and drink.  

There was perhaps a third group who was torn and didn’t know what to do. But their indecision was actually their decision. Their indecision would not withstand the pressure. When the food was put in front of them, their moral absolutes wouldn’t withstand the pressure, and their biblical values would become relative. Moral relativity is the fog that blinds one’s north star.  


Question: Does living in Babylon divide us or unify us? 

The Covid-19 pandemic has brought average citizens more political and authoritative mandates than our citizens have ever faced before? Those who rebel against these mandates are accused of being reckless and selfish. Those who fall in-line and obey the mandates are accused of being mindless sheep. What is the right thing to do? Some say we must worship together, in person without restraints. Others say we must patiently observe and obey the government in the matter of public worship.  


While living in Babylon, Christians will experience pressure that often divides us. 

Last time, we discussed three guiding principles for decision-making that we have observed in the life of Daniel. This time I want to add two more from the pattern of Daniel’s life. First, a quick review of the three principles from last time … 


1. Write down your biblical values from God’s Word. Review your moral absolutes regularly and add to them as you discover more principles from God’s Word. 

2. Then Daniel replied with discretion and discernment … 2:14. The apostle Paul in I Thessalonians 4:11 says it this way; make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business … so that you will behave properly toward outsiders and not be in any need.  

3. Rather than using ‘force’ and rebellion as your primary mode of initiating change and standing up for your biblical values, use moral persuasion and influence. 1:8 says, so he (Daniel) sought permission from the commander of the officials that he might not defile himself. 


With these three guiding principles set before us from the example of Daniel, consider two other key insights we can learn from the decision-making pattern of Daniel’s life: 


4. Preparedness: Simply stated, take in God’s Word every day! Living Scripture Daily requires a daily intake of Scripture. Oh, that my ways may be established to keep Your statutes; Your testimonies also are my delight; they are my counselors; I shall run the way of Your commandments; Make me walk in the path of Your commandments, for I delight in it; And I will walk at liberty, for I seek Your precepts; the wicked wait for me to destroy me, I shall diligently consider Your testimonies; from your precepts I get understanding; there I hate every false way, Psalms 119:5,24,32,35,45,95,104.  

5. Stop, drop and roll (ok, maybe it should be stop, drop and kneel): When faced with a decision, a crisis, a moral dilemma, turn your face to God, seek His wisdom, and ask for His direct intervention and guidance. Why do we often ponder, fret and worry before we have prayed? Stop, drop, and kneel! Daniel 2:18; 6:10, 9:3,15-19; Proverbs 3:5,6. 


When living in Babylon, where our God is not honored and sin flourishes, we often need to pray as Daniel with fervent passion, for ourselves, for our loved ones, for the church, and for our nation. Daniel’s prayer below is one that you should consider praying today in our current state in the year of 2020! 


Oh Lord, hear! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, listen and take action! For Your own sake, O my God, do not delay, because Your city and Your people are called by Your name. 9:19 


God gives wisdom to those who ask for it and seek it. It’s not random. Ask of God and He will give it. It worked for Daniel and it will work for you! Daniel worship and prayed to God saying;  


For you have given me wisdom and power; even now you have made known to me what we requested of you, for you have made known to us the king’s matter. 2:21-23 


Lord, as Daniel prayed, I pray also on behalf of all my listeners; hear us, Lord, forgive us Lord, listen and take action for Your own sake and Your own glory! Amen!