Friday, December 10, 2010

the world is not enough

The Word for today: Daniel 5
Mark this: 5:17

The book of Daniel is a blue print.
It is a blue print of world history (much of which has already occurred- e.g. Babylon, Persia, Greece, Rome)
It is a blue print of eschatology (end times).
And for those reasons it is certainly worth a deep and careful study.

But on a much simpler, and often overlooked level, Daniel is perhaps the best example of how a child of God should live in a fallen world. Consider the following:
- At a young age (likely around 10 or 12) Daniel's world was turned upside down.
- Daniel was ripped from his family, his home, his country and all that he knew.
- Daniel became a captive not only to an entirely different people, but to the very nation that destroyed his own people and the very Temple of God.
- Daniel was repeatedly indoctrinated into Babylonian religion and culture.
- For over six decades, he lived as a ethnic minority in a cruel empire. (1)
From almost any perspective, there was no hope for this young man- another "statistic", ruined by his "disadvantaged" environment. And yet in spite of all Babylon's best attempts to corrupt Daniel, Daniel couldn't be corrupted. He was an assimilation nightmare! Whether by comfort or education, whether by riches or status, or even by physical threats and punishments, nothing could sway this servant of God.

The world was not enough for him. Why not?
In a world where everyone supposedly has their price, how did he not once sell out?
What gives?

To start, he had the proper perspective on what really mattered, and he had already settled the question of compromise. Most Americans are raised to be shaky at best in these categories. We try to "use" God as a means to our own selfish ends. We try to see just how much we can play with the fire of sin and not be scorched. But Daniel was the exact opposite.

From day one, he refrained from all the enticements that were available, whether big or small. Daniel understood that in God’s kingdom, the robe & chain offered were the equivalent of rags and plastic. He had already resisted when he was much younger under a heavyweight like Nebuchadnezzar, so the promises of a featherweight like Belshazzar were less than dust to him. Daniel learned to use the word “NO,” an absolute essential for anyone who wants to follow Christ.
Dan is really the man! He ought to be the model for every believer as we attempt to live in modern day Babylon. We too need to learn to say no to all the junk the that ruins us. We too need to understand that Babylon is not, and will never be, our true home. Easier said than done.

And so Daniel points us to the real OVERCOMER--Jesus Christ:
He too was tempted by the Devil to sell out.
He was promised “all the splendor of all the kingdoms of the world”
He said NO!
Instead, He was faced with something much more daunting than any of us could even imagine: The Cross.

He refused the ways and rewards of this world--and we hung Him on a cross for it.
But remember the end of the story- He rose from the dead.

Remember his words to all of us:
“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." (2)

(1) See Daniel 1
(2) John 16:33

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