Summary: It seems we live in constant flux -- the world is changing and usually away from God. This lesson takes a look at how Daniel and his friends dealt with their world as it changed from Israel to Babylon.
1. War of the Worlds was written by HG Wells in 1897. It is one of the earliest stories of conflict between mankind and an extraterrestrial race. It was performed as a Halloween episode on radio by Orson Welles on OCT 30, 1938. It allegedly caused mass panic. It was presented as a series of News Bulletins suggesting that an actual alien invasion had occurred.
a. There has been an alien invasion in our world – the Great Adversary of God and Man has invaded the territory God gave to us.
b. Since Eden we have been dealing with the disruption of the authority of God.
2. Israel went through cycles of faithfulness and unfaithfulness. Eventually these cycles included the invasion of aliens/outsiders (Assyria and Babylon). Daniel 1.1-14
a. The Hebrew people had been chosen for a great responsibility
b. They went their own way in spite of prophetic warnings
c. God disciplines his people through invasion and captivity
3. The Question for Daniel and Friends – “As the world turns, how do we live a godly life in an ungodly culture?”
4. Our world seems to be going its own way. How do we respond?
a. The world may change but God does not
b. So, do we ask God to change to fit us or do we change to fit him?
I. When the World Turns It Will Try to Shame You (Daniel 1.1-5)
A. We are Aware of Humiliation Through Bullying and Cyberbullying Today
• In his book Fuzzy Memories, Jack Handey writes:
There used to be this bully who would demand my lunch money every day. Since I was smaller, I would give it to him. Then I decided to fight back. I started taking karate lessons. But then the karate lesson guy said I had to start paying him five dollars a lesson. So I just went back to paying the bully. Too many people feel it is easier just to pay the bully than it is to learn how to defeat him.
• Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time. Bullying includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose.
• Children who are bullied feel they are: Different; Powerless; Unpopular; Alone
B. Babylonian Captivity was Humiliation for the Jewish People
1. Personal Humiliation – being made eunuchs
2. Spiritual Humiliation – “Where is your God?”
Hezekiah and Assyria – 2 Kings 19.10-12 (NLT)
10 “This message is for King Hezekiah of Judah. Don’t let your God, in whom you trust, deceive you with promises that Jerusalem will not be captured by the king of Assyria. 11 You know perfectly well what the kings of Assyria have done wherever they have gone. They have completely destroyed everyone who stood in their way! Why should you be any different? 12 Have the gods of other nations rescued them—such nations as Gozan, Haran, Rezeph, and the people of Eden who were in Tel-assar? My predecessors destroyed them all!
3. Jesus – Roman soldiers mocked him as did Jewish leaders (Matthew 27)
4. Us? Matthew 5.11-12 (NLT)
“God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers. 12 Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way.//2 Timothy 3.12 Yes, and everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.
II. When the World Turns It Will Try to Rename You (1.6-7)
A. The 4 Hebrew Boys’ Names Focused on God
• Daniel – God is My Judge
• Hananiah – The LORD has been Gracious
• Mishael – Who is Like God
• Azariah – The LORD has Helped
1. The Babylonian Names focused on the Babylonian gods
2. Today, people who hold traditional values are referred to by such things as: Homophobic; Bigoted; Xenophobic; Sexist; Nazi; “Christians cling to Bibles and guns”
3. Change Identity Changes Destiny – too many times we silence our message because we don’t want to be Politically Incorrect
B. The Adversary Wants to Keep Our Focus Away from God
[At the Hacienda of Hope in Ecuador the workers found a young son of a prostitute that they wanted to bring to the Home. The mother gave her permission. They asked his name – he had none because she had had so many illegitimate children she didn’t care to name him. They let him name himself and he chose “George,” “Jorge” in Spanish.
There is a song: “I will Change Your Name.”