Summary: Exposition of Daniel 1:3-7 about the attempts of Nebuchadnezzar to brainwashing the Hebrew youths in their training period and how it parallels satanic strategy in our world
Text: Daniel 1:3-8, Title: Brainwashing Believers, Date/Place: NRBC, 3/1/09, PM
A. Opening illustration: 8 Simple Rules to Date my Daughter
B. Background to passage: When God sovereignly gave Jehoiakim to Nebuchadnezzar, we must remember that it wasn’t the 586 complete obliteration of the city. And Nebuchadnezzar was determined to maintain his rule over Jerusalem through many ways, with complete military action kinda being a last resort. So one of his methods was to be that he would take the best and the brightest from the conquered people, retrain their minds, get them to think like a Babylonian, then use them to help control their own people. And so we begin the book of Daniel with this account. Satan is not always blasting trumpets to rally the troops for a frontal assault. More often he is subtle in his approach slowly leading astray with small compromises. Our culture today is driven by him to do exactly what Nebuchadnezzar did 2500 years ago.
C. Main thought: We will see the brainwashing techniques used on Daniel and us to thwart kingdom work.
A. Isolation (v. 3-4)
1. The fist step in N’s plan to brainwash the young people of Judah was to isolate them from the rest of the captive peoples. By all accounts these young men were probably about 14 years old. That’s when the Persians and Babylonians began their education/training programs for palace aids. N knew that if he could remove them from as many of the Judean influences as possible his plan would work better. Remove them from their families; remove them from regular worship with God’s people; remove them from people who lived out biblical commitments; remove them from daily religious education.
2. Heb 10:24-25,
3. Illustration: in the book Shepherding a Child’s Heart, Ted Tripp speaks to how spanking is biblical, but dealt with the qualifications of that thought, one of which was that it was carried out within a family relationship, then he spoke of corporal punishment in schools adding confusion, “In evangelical individualism people think of their personal relationship with God in isolation (“Just me and Jesus”) and forge their destiny apart from any church authority. While holding relatively low opinions of history, traditions, and the church, they turn to the experiences of self and isolate themselves from their brothers and sisters in the faith. True spirituality is perverted as it becomes a quest for inner stimulation rather than growth in biblical knowledge and the application of truth in community. Healthy Christians do not live in isolation.” –Michael Moriarty, “Sin demands to have a man by himself. It withdraws him from the community. The more isolated a person is, the more destructive will be the power of sin over him, and the more deeply he becomes involved in it, the more disastrous is his isolation.” -Bonhoffer
4. Satan most easily preys on those among us that are young chronologically, or young spiritually. Maturity brings forth discernment, and so those that are without it are easier targets. Isn’t it interesting that when liberals desire to change the culture of a nation or people, they always speak of education, and consistently lower the ages upon which they want to begin it. Isn’t it sad that we do the same thing in the church? We take all the young people and put them in youth classes, youth rallies, youth camps, youth worship services, youth groups, and expect them to pool their ignorance and learn to be mature in isolation from every influence that would be helpful to that goal. Isn’t it seemingly the exact practice of our world? Remove children from their parents influence and care for 8 of their 12 waking hours as soon as they turn 5 years old? Even if we put the application to young believers, we usually isolate them to classes that deal with basics, or we give them no help at all, and they are isolated which our own congregations. We need the body of Christ for stimulating growth. We need older believer as examples and reservoirs of wisdom and counsel. We need strong family units that will pass on the faith to the next generation. A major element of God’s plan to pass on the faith to subsequent generations is the family. Speak about how in a few weeks we are going to come and listen to the prophet Josh McDowell. Truth is passed on through relationships, not in isolation from them.
B. Indoctrination (v. 4)
1. Clearly N wanted them to think like Babylonians. He specifically instructed his men to find these youths with top qualities so that they could learn the language and literature of the Chaldeans. Now, most of the time this word is used synonymously with Babylonians, but here it means Chaldeans. They were the priestly magic artists that counseled through divination and wisdom. This education was about far more than just being able to read and write cuneiform Akkadian. It was about getting them to think like Chaldeans, rather than like Israelites.