Summary: Standing rightside up in an upside down world!
CALL TO COURAGE – Dr. Adlai Naidoo
There was another graduation some years ago. A young man graduated from a private school.
v His teachers were all of the same religion that he was
v His classmates were all of the same faith as he was
v We would say that he lived in a cultural, religious and national ghetto
Life is so much simpler when the outside world :
v Dress like how you dress
v Speak like how you speak
v Behave like how you behave
v Believe what you believe
v When your belief is their belief
v Your God their God
Life is easy when all are strained through the same sieve homogenized to :
v Do the same things
v Believe the same things
v Think more or less the same things
Daniel grew up in a protected environment. He lived in a religious cultural cocoon. But then , “ In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim, King of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar King of Babylon, came to Jerusalem and besieged it” ( Daniel 1:1 )
Daniel and his friends graduated all right , but they marched :
v With leg chains instead of cap and gown
v On a dusty road to captivity instead of on a wooden floor to graduation
v To receive imprisonment rather than a diploma
What had been a cosy cocoon in a homogenous environment became for Daniel and his friends a pluralistic world where even their names were changed to identify them with heathen gods.
Their protected environment of restricted religious choices became a religiously pluralistic world that offered them a potluck of choices. Their religious school was exchanged for the world!
HOW were these young Hebrew men to handle being broken out of their cocoon of cultural comfort into the Babylonian world ? You see , the equivalent of Nebuchadnezzar’s invasion has taken place. Our rich Christian heritage is being aggressively invaded by a Babylonian mix of Moslem, Buddhist, New Age and a secularism that has little time for traditional values and ethics.
We live in a heathen world. A diabolically engineered society that is :
v Philosophically opposed to our standards of morality
v Theologically opposed to our understanding of God
v Sociologically opposed to the lifestyle choices that we have made
v Spiritually opposed to our Godly convictions.
The Christian church holds no monopoly in the world anymore. Churches and leaders that were once labeled as PROPHETIC are now PATHETIC.
Chuck Swindoll in “ Growing Deep in the Christian life” , writes about a man who bought fried chicken dinners for himself and his date late on afternoon. The manager at the fast-food outlet, however, inadvertently gave him the proceeds from the days business – a bag of money, instead of fried chicken. After driving to their picnic site the two of them sat down to enjoy some chicken. They discovered a whole lot more than chicken – almost 800 dollars! But he was unusual! He quickly put the money back into the bag, got back into the car and drove all the way back. Mr. Clean got out , walked into the food store and became an instant hero! By then the manager was frantic. The guy with all the money walked in, looked the manager in the eye, and said “ I want you to know that I came in here to buy some chicken, but ended up with all this money”. Well, the manager was thrilled to death. He said : “let me call the newspapers. I’m gonna have your picture put in the newspapers. You’re one of the most honest men I know. To which the man quickly responded : Oh no, no, don’t do that. And then he leaned over closer and whispered : “ You see, the women I’m with is not my wife. She’s uh, somebody else’s wife!
Such compartmentalized ethics are not unknown to our Church. There are some who will :
v Preach about tithes and offerings - and cheat on their taxes.
v Debate and speak about the necessity of head-covering – but allow their daughters to adorn mini-skirts
The Babylonian invasion of pluralism has produced schizophrenic spirituality. People want to sit at the table of religion and at the same time eat from the world!
Daniel could have mixed in with these heathenistic practices. BUT HE STOOD FOR MORALITY AND HE STOOD FOR GOD! HE WAS NOT PERSUADED BY WHAT BABYLON HAD TO OFFER
At the time of Jesus :
v It was not the lawyers who lived morally courageous lives – it was the good Samaritan
v It was not the Priests who were generous with the poor – but Mary the Prostitute who gave her all as a gift to Jesus
v It was not the religiously righteous who did the evangelism – it was the six-husbanded Samaritan women who told her city about Jesus