Summary: Daniel was a young man who lived out his convictions in the midst of great challenges. He is a perfect example how today’s Christians should remain true to the Lord in these days that are very similar to Daniel’s.
TEXT: DANIEL 1:1-20
TITLE: DANIEL: A CAPTIVE WITH CONVICTIONS
AUTHOR: JACK WOODARD
Daniel, like many of the young people in America today, was born in a time when his nation had turned its back on the Lord and were serving false gods and living godless lives. The Prophet Jeremiah was called by the Lord to warn the nation to repent and return to the Lord or face severe judgment at the hands of the Babylonian Armies and for 40 years he was faithful to his heavenly calling.
His repeated warnings to his nation fell on deaf ears and hard hearts, but in the midst of this Apostasy the Scriptures tell us of at least 6 different people who Jeremiah must have influenced, (Baruch, Jeremiah’s personal secretary, the Prophet Habakkuk; Daniel and his 3 Hebrew fellow captives) which kept the torch of Faith lit for the coming generations. It is more than likely that Jeremiah may not have even realized that his ministry had influenced this hand full of people, four of which were just teenagers, who would rise to become great heroes of the Faith
One of these 6 was the Prophet Habakkuk, who was called by the Lord to publish a written warning to the nation about 20 years after Jeremiah began his preaching ministry. [Habakkuk 2:2, 3] About two years later and approximately 22 years into Jeremiah’s ministry, King Nebuchadnezzar and his Babylonian Army made their first of three raids on the Nation of Judah. During this first raid Nebuchadnezzar captured several of the choice people and youth of the nation and took them as captives back to Babylon. Many of these would become menial slaves in the kingdom, but some of the choicest of the young men were chosen to be put through 3 years of higher Babylonian Education in which the students would have any and all of their past religious faith and loyalties erased from their hearts and minds and replaced with the faith of the false gods of the land. With this new faith also came the demand for a new and complete loyalty to the King and His Government as supreme. Once this was accomplished they would then be ready to take their place as equipped and trusted servants in Nebuchadnezzar’s Kingdom.
Four of these youths were Daniel and the famous three Hebrew children. Daniel and his companions were probably around the age of 15 or 16 years old when taken captive, making them born about 6 or 7 years after Jeremiah began his ministry to Judah. Of these four, Daniel becomes the most prominent, [Daniel 6:2, 3] and the greatest example of how we as Christians are to live for Jesus as Strangers in a Foreign Land.
America today, like Judah of Daniel’s day, has forsaken the Lord and is now facing the similar fate as did Judah. Like Daniel, our young people are faced with a different America than their parents grew up in.
America today is Babylon to our young people. The powers that be are trying to cleanse the Lord from the minds and hearts of a generation and bring them into servitude to Satan and his kingdom.
Maybe no greater model exists today for our young people who seek to be true to Jesus in a godless world, than Daniel. Let’s look at Daniel’s life and encourage our youth today to emulate his example.
1. DANIEL’S CHALLENGES [Daniel 1:1-8]
The very first thing we see as we look at the life of Daniel is the challenges that he faced as a youth, a youth that was a believer desiring to live for the Lord. Every youth faces many challenges, but none as much as those youth, who like Daniel, desire to be loyal to their Lord in the midst of a godless generation. Daniel faced four particular challenges in his day.
A. The Challenge of a Secular Education [Daniel 1:3, 4]
Nebuchadnezzar knew that the first thing that had to be done was to win the minds of the young people, and to do that they would be placed in a Secular Education system in which their God, the True and Living God was eliminated and humanism and secularism would be drummed into their minds until they had been transformed from a Christian World View to a Secular View. That is exactly what are children have faced since the 60’s, when the Bible and Prayer were eliminated from our educational system, and replaced with the doctrines humanism and secularism.
Abraham Lincoln said that the philosophy of the generation in our schools today will be the philosophy of the generation that is running our government tomorrow, and that is where we are at today in America. The generations that have been raised in our schools which had the Bible and Prayer removed are now the very people that are removing it from the rest of our society.