Summary: Daniel is our example of how to live as exiles in the marketplace.
Singing the Songs of the Lord in a Strange Land November 14, 2004
Exiles in the Corporate World
Read the Story
What the story teaches us, from Nebuchadnezzar’s point of view is pretty simple – Pride comes before a fall. Nebuchadnezzar fails to recognize that he has been placed where he is by God. He failed to recognize the hand of God in his success and took all the credit himself. So, just as you mother used to say “I brought you into this world, and I can taske you out of it, God takes Nebuchadnezzer out of his position of extreme power very quickly.
It is an important lesson to learn – Pride comes before a fall – Proverbs 16:18. In every success that we might have, we must recognize the grace of God, and stay humble.
But, As we’ve been reading Daniel to discover how we are to live as Christians in the world, I want to look at Daniel’s role in the story as a model of how we behave in the workplace or other sphere of creation that we walk in.
Living as exiles the Daniel way – Daniel as a good model.
1 Peter 2:11Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. 12Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.
We are called as Christians to be in the world but not of it. Last week I mentioned that most often, Christians separate themselves from the world so that they are not in it but are completely of it. We take ourselves out of uncomfortable situations because, we reason, we do not belong there. But we take all the values of the world with us. This picture of Daniel as a model does not allow us to do that.
Speaking the truth
When the king goes to his astrologers and magicians to have his dream interpreted, they can’t do it – you have to wonder if they couldn’t, or if they wouldn’t. The dream is a bit of a no-brainer in terms of interpretation – the details might not be easy, but the fact that it is bad news for the king is not hard to understand. It may be that they just do not want to be the bearer of bad news in a time and place that wasn’t averse to shooting the messenger of bad news.
Daniel, on the other hand tells the interpretation of the dream – it doesn’t put the king in a good light – he is great and mighty, reigning over one of the largest empire to date… but he is arrogant (surprise, surprise) and because of his arrogance, he will fall.
"God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble."
We need to be known as people of the truth – even if the truth is not to palatable.
There may be times at work, or in the family, here in the church, when there is something that is not right. It may be like the rhinoceros in the middle of the room – everyone sees it, but no one talks about it because they do not want to be the messenger of bad news.
We are good a speaking the truth after the fact – once the mighty have fallen, society is quick to kick him while he is down. You can imagine how the Magicians were going on about the king’s arrogance when he was out in the field eating grass. But they would not say it to his face. Everyone knew Conrad Black was insanely arrogant and most likely dirty, but you didn’t see a statement about it even in the papers he didn’t own until his world came crashing down.
As people of God we must be the speakers of truth in Good times and bad.
1 The word of the LORD came to me: 2 "Son of man, speak to your countrymen and say to them: ’When I bring the sword against a land, and the people of the land choose one of their men and make him their watchman, 3 and he sees the sword coming against the land and blows the trumpet to warn the people, 4 then if anyone hears the trumpet but does not take warning and the sword comes and takes his life, his blood will be on his own head. 5 Since he heard the sound of the trumpet but did not take warning, his blood will be on his own head. If he had taken warning, he would have saved himself. 6 But if the watchman sees the sword coming and does not blow the trumpet to warn the people and the sword comes and takes the life of one of them, that man will be taken away because of his sin, but I will hold the watchman accountable for his blood.’