Summary: This sermon instructs us how to remain faithful when our pleasant circumstances turn foreign to us.
Faithful in a Foreign Place
Daniel 1:1 – 7
By: JB Hall
Introduction: Sometimes you and I are thrust into a foreign place; without our consent and by circumstances beyond our control. This foreign place can be a foreign land, or it can be a set of circumstances that is foreign to our way of life.
How will we respond when we are called to serve in a foreign place?
Just such a thing happened to Daniel and 3 of his friends.
In Daniel 1:1 – 2 King Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians besieged Jerusalem, and God gave Jerusalem into their hands. Jerusalem was conquered, and some of the citizens deported to Babylon.
Among those deported were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. These were 4 young men whose lives were changed forever in a moment’s time. They were separated from their families, from their friends, from their culture, and from their surroundings.
They found themselves in a place that was foreign, surrounded by people who spoke a language that was foreign, and living in a culture that was foreign. In short, everything they had known and loved was gone, and they were surrounded by everything foreign to their former way of life.
How would they respond?
Well, because they were faithful God protected, promoted, and prospered them even in the foreign place they had been thrust into.
Let’s look at some things that helped them to remain faithful, and see if we can’t learn some things that will help us to remain faithful when we are thrust into a foreign place.
1. They understood that God rules in the affairs of men.
A. These young men understood that God was not confined to their culture or country.
B. They understood that God was not just the God of the Israelites; but that He is the God of the whole world.
C. They understood that just because a people do not acknowledge the one true God, does not mean that He is not in charge and active in the life of that people.
D. But they also knew that though they were in a foreign land, God was still present with them; and that He would still be active in their lives just as He was when they were in familiar territory.
E. This understanding, that God is universal in His presence and reign, gave them confidence to depend upon Him when they were in the greatest trials of their lives.
F. As they were confronted with extreme trials because of the culture they were in that so conflicted with their Godly way of life, they depended entirely upon the God they knew before they were thrust into this place.
G. Because they remained faithful to God, He was able to show Himself strong on behalf of, and in, these young men.
H. They understood that God rules in the affairs of men.
2. They remained committed to God even when that commitment placed them in personal jeopardy.
A. Example #1 – When the king placed these young men into training for palace duty, part of that training involved their diet.
B. Thinking his food was the very best that could be offered; the king commanded that these young men be fed with the diet he had designed for them.
C. When Daniel saw that the king’s diet did not correspond with the diet God had prescribed for His children, Daniel 1:8a states that “…Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat…”
D. This of course placed him in contradiction to the king’s orders; and could have placed him in jeopardy of his life.
E. But handling this conflict wisely and humbly, he depended upon the Lord to make his plan to not defile himself with an ungodly diet, work; and the Lord came through, honoring his faith by having him excused from this diet.
F. Example #2 – When commanded to fall down and worship a golden image in Chapter 3, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah (Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego), refused because of their faithfulness to God.
G. They did not make excuses because they were in a foreign land and in a situation that threatened their lives, thinking God would “understand” because of the unusual circumstances.
H. This refusal, of course, placed them on a collision course with the king who had commanded that they worship a false image.
I. Though thrown into a fiery furnace, expecting they might die this day, they were faithful until what would have been their end had God not decided to spare their lives.
J. Example #3 – In Chapter 6 the kingdom had been taken by the Medes and the Persians and Darius the Median was king.
K. Having been manipulated by wicked men whose wicked agenda was to destroy Daniel, the king made a decree that anyone asking a petition of any God or man besides the king for thirty days would be cast into a den of lions.