Summary: Daniel lives counter to culture and openly serves the God of Israel instead of the Gods of Babylon. In doing so Daniel shows us how we can live counter to culture and openly follow Jesus on our journey from earth to glory.
Living Counter to Culture
Daniel Speaks to Us Today Series
By Greg Johnson
The book of Daniel is very relevant to us in our day. Daniel is probably in his late teens or early twenties when he is taken from Jerusalem to Babylon. In the first six chapters, Daniel interprets the dreams of others. In the last six chapters, when Daniel is probably in his eighties, God gives him dreams of the future. We are going to go through the book of Daniel and let it speak to us today. It is very relevant to us in our day and we need to have a keen understanding of it and what God is saying to us in our day.
Daniel chapter one gives us a vivid picture of living in the world but being set apart for God’s use. Daniel lived counter to culture and was blessed. In modern theological terminology, we call this living counter to culture sanctification. Sanctification is a work of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit circumcises our hearts (Romans 2:29). Sanctification begins at new birth (John 3) and progresses throughout our lives. Sanctification is the road to progressive holiness.
In Daniel chapter one, Babylon represents the world. Daniel and his three Hebrew friends are taken from Jerusalem to Babylon for training and for King Nebuchadnezzar’s service. Modern day Babylon is located in Iraq.
King Nebuchadnezzar desired to make these four Hebrew children into citizens of Babylon. He begins by changing their names and sending them through a three year training course.
In the midst of it all, Daniel lives counter to culture and openly serves the God of Israel instead of the Gods of Babylon. In doing so Daniel shows us how we can live counter to culture and openly follow Jesus on our journey from earth to glory.
RESOLVE NOT TO DEFILE YOURSELF.
God’s Word says (Daniel 1:8 NIV) "But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way."
Daniel new that a portion of all foods was offered to the Babylon Gods and a portion of all wine was poured out on the altars of the Babylon Gods. He also knew that eating the meat from the King’s table would be against the Law of Moses. He resolved not to defile himself.
Daniel made a decision not to allow the culture of Babylon to diminish his relationship with God. He decided to live to please God and not the culture that surrounded him. He decided to live counter to culture.
Beloved, living counter to culture begins by making a choice to not let the world influence your walk with Jesus. It is choosing to make God’s Word your authoritative guide for all of your beliefs and actions. God’s Word is your instruction guide and the Holy Spirit is your partner. The Word and the Spirit will come together in your life to enable you to live counter to culture as you resolve not to defile yourself.
DO NOT CONDEMN OTHERS FOR THEIR LIFESTYLE AND BELIEFS.
Again, God’s Word says (Daniel 1:8 NIV) "But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way."
Notice what Daniel does not do. He does not condemn this government official because his lifestyle is different or because his beliefs are different. Daniel politely asks permission to not participate.
We live in a world where we have religionist and even whole churches bashing gays, condemning pro choice people, promoting one political party over another and claiming it to be “God’s party”. They look down on those in poverty and proclaim to them that if they would just live right, God would prosper them. They snub their nose to those that are homeless and those that are battling addictions to drugs, alcohol, gambling and sex. To be accepted by these religionists and their churches, you have to believe like them, look like them and act like them. God help us! Daniel was not like that.
Jesus was not like that either. The religionist of Jesus’ day brought a lady to Him that was caught in adultery. They were ready to stone her to death because of what she did. Jesus knelt down and wrote something in the sand and said that those without any sin should cast the first stone at this lady. One by one, the religionist left. When Jesus looked up, He only saw the lady standing there. Jesus did not condemn this lady.
Beloved, there are a lot of religionists in our day that talk a big game and they are quick to point out the sins of others and condemn them. That is not why we are left in the world. We are left in the world to be living testimonies of the power of God. You see, the most powerful testimony is the one lived, not the one spoken. The moment you made Jesus your Lord and Savior and you took up your cross to follow Him, you became a powerful testimony. You are not to condemn others for their lifestyle and beliefs. Just live your life for Jesus and allow God’s Word and the Holy Spirit to do a powerful work in you. Don’t condemn others. Don’t pick splinters out of another’s eye. Just concentrate on getting every obstacle out of your eye so that you can keep your eyes fixed on Jesus. The life you live will speak for itself as you follow Jesus.