Summary: The World culture seeks to change who and what we are. Four Hebrew children demonstrate how to stand in the midst of an ungodly culture.
LIVING FOR GOD IN AN UNGODLY WORLD
INTRODUCTION: In 605 B.C., Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, conquered the Southern Kingdom, Judah and with the conquest took into captivity a group of bright young future leaders of Judah. Among these captives were four young men, Hananiah, Mishael, Azariah and Daniel. Nebuchadnezzar had great plans for these young men. His intent was to literally brainwash or reeducate these young men thereby transforming them into agents of the Babylonian Empire. He would then be able to send them back to their homeland of Judah to govern Judah as loyal subjects of Babylon. What Nebuchadnezzar sought to do is not unlike what is taking place by Satan through the secular humanists of our day. They seek to captivate the Christian community, especially our children and youth in order to brainwash and corrupt them in order to subjugate them to the prince of this world’s reign and power. In order to accomplish the brainwashing of the Hebrew youth, Nebuchadnezzar aimed at four areas of retraining. He sought to change their language, their literature, their lifestyle, and their loyalty.
I. He Sought to Change what they said - their Language - Daniel 1:4
A. In ancient Babylon, three languages were used. There was the Aramaic of ordinary business and diplomacy sometimes referred to "the Syrian language".
B. Then there was the Assyrian, a Shemitic tongue. This was the language of historic and legal documents. It was eminently a monumental language. Lastly, there was Accadian, the sacred tongue in which the bulk of the magical formulae and ritual directions of Babylon and Nineveh were written. It was most likely that this language that they were taught.
C. Nebuchadnezzar knew that long before he can make them to behave like Babylonians, he must make them think like Babylonians. The first step in making them think like Babylonians was to make them learn the Chaldean language, Chaldean customs, and Chaldean ways of thinking He had to change their heart language.
D. Today we see a shifting in language - a redefining of terms, a political correctness that indoctrinates the mind to the secular humanist’s way of thinking. i.e. -
? sodomy and homosexuality = alternative lifestyle (those opposing are called homophobes)
? abortion and infanticide = pro-choice
? drunkenness = chemical dependency, substance abuse
? The mention of "God" = removed from every reference in our education and political arenas.
? The terms used for God gender neutralized.
II. He sought to change what they read - their Literature - Daniel 1:4
A. Nebuchadnezzar sought to fill their minds with Babylonian philosophy, Babylonian science, Babylonian astrology, and Babylonian religion. He would seek to reeducate them and replace the things of Zion and God with the value system of Babylon.
B. In our society, we see the exact same reeducating taking place through situational ethics, values clarification, evolutionary hypotheses, and the rewriting of history textbooks.
C. Educator John Dunphy expressed this anti-God attitude when he wrote: "The Bible is not merely another book, an outmoded and archaic book.... It has been and remains an incredibly dangerous book."
D. Again we read of the viewpoint in the "Humanist Manifesto II" where we read, We affirm that moral values derive their source from human experience. Ethics is autonomous and situational needing no theological or ideological sanction. Ethics stems from human need and interest." One of the Scholastic books recommended to our children in school states that there is "no such thing as good or bad only that which works and that which doesn’t."
E. Our culture teaches "individuals should be permitted to express their sexual proclivities and pursue their life-styles as they desire."
F. "... we can discover no divine purpose or providence for the human species. While there is much that we do not know, humans are responsible for what we are or will become. No deity will save us; we must save ourselves." "Man is at last becoming aware that he alone is responsible for the realization of the world of his dreams, that he has within himself the power for its achievement."
G. Humanism teaches the universe as self-existing and not created, man is a part of nature and that he has emerged as a result of a continuous process. It asserts that the nature of the universe depicted by modern science makes unacceptable any supernatural or cosmic guarantees of human values.
H. A number of years ago, Gloria Steinem said, "By the year 2000 we will -- I hope -- raise our children to believe in human potential, not God."
III. He sought to change what they did - their Lifestyle - Daniel 1:5
A. Nebuchadnezzar appointed them to be given a portion of the royal delicacies of Babylon that he indulged in along with the wine, which he drank - wine that had been offered as an oblation to idols.