Summary: A quick look at Daniel’s life, and using him as an example for living in today’ society.
Staying True to God
Mark Hatfield tells of touring Calcutta with Mother Teresa and visiting the so-called "House of Dying," where sick children are cared for in their last days, and the dispensary, where the poor line up by the hundreds to receive medical attention. Watching Mother Teresa minister to these people, feeding and nursing those left by others to die, Hatfield was overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of the suffering she and her co-workers face daily. "How can you bear the load without being crushed by it?" he asked. Mother Teresa replied, "My dear Senator, I am not called to be successful, I am called to be faithful."
Living a holy life in an unholy world isn’t easy. There is so much in the world to tempt us to indulge in ungodly pursuits, but we can face and overcome every temptation if we will just hold on to the kingdom to which Jesus gave us the keys. How do we hold on?
"Holiness does not consist in mystic speculations, enthusiastic fervours, or uncommanded austerities; it consists in thinking as God thinks, and willing as God wills."
John Brown, Nineteenth-century Scottish theologian
Daniel and three others were torn away from their friends and family back in Jerusalem. The Temple of the Lord was destroyed by the hordes that King Nebuchadnezzar sent in to pillage the temple and surrounding countryside.
Upon their captures, Daniel and his comrades were brought into the king’s presence. They had three years to learn the language and the customs of the Chaldeans. In the midst of their new and hostile environment, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, Azariah had to chose between their new customs and the ways of God.
The story is not that much different from what you and I have experienced. While we may not have a huge furnace with our names on it in the near future, we face many of the same things that Daniel and company had to face. They, like us, had to choose God in a world that was hostile to His message.
In light of it all, what do we do today? How do we take a stand for Him when the world is there to kick our feet from out from under us? I think we can use the story of Daniel and learn three things that can help live holy lives in an unholy world!
1. The World Has A Lot to Offer (vs. 3-5)
While we were pastoring in Lower Hainesville, our Sunday evening services usually consisted of close to and hour in Praise and Worship. We always gave the opportunity for others to give testimonies. Often the testimonies came with a favourite song request. This can be dangerous, especially if a person is not so well verses in many of the “older songs of the faith.”
It just so happened that a dear lady, in fact it is Caleb’s teacher’s grandmother, stood up and testified. I cannot remember what she praised God for, but then she asked for the song. I gulped long and hard as she asked for the song “The Hallelujah Side.” I did not know it, but I would try to sing it if she helped me out. Now, three years later, that songs has become one of my favourites to play on the piano.
There is a line in that song that goes “Though the world may sweep around me with her dazzle and her dreams, yet I envy not her vanity and pride.” Every where you look, the carnal world puts on a pretty good show, doesn’t it?
Advertisers draw on our sense to draw us into buying or watching anything. A few scantily clad women here, and a familiar song there can draw us in to almost anything. It is nothing new. In fact, it is the oldest trick in the book.
Adam and Eve looked at the fruit, and it looked good. The serpent sold them on the values and quality of life they were sure to have if the only took a bite.
David stood on his rooftop and peered down upon bathing Bathsheba. She looked good, and his lust only made her more appealing, so much so that the Hittite husband could easily be taken out of the way. Just place him in the front of the battle, and let him take the arrows.
Satan even tried to sell Jesus on the value of a common loaf of bread.
All around us, the world has a lot to offer. Many times, the offers are nice, but we don’t really need them. Poison wrapped in gift paper and a pretty bow does not change the fact that it is poison. Daniel, in the presence of the king, noticed a splendid spread before him on the king’s table.