Notes taken from Chuck Obremski’s study of Daniel. Daniel 1:1-7 – Courage, not Compromise! – FG1198
Isaac Disraeli – “It is a wretched taste to be satisfied with mediocrity when excellence lies before us.”
Too many have grown content with mediocrity. Too few refuse to let the majority set their standard, or the person who aims high, or the person whose stands firm on his or her convictions.
We hear words like: “just go with the flow”, “don’t make waves”, “who cares”, or “what difference does it make anyway?”.
It’s easy in the days of political correctness to compromise.
Illustration of the Jewish boy who when asked who was the greatest person ever born responded that it was Jesus. When the teacher asked why he said it…he responded that personally he thought that Moses was the greatest…but he said Jesus was…because “business is business”.
God’s people may find themselves going with the flow…not making waves or justifying their willingness to compromise. What is lacking in the culture today? Courage!
Courage is that strong muscle of character. It gives a nation pride, it gives a home it’s purpose, it gives a person the will to excel.
Alexander Solzenitzen – “From ancient time, a decline in courage has been considered the beginning of the end for a society.”
Courage in the face of difficult circumstances. Not waver from that which is right. Stand firm on their convictions. Do you have a price?
Daniel stood tall in the midst of a hostile environment. A real life hero, a bona fide role model…he couldn’t be bought. This man’s life is an example on how we should be in an environment that is hostile towards God.
Ezekiel 14 – Daniel was a contemporary of Daniel Vs. 12 -14 talked about him as a man of greatness. Likens Daniel to Noah and Job. What made them different? They were committed to obeying the word of God. Obeying and applying it in their life.
Noah was told by God what to do in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation. He continued to obey God and did what God said. Job in the midst of his circumstances, when he lost everything, he did what was right before God and did not sin. God knew that he would obey and recognized him as a great man of God.
It’s hard to recognize greatness in our generation. We need to aim a little higher, don’t just settle. Can one person make a difference in the world today? Absolutely!
We must keep our eyes and ears focused on God and his word and apply it in our life, as we learn it and put it in our heart.
We need an infusion of courage in our culture today and in the people of God.
We’ll look at the circumstances that brought Daniel from Jerusalem to Babylon. Conviction of Daniel and his friends as they were pressured in the environment they found themselves in. Comparison of Daniel and his friend to the rest of the culture around them.
Circumstances that brought Daniel to Babylon.
Jerusalem was invaded by Nebuchadnezzar. He had heard about Jerusalem’s great wealth because Hezekiah had opened up the city’s treasure to show it’s great wealth. Jerusalem was ready for the picking. But God is in control of all things.
Some of us are so afraid to take any steps where we can be identified with God and the people of God and his principals. We are running scared all the time. Why? God is in control.
God gave Jehoiakim into the hands of Nebuchadnezzar. He was able to have success in the battle because God allowed it to happen. Nothing can happen to you and me unless God allows it for his purpose and for his glory.
Nebuchadnezzar orders Ashpenaz, one of his officials to bring in the son’s of Israel. Nebuchadnezzar allowed Jehoiakim to remain in Israel…under the control of Egypt. But just in case he took the top people who surrounded him. Children, sons, chosen people…and took them back to Babylon. That way he could use them as leverage against Jehoiakim if he got any stupid ideas. He got him where he wanted him.
Nebuchadnezzar took the young people to change they way they thought about life. Young men between the ages of 13 to 17. He executed the older people, those who were set in their ways. It is estimated that Daniel and his friends were between 13 and 17 years of age.
Qualifications of what they were looking for? Young men in which there was no defect…outward perfection. Good looking…“a looker”. Showed intelligence in every branch of wisdom. Endowed with understanding and discerning knowledge and who had ability for serving in the king’s court.
He would teach them literature and the language of the Chaldean court. These guys were not mediocre…they excelled in everything that they did.
Principle…God’s people should be the best at whatever it is that they do. Not for man…not to get promoted…or to make money…or get noticed by people.
Why do it for God…because it’s pleasing to God. God demands our best. He gave his best when he gave us Jesus on the cross.
We should be the best at what we do. Instead all to often we become cynical because we have to do our best and no one notices. But God notices.
Daniel and his friends took care of themselves. They took care of themselves, they looked good, were knowledgeable, educated and had high IQ’s. Why should a Christian be anything less than the best than the culture has to offer. The best student, the best teacher, worker, employee, husband, fathers, mothers, wives and neighbors. Stop settling for being less than the best because no one around you notices. God notices.
Nebuchadnezzar and his officials recognized talent and excellence. It stood our heads and shoulders above everyone else. Because of that God was able to put them in an environment where they could be used by God to accomplish great things for the kingdom of God.
Some of us don’t get past go because we don’t give it our best. Therefore we are limited in our ministry to God and the kingdom of God. Limited to be used by God to make a difference in our culture.
Do people see you are the best that you could be? Do you give it 100%…whether people recognize it or not? Do your best and excel in everything that you do…so that you honor God and bring glory to God. Nebuchadnezzar wanted to brain wash these boys. To take the men of excellence, change them and make them like us, so that when they were through, no one would know the difference.
Happens with our minds. Teach them the language of the Chaldeans. Mentally they had to change. They could not continue to think they way they use to think. Teach them the language and literature of the Chaldeans. They had been trained and raised Jewish. Now they were told they needed to change the way they think.
They god of secular education deceives God’s people into believing the current lies of the day. Only a good Biblical understanding can set us free from that. David T. Moore wrote about the Lies of the Culture.
1) America is not a Christian nation.
2) Traditional faith is irrelevant.
3) Evolution is an established scientific fact.
4) The sexual revolution has set humanity free. (Contradicts God’s word and there are consequences.)
5) Entertainment is harmless.
God’s truth always has been and always will be under attack.
Nebuchadnezzar’s goal was to infiltrate their minds with Chaldean literature.
Instead we are to fill our minds with the word of God. Be ware, be careful of the deceit of the world today. It tries to fill our mind with garbage. With anything that is not in line with the word of God. God has chosen the foolish things of this world to confound the wise.
What isn’t foolish to the world? Work your way to haven. Earn your way into the presence of God. Nebuchadnezzar tried to change them mentally. Tied to get them to think broader in their views towards life.
We must remember that we don’t need them to have God provide for us. We need God. He can open any door he chooses. Open the door to those of use who are faithful and give us opportunities that we never thought were possible.
Nebuchadnezzar wanted to change them socially. Give them the best the king had to offer. The best way to get someone on your side is to cut them into the action. Compromise…but you will gain. They want you to think you are better than everyone else. We find ourselves in the greatest spiritual danger when we are in time of prosperity. When things are going well.
God warns us. Don’t forget I’m the one who blessed you. The day you forget that is the day you will be judged by me.
The danger in brainwashing was in giving these young men a sense of superiority over everyone else.
We want to be liked by others. Dress like them, talk like them, think like them, act like them, party with them, conduct ourselves in business like them, try to pattern our character and programs like them.
But God’s word tells us do not love the world and the things of this world. If we are going to be courageous we must take a stand on what is right. Isn’t it about that? You take a courageous stand in an environment in which God has placed you. You can make a difference.
Brainwashing also had to be done with their religious beliefs. Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah were assigned new names. A fresh start…a new start. Forget about where you came from, them past…education and friends. You’ve got a new life now.
Daniel’s name means “God is judge”. Here we find the doctrine of the judgment of God. God judged Jesus Christ on the cross on our behalf for our sins. Jesus Christ will then judge all humanity. We will all one day appear before the judgment thrown of Christ…all will.
Daniel’s name was changed to Belteshazzar…the greatest name of the pantheon of god in their culture. AS if he came from the hand of their god. The name means “may Bail protect his life”. He went from God is Judge to may Bail protect his life.
Instead of the Lord’s protection…and his accountability to God…they wanted him to appeal their pagan god to protect his life. They were saying play ball our way or you may loose your life. Your life hangs in the balance depending on how you conduct yourself right now. Don’t worry about your God, but worry about us judging you.
We are so afraid of the judgment of men that we forget we answer to the judgment of God. Instead we should be concerned about the judgment we will experience before God. No one else will be there. I will be one on one with God and give an account for what I did after coming to a believing faith in Christ.
Instead we need to say, “You don’t scare me…I know who made you”.
Hananiah’s name means the Lord is gracious…emphasizing the graciousness of God. His name was changed to Shadrach. Shadrach means “Illumined by the son god”. Hananiah emphasized the work of Jesus Christ. His parents knew that everything that they had was because of the gracious hand of God.
People worship the sun…instead of the Son of God. They wanted him to look as someone else other than God as the source of his good looks. What do you have that God has not given you?
Mishael means who or what is like the Lord. His name was changed to Meshach which means who or what is like Ishtar or Venus.
They wanted him to feel good about himself…to only please himself.
Azariah’s name means the Lord is my help. His parent’s message by giving that name was that the Lord will be the one you turn to when we are no longer around. His name was changed to Abednego…meaning the servant or slave of Nego. Nego was the god of wisdom and education. The message being don’t trust in God, trust your education and philosophy.
How will you handle these temptations? Given a top education…a full ride….he was cream of the crop. Tempted? Owed someone or something?
If you would like to obtain the CD album of the book Daniel…a man of Courage, not Compromise, please log on to website for Kindred Community Church. Contact these faithful servants of God so you too can study God’s word in the book of Daniel. Lord bless!
Thoughts and Reflections…
How will Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego respond?
God used these boys…these boys of excellence. He put them in a place where they would have the opportunity to become witnesses to God and the work he was doing in their life.
Daniel = God is judge
Hananiah = God is gracious
Mishael = Who or what is like the Lord
Azariah = The Lord is my help
When we work for man and seek man’s praise we will be disappointed…if our work is not recognized. Instead we need to work unto the Lord. God is our judge.
We need to seek only God’s praise and his rewards…God is gracious. Man’s praise and reward can not compare to God. Who or what is like the Lord.
When faced with a difficult circumstances…in trying situations…we need to look to the Lord. Not man…not earthly rewards…but God.
That may mean that we may not receive our rewards this side of heaven. The Lord will provide the strength and help to do that which he has called us to do.
The Lord will provide what we need and in the right time. He cares for us.
Will you choose to be a man or woman or excellence?
Will you allow God to put in you in a place he has called you to?
Will you look to the Lord for your reward, recognition and wisdom?
Will you look to the Lord…and he alone to provide?
Will you work for the purpose and glory of God? To bring praise and honor to His name?