When In Babylon

“In the third year of [Jehoiakim‘s] reign, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it… The king commanded Ashpenaz, his chief eunuch, to bring some people of Israel, of the royal family and the nobility, youths without blemish, of good appearance and skillful in all wisdom, endowed with knowledge, understanding learning, and competent to stand in the king’s palace, and to teach them the literature and language of the Chaldeans. [He] assigned them a daily portion of the food that the king ate, and the wine that he drank. They were to be educated for three years, and at the end of that time to stand before the king. Among these were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah… 

“But Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the king’s food or wine. He asked the chief to allow him not to defile himself… As for these four youths, God gave them learning and skill in all literature and wisdom… The king spoke with them, and among them none was found like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah… In every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king inquired, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in his kingdom.”

“Certain Chaldeans came forward and maliciously accused the Jews… Nebuchadnezzar in furious rage commanded that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego be brought… and said, ‘Is it true that you do not serve my gods or worship the golden image that I have set up? If you are ready when you hear the… music to fall down and worship the image that I have made, well and good. But if you do not worship, you shall immediately be cast into a burning fiery furnace…’

“[They] answered, ‘O Nebuchadnezzar,.. if this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand. But if not, be it known, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.’” Daniel 1:1,3-6,8-9,17,19-20; 3:8,13-18

Daniel and his friends were disrupted in life, but never in faith. In fact, the more changes and challenges of location, authority, and culture they encountered, the more steadfast their resolve to honor their Lord. To every command or question, they replied with respect, prudence, discretion, and courage. They excelled in education but not corruption, resisting temptation to serve any false god. They were attentive, measured, and calm against the frenzied caprice of the king. Their secret? Staying spiritually above the fray of Babylon through consistent prayer, engagement with fellow believers, and earnest commitment to praise God. Their dependence on His might and sovereignty armed them with holy boldness and peace in tumult. (Daniel 2:5,14-28, 36-38,45-48; 4:19-27)

When we face threats, disturbances, and temptations, we can be easily shaken or stand high on solid ground. Have we lost our footing, or fellowship? What practical adjustments in focus and time expenditure would remind us who God is, and return our confidence, identity, and security to Him?

While Nebuchadnezzar finally acknowledged God as supreme, there’s no guarantee our faithfulness will yield such results in others. We can be sure we will know Him as supreme. He will honor our obedience and deliver us from fear. (Psalm 34:4; Daniel 4:34-37)

Lord, no matter what Babylon offers, keep me steadfast and immovable in You, and for Your praise. (1 Corinthians 15:58)

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