Midweek Message 19 June 2024

The story which follows (over three weeks) is wrapped around the life and times of Daniel: a man employed by a pagan boss in an alien country and in a career he didn’t choose. The aim of the story is to help us consider our personal walk of faith in this modern, and in many ways alien, world.

Daniel’s story – Part 1 – Student years

As Daniel trudged along the road to Babylon he had to confess that he had enjoyed his life of privilege in the royal household and he had been among those who had mocked Jeremiah. The prophet had been right, the words of Moses had been fulfilled; because of Israel’s rejection of God’s way Daniel and several others were going into exile. He also remembered the promises of restoration given by Moses if they returned to the Lord. He and three of his companions made their commitment to follow the way of the Lord.

The faith of these four teenage boys was soon put to the test; they were offered a life of privilege in Nebuchadnezzar’s court. Choosing God’s way, they refused the luxurious foods and lifestyle. This step of faith and commitment was honoured and soon they found themselves among the king’s favourites.

All went well until Daniel was arrested and was told they were to be put to death along with all the wise men of Babylon; the king had had a dream and wanted the wise men to tell him the dream as well as interpret it. Daniel took yet another step of faith; he said give me time and I will tell you the dream. Daniel valued the fellowship of prayer and called his three friends to pray for mercy from God. That night God heard their prayers and boldly, giving credit to God, Daniel was able to tell the king all that was in the dream; Daniel and his three friends were promoted to responsible positions in Babylon.

Nebuchadnezzar had a huge statue made; all the people in Babylon were ordered to bow before it. Of course Daniel’s three friends would not bow the knee and those jealous of the Jews reported it to the king. The king was furious and ordered them to be thrown into the furnace. When the king looked into the furnace he saw a fourth person in the furnace and the three friends walking around unhurt. At last Nebuchadnezzar gave glory to the God of Israel and promoted the three friends even higher in the administration of the kingdom of babylon.

The faith of Daniel and his friends was strengthened; they knew that God would always be with them, even in the furnace of affliction. The four young men, in their exile, were beginning to know their God and the righteousness that comes through faith. Their obedience through faith was to lead them along a pathway of many more tests and trials in their commitment to walk in God’s ways.

Questions: – Four teenage men, totally isolated from their homes and their cultural and religious support systems, starting their training at the university of Babylon. What lessons had they learned in God’s university of life that would enable them to survive the traumatic experiences they would face in their careers in an alien land?

What advice do you think Daniel would give, from his own experience, to a young person to help them survive the emotional, mental and spiritual stress they would experience as they start out on their career?