Nick Poindexter

My style's like a chemical spill

Tag: Daniel

Forget Where You Came From

But Daniel was determined not to defile himself by eating the food and wine given to them by the king. He asked the chief of staff for permission not to eat these unacceptable foods.
-Daniel 1:8 (NLT)

As you begin the book of Daniel, we find the author living in captivity in a foreign land. The Jewish people had been exiled to Babylon, and the brightest men had been chosen to be part of a government training program, Daniel included. These men were given new Babylonian names and treated to the finest food and drink. But Daniel would have nothing of it. He demanded to eat something else rather than defile himself with royal dining.

So what was wrong with the king’s food and wine? Some guess it might have not been kosher (allowed by Jewish law). Others say that maybe Daniel was fearful that the food had previously been offered to the false Babylonian gods. And those both might be part of the equation.

But I also can’t help but wonder if Daniel didn’t want to succumb to the pressure and be completely assimilated into the Babylonian lifestyle. As a Jewish man held captive in Babylon but yet being treated like royalty, it would have be easy for him to be engulfed by the local culture. Memories of who he was in Judah could quickly be replaced with his new self in Babylon. Maintaining his true, God-given identity would be difficult. Essentially, if Daniel forgot where he came from, the Babylonians win.

I promise you this: the devil would love nothing more than for you to forget where you came from as well. I’m sure he would be ecstatic for you to forget what God has done and how he’s transformed you… To forget what you believe in and what you’re convicted of… To forget your new identity in Christ as a new creation.

And one of the devil’s best tactics to accomplish this mistaken identity is by using things that aren’t necessarily wrong, but certainly not you. Things that aren’t by definition sinful, but just Babylonian.

What are the “king’s food” being offered today? It could be a plethora of things… The internet, movies, music, sports, video games, shopping. Those aren’t really bad stuff, right? But is it exactly who you want to be either?

So don’t forget who you are. Don’t forget who God is making you into. Don’t get thoroughly immersed in the culture. Don’t forget what’s right and what’s wrong. Don’t forget where you came from.

No matter what you are told otherwise… You are not Babylonian.

Even If He Does Not

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”
-Daniel 3:16-18 (NIV)

In Daniel Chapter 3, the mighty King Nebuchadnezzar has created a 90-foot-tall gold statue and ordered everyone to bow down to it. The alternative? Being thrown into fiery furnace. Despite the threat, three Jewish men who were serving as officials in Babylon — Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego — refused.

When confronted by the king and given one more chance, amazingly the men don’t recant on their convictions. They actually take it one step further and emphatically say that their God can save them. They also add that even if he does not, it makes no difference. The three make it clear that regardless of the circumstances, their God is entitled to their uttermost trust. And because of that, they are not bowing down to anything other than God himself.

Think about the situation… These men were about to die at the hands of a godless king. With their lives on the line, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego had every reason to question God’s timing and deliverance. But even in a moment of extreme turmoil, they stood true to the God that they knew and followed. The God that saves and rescues… And the same God that sometimes performs in ways we can’t even begin to fathom.

I think we’ve all been there before too. Life is full of those “furnace” moments. While your life may not be in any real danger, your character, finances or relationships may be. And God might intervene on your behalf in the midst of your struggle… Or he might not.

It’s easy to be steadfast to God when he does. We shout. We celebrate. We praise.

But we must also have complete trust in God’s goodness during the times when we have absolutely no idea how he is going work. Just like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, we must have confidence that just because God could, doesn’t mean that he should.

For we know that our God is able. It’s our job to be faithful.

Even if he does not.

Defined By Integrity

Then the other administrators and high officers began searching for some fault in the way Daniel was handling government affairs, but they couldn’t find anything to criticize or condemn. He was faithful, always responsible, and completely trustworthy.
-Daniel 6:4 (NLT)

One of my all-time favorite movies is the 2005 superhero flick Batman Begins. Near the end of the film, Batman is in the process of saving Gotham City when his childhood friend Rachel asks about his identity. Batman responds by re-quoting something that she said to him earlier: “It’s not who I am underneath, but what I do that defines me.”

In the Chapter 6 of Daniel, we find the author in a difficult situation. Daniel had worked extremely hard and honorably as an administrator for King Darius, and was soon to be rewarded with a promotion. The other administrators were jealous, but no matter how exhaustively they searched, they couldn’t find anything negative to charge him with. His record was spotless. Daniel was above reproach. He was a man of integrity.

Have you ever heard someone stand up for them self by saying, “Deep down I am a good person” or “Deep down I want to do the right thing”?

Think about it… Is having to dig “deep down” to find goodness in you really what we want to settle for? You see, Daniel was so consistent living a life of incorruptibility that his godliness poured out as soon as you scratched the surface… That’s the kind of character I want to be know for!

There comes a point where we have to take responsibility and control of who we are. Whether it’s your occupation, your school, your family, your team, or your church… As Christians, in all that we do, we should strive to be persons defined by integrity. Faithful people. Responsible people. Trustworthy people. And not just “deep down”.

It’s not who you are underneath. It’s what you do that defines you.

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