November 20, 2012
THE GEORGIA CAPITOL DEVOTIONAL - 20 NOVEMBER 2012
Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, the chief of his officials, to bring in some of the sons of Israel, including some of the sons of Israel, including some of the royal family and of the nobles, youths in whom was no defect, who were good-looking, showing intelligence in every branch of wisdom, endowed with understanding and discerning knowledge, and who had ability for serving in the king’s court, and he ordered him to teach them the literature and language of the Chaldeans (Dan 1:3-4).
Daniel was probably a teenager when the Babylonians took him into captivity, since he was still alive seventy years later when the captivity was completed. As a member of the royal court, Ashpenaz sought to accommodate Daniel and his friends to the Babylonian manner of thinking. Even today, whether we are young or older, we experience these same pressures from the unbelieving world.
The believer in Jesus Christ will always be pressured to conform his/her thinking: “he ordered him to teach them the literature and language of the Chaldeans” (1:4). Imagine the influence that the Babylonians sought to exert upon the believers in God. The literature of the Babylonians would have communicated their particular worldview, their concept of God, their concept of sin, and their concept of redemption, which were contrary to everything that the Bible revealed and contrary to everything that God’s people believed.
Similarly, the influence of the unbelieving world is experienced today from the Internet, print media, movie, and television, in addition to many other sources of information. What shall we do? Scripture exhorts us to “stand firm” and resist conformity to the pattern of this world (1 Cor 16:13; Rom 12:2; Eph 6:14).
“Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like [those who are mature], be strong” (1 Cor 16:13).
“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect” (Rom 12:2).
“Stand firm therefore, "HAVING GIRDED YOUR LOINS WITH TRUTH, and HAVING PUT ON THE BREASTPLATE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS" (Eph 6:14).
Be encouraged that Daniel and his three friends were firm in their faith against the Babylonian attempts to change their behavior and thinking. Whoever says it is easy to be a Christian does not understand the biblical faith! There is always pressure to conform ourselves “to this world.” Thankfully though, God’s commands are always satisfied with His divine provisions.
“And He has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.’ Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me” (2 Cor 12:9).
Through exhortation and prayer, let us help each other. “Rejoice, be made complete, be comforted, be like minded, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you” (2 Cor 13:11). Let us be bold and courageous—standing firm and resisting conformity to this world—, and let us dare to live a holy and radical life unto to God (as did Daniel and his friends).
Yours in Christ,