Bible Study, Defending Daniel
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But each of them helps their practitioners avoid a slow creep of assimilation by providing constant, public markers of their faith. Active association and accountability with other Christians in the same kind of work.
Bible Study Defending Daniel : The Book of Daniel, Except It or Accept It by Rickard B. DeMille
But few Christians have any forum where they can share concerns, questions, successes and failures with others in their field. How are lawyers to learn how to apply the faith to law, except by regular, intentional discussions with other Christian lawyers? Likewise for engineers, artisans, farmers, teachers, parents, marketing managers and every other vocation.
Creating and nurturing these kinds of groups is one of the great unmet needs of workplace Christians. Formation of good relationships with non-believers in your workplace. Daniel cooperated with God by respecting the official and looking after his welfare Dan. Daniel managed to walk the tightrope of partial cultural assimilation without religious and moral compromise. The stakes were high. The food laws in their technical detail may not have been the issue since wine was permitted by Jewish law, and since later we learn that Daniel did find suitable meat to eat in Babylon Having set up in detail the life-situation faced by Daniel and his friends, the Book of Daniel now in Daniel 2 begins the first of the three themes that form the chiastic structure described in the section above "The Big Picture of the Book of Daniel".
This theme is that God will overthrow pagan kingdoms and replace them with his own kingdom. Although Daniel was prospering and serving God in the midst of hostile territory, Nebuchadnezzar was becoming uneasy ruling his own land, even though his power was unchallenged. His dreams became troubled by his worries about the security of his empire. In one dream, Nebuchadnezzar saw a towering statue consisting of several elements made of different metals.
Nebuchadnezzar and his Babylon were the paragon of pride. But Daniel gives the king two shocking messages:. Your kingdom is not the result of your own doing. So all your pride is foolish and vain. Your kingdom is doomed. The great God has informed the king what shall be hereafter. Although this is not to happen in your time, it will bring all your supposedly mighty accomplishments to nothing. Daniel disclaimed any personal ability of his own. Nebuchadnezzar even came to some kind of belief in Yahweh.
God will bring the arrogance, corruption, injustice and violence of all workplaces to an end, although not necessarily during the time we work there. This is a source both of comfort and challenge. Comfort, because we are not responsible for correcting every evil in our workplaces, but only for acting faithfully in our spheres of influence, and also because the unfairness we may suffer at work is not the ultimate reality of our work.
This illustrates both the possibilities and the dangers of applying the Book of Daniel to our work lives. At times we recognize that to be faithful to God, we must challenge people in power. The metals of the image in chapter 2 and the bestial kingdoms in chapter 7 are parallel references to the succession of these four earthly kingdoms: Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome; the alternative view that presupposes the work is second century contends for Babylon, Median, Persia, and Greece.
Bible Study Defending Daniel: The Book of Daniel, Except It or Accept It
Yet even in the midst of their suffering, God rewarded their faithfulness. The edifice signified the resurgent pride of the Babylonian king. After years of successfully bridging the tension between the pagan environment of the Babylonian court and their fidelity to God, they faced a situation where no compromise was possible without violating their integrity. Previously, they served as models of how to thrive by following God in a hostile environment.
Now they had to serve as models of how to suffer in the same environment. This they do with gusto. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered the king, "O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to present a defense to you in this matter. If our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire and out of your hand, O king, let him deliver us. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods and we will not worship the golden statue that you have set up.
But we could be ordered to do something that we cannot do in good conscience. We should expect to suffer for doing so. Working as a Christian is not another shortcut to success, but instead brings the constant danger of suffering. This episode is especially poignant because it shows that Daniel and his friends lived in the same world we do. In our world, if you stand up to a boss over an issue of, say, sexual harassment or falsification of data, the most likely outcome is that you will be punished, marginalized, sullied, misunderstood and maybe fired.
Even if you succeed in ending the abuse and removing the offender from power, your own reputation may well suffer irreparable damage. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego apparently expected no less for themselves, for they say outright that God may not intervene in their case.
But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods" Dan. Nonetheless, to them, being faithful to God was the right thing to do, whether or not it was path to success. In this they are indeed models for us.
We need to learn to speak the truth clearly, with humility, in our own workplaces. General Peter Pace, a former chairman of the U. The topic of both is the humbling or overthrow of the pagan kingdom. The magnificence of Babylon serves as the common setting for the humiliation of Nebuchadnezzar in chapter 4 and the demise of King Belshazzar in chapter 5. Yet once again, the king was troubled by his dreams.
In the dream the stump became a man whose mind was changed into that of an animal and who was constrained to live among the animals and plants for an extended time Dan.
Defending the Bible’s Clarity
The king commands Daniel to interpret the dream, once again requiring Daniel to give unpleasant news to an emotionally unstable monarch Dan. As a result, he was punished as the dream foretold Dan. At times our respectful, principled stands may lead to transformation in our workplaces, too. A consultant at an international management consulting firm — call him Vince — tells a story of confronting someone with a bit too much self-importance.
At the start of the project, a senior partner from the firm began to give a pep talk to the team. One of the client team members — call him Gary — interrupted him. Gary began to question the validity of the project. The senior partner recognized the change and, at the end of the project, singled out Gary for special recognition at the closing banquet. Theme C, as introduced in chapter 5 , concerns the humbling of the pagan king, but not his actual overthrow.
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The theme is revisited in chapter 5 in terms of the destruction of the Babylonian empire. The city contained as many as 50 temples and numerous palaces. Belshazzar, proud ruler of the magnificent empire of Babylon, was so frightened by the handwriting on the wall that his face turned pale and his knees knocked together Dan.
Neither he nor his enchanters, astrologers and diviners were able to understand what it meant Dan. In the end, God does bring the evil kingdom to an end. By all means, we should bloom where we are planted. If the opportunity arises, we can and should make a difference. Engagement, not withdrawal, is the model we see in every page of the Book of Daniel. But our engagement with the world is not grounded on the expectation that we will achieve a certain degree of success, or that God will make us immune from the sufferings we see around us.
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It is grounded on the knowledge that everything good that happens in the midst of the fallen world is only a foretaste of the incomparable goodness that will come when God brings his own kingdom forth on earth. Arnold, Who Were the Babylonians? Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, , Belshazzar was not a descendant of Nebuchadnezzar, but the son of and co-regent with King Nabonidus BC who had come to the throne in a military coup. In Daniel 6, the chiastic structure of Daniel revisits Theme B: that faithful witnesses to God experience both suffering and reward while the pagan kingdom persists.
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Then, as now, when someone is chosen to become the boss of his or her former colleagues, those not chosen may feel resentment. We are not told how Daniel handled this awkward situation, but we do see how his former colleagues responded. They tried to catch Daniel at some impropriety so they could report him to the King.
The conspirators believed they had found a path to Daniel's destruction. This offers another lesson for leaders--beware of flattery. Darius, addled by flattery, neglected to consult his legal counsel about the decree before enacting it, leading to a situation he deeply regretted later.