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12/4/20 - ARE YOU KEEPING BABYLON ON THE OUTSIDE?

“During the third year of King Jehoiakim’s reign in Judah, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. The Lord gave him victory over King Jehoiakim of Judah and permitted him to take some of the sacred objects from the Temple of God. So Nebuchadnezzar took them back to the land of Babylonia and placed them in the treasure-house of his god. Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, his chief of staff, to bring to the palace some of the young men of Judah’s royal family and other noble families, who had been brought to Babylon as captives. “Select only strong, healthy, and good-looking young men,” he said. “Make sure they are well versed in every branch of learning, are gifted with knowledge and good judgment, and are suited to serve in the royal palace. Train these young men in the language and literature of Babylon. ” The king assigned them a daily ration of food and wine from his own kitchens. They were to be trained for three years, and then they would enter the royal service. Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were four of the young men chosen, all from the tribe of Judah. (The very tribe Jesus the messiah would be born from)The chief of staff renamed them with these Babylonian names: Daniel was called Belteshazzar. Hananiah was called Shadrach. Mishael was called Meshach. Azariah was called Abednego. 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. Now God had given the chief of staff both respect and affection for Daniel. But he responded, “I am afraid of my lord the king, who has ordered that you eat this food and wine. If you become pale and thin compared to the other youths your age, I am afraid the king will have me beheaded.” Daniel spoke with the attendant who had been appointed by the chief of staff to look after Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. “Please test us for ten days on a diet of vegetables and water,” Daniel said. “At the end of the ten days, see how we look compared to the other young men who are eating the king’s food. Then make your decision in light of what you see.” The attendant agreed to Daniel’s suggestion and tested them for ten days. At the end of the ten days, Daniel and his three friends looked healthier and better nourished than the young men who had been eating the food assigned by the king. So after that, the attendant fed them only vegetables instead of the food and wine provided for the others. God gave these four young men an unusual aptitude for understanding every aspect of literature and wisdom. And God gave Daniel the special ability to interpret the meanings of visions and dreams. When the training period ordered by the king was completed, the chief of staff brought all the young men to King Nebuchadnezzar. The king talked with them, and no one impressed him as much as Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. So they entered the royal service. Whenever the king consulted them in any matter requiring wisdom and balanced judgment, he found them ten times more capable than any of the magicians and enchanters in his entire kingdom. Daniel remained in the royal service until the first year of the reign of King Cyrus.”

‭‭Daniel‬ ‭1:1-21‬ ‭NLT‬‬


If there was ever a time to be steadfast in our walk with God, it is now! If there was ever a time to share the good news of Jesus Christ, it is now! If there was ever a time to live holy, it is now! If there was ever a time to walk in the Spirit of discernment, it is now! I believe that the Lord is going to allow some of us to be tested like never before. We will be challenged, not to destroy us but to prove us.


In the text above, God had warned Israel through the prophet Jeremiah(see Jeremiah 20-22;24-29) of what was about to happen. The false prophets tried to undermine his warnings, but God’s Word always prevails. Isaiah 55:11. If there was ever a time to study the Word of God, it is now! If there was ever a time to draw near to God, it is now! God did not prevent His followers from going into captivity as we have read, and if you continue reading through Daniel chapters 2-6 you’ll see that He didn’t prevent His servants from being tested. We have been cruising through this Christian experience for a long time, but that’s about to change. Let those who have ears to hear, hear.


The key to this message is the title. We may be taken captive to Babylon, but Babylon doesn’t have to make us captives. Daniel and his three friends were a part of group of Israelites taken as slaves, but before they were singled out, they had made a decision to stand out for Jehovah. Not only did God allow their skills to be recognized, He had already promoted them prior to them getting to Babylon. The favor of God followed them. Why? Because they had a made up mind. Jehovah was to be exalted no matter what.


The life God has planned for us has been set before our birth. When we made the decision to become His, we willingly handed over the reins, or at least we should’ve, to our lives. These four young men not only determined to be ambassadors, they took control of their natural appetites. They determined not to even pollute their bodies with Babylon’s diet. They refused what they knew had been offered to idols. They weren’t the only Israelites in the kings court, but they were the only ones we read about because they distinguished themselves immediately. Those put in charge of their well-being were also being tested. But God had already given them a special affinity towards Daniel.


When you do not allow your circumstances to define you, you’ll trust your life to the One who designed you. We have been equipped for Babylon, we can handle anything God allows because He’s with us. Daniel and his friends knew this. That’s why they weren’t afraid to ask for a completely different diet than the other captives. It wasn’t about the natural appetite, it was about defilement of their souls. I love that he said, “examine us after ten days, put us up against those who have given Babylon access.” Daniel went into captivity against his will, but as a follower of Jehovah, he heard the warnings of Jeremiah, and surrendered to God’s will. He didn’t know what to expect. But he had a made up mind and led by example. His conviction was encouragement for his fellow captives.


I’m not going to take the time to go through all the scriptures, but I’d hope you would want to read them for yourself. Whenever God permits a test, it’s more about showing or demonstrating to the lost as well as the saved, who He is. Daniel and his friends were quickly promoted after their training in captivity. They excelled at every task. This came at a high price. The Babylonians resented them. Entrapment abounded. But God was in it. These men remained steadfast no matter what. They faced their accusers and the king with bold confidence. They wouldn’t compromise. The position they held didn’t get inside them. They had one aim: Lift up Jehovah no matter what.


Babylon never found a place to rest in them. Their surroundings did not deter their worship. The only fault the accusers could find against them was their commitment and loyalty to the One true God. The fire couldn’t burn them and the lions couldn’t devour them. Why? They kept Babylon out. They didn’t blend in. Their Hebrew names may have been changed, but their character did not. What about us? Have we allowed the world we live in to mold us? Shape our world view and numb our souls? Did we vote with the Babylonians, or did we vote with Jehovah in mind? Have we polluted our appetites with the Babylonian delicacies Or have we chosen the Master’s diet? Have we allowed Babylon in? We’re in the world but not of it, or have we become so desensitized and oblivious to the Babylonian culture raging against the Kingdom of God, that we have taken on their names? With whom are you identifying and aligned?


Elijah said these words on mount Carmel:


“Then Elijah stood in front of them and said, “How much longer will you waver, hobbling between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him! But if Baal is God, then follow him!” But the people were completely silent.”

‭‭1 Kings‬ ‭18:21‬ ‭NLT‬‬


The silence of the church in Babylon is deafening. We don’t even know where we stand. We no longer discern by God’s Spirit what’s going on around us. We eat the diet of the Babylonians, CNN, MSNBC, FOX NEWS, CNBC, ABC, NBC and CBS. No wonder the church is suffering from spiritual gout. We have allowed the world’s diet to be a substitute for the Word of God. Some of us spend more time watching the news than reading the Good News. No wonder we’re running in fear instead of stepping up in faith. Daniel challenged the normalcy of Babylon, he refused the king’s diet. He knew his God would be faithful even in captivity. We don’t even trust God in freedom. Where’s our evidence that Jehovah is God? Where’s our proof that He’s still the same God in Jerusalem and in Babylon? Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah turned Babylon upside down. Two kings ended up bowing down to their God, renouncing their own. When Babylon is not allowed in, Jehovah will reign.


The question is, how will we handle our Babylon experience? Will we remain true to our God, or will we sell out? Will we stand up in the fire, will Jesus show up or will we burn up? Will we make it out of the lion’s den or will we be eaten alive? The outcome is dependent on who we are prior to the test. There’s no time to fix things in the testing. We must be prepared for anything at all times. We have been warned. Ignorance is not an excuse. We have His Spirit and His Word. Are we ready, people of God? These four men had made a decision to die before they’d compromise, are we? We talk a good game, but are we prepared to die for what we claim to believe? Keep Babylon out, and God will give us the victory through Jesus Christ His Son.


Develop a spiritual appetite, a desire for more of Him. Take a news fast, turn off the television for a week. Get alone with God. I promise you, you’ll begin to both hear and see more clearly. If Daniel knew about the edict, he certainly didn’t act like it. We read that he went to prayer as was his custom. He had succeeded at keeping Babylon out. He walked in peace, while the plot thickened, he prayed. When they came to get him, he didn’t resist, he was guilty as charged, and accepted the sentence. He was not disturbed. The king couldn’t sleep or eat lol Daniel used the biggest lion for a pillow. Keep Babylon out, and you’ll have inner peace.


May the Lord find us faithful, may He be able to find us worthy of the lions den and fiery furnace. May He find a church without spot or wrinkle. A church He gave His precious life for. A souled out church.


Written by permission of the Holy Spirit

W. Tennant


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