Saturday, December 16, 2006

Daniel Among The Babylonians

Author's Note:

Dear readers of my blog (avid or otherwise),

If you're the type of person who has too short an attention span to read a long article or blog post, you're most prolly a brainless airhead who's too dumb to have a decent convo with anyone (yep, I do have a mean streak at times but only as comic relief) I bet you've been SCANNING thru my blog posts instead of READING and DIGESTING them, haven't you? Yep, I'm pretty sure most of you do that. Tsk tsk tsk... shame on you! =P Oh well... hehehe... it's your loss... *shrugs*

To all my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ,

This post is actually a sermon that I heard a few weeks ago.

Are you ready?

You better be.


Though we're in the world, we're not of the world. God has placed us here for a specific purpose — to penetrate the culture we live in and bring about lasting change and impact through godly influence. CLICK HERE to read "WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF LIFE?"

"I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one." (John 17:14-15)

Jesus says, "We are not of the world." That means we dun embrace the world's value system of pride, greed, envy, violence, sloth, lust and gluttony — commonly known as the 7 deadly sins. Yet Jesus also prayed, "Father, don't take My people out of the world, just keep them from the evil one!" The reasoning for that is simple: as long as we remain in the world, we can be "the light of the world." (John 15:19)

Indeed, this often sounds paradoxical. How can you be in the world and yet not of the world — both at the same time? Well, what that means is that naturally and physically, you're mingling with everybody in the world, but in your internal attitudes and moral values, you're different. And like the leaven in a cake, you're seeking to change the world from inside out.

Relating to this thought is another concept that Jesus presented in the Sermon on the Mount.

"You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven." (Matthew 5:13-16)

Salt never enhances the food it has been sprinkled on if it is not mixed in completely. Salt is meant to blend into whatever it touches. As the salt of the earth, we need to "dissolve" into our world and become one with our environment. And as we blend in, we change the flavor of the "meat" and prevent spiritual death and moral decay from setting into the lives of others.

What's more, salt changes that which is bland and of bad taste by bringing flavor, fragrance and delight to it. Similarly, of all the people on planet Earth, the Church of Jesus Christ should be the most colorful, vivacious and progressive. Unfortunately, pharisaical, religious Christians have made it bland, boring, and out of touch with society at large.

And when we dun want to engage and blend in but instead insist on being a "chunk of salt" sitting on the peripheral of the "meat of the world", we become unpalatable to society. Salt is useless if it doesn't blend in and marinate its environment. Jesus says, "It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men." (Matthew 5:13)

The Holy Spirit wants us to engage and penetrate our world. When we Christians fail to do that, we become irrelevant, redundant, obsolete and useless. We become "good for nothing" and get marginalized by the very institutions God wants us to influence and change.

The Gospels make it very clear that God plunges us fully into society to influence the marketplace of business, education, government, arts and media. And God wants us to be like Daniel of the Bible. Who was he? Together with Noah and Job, Daniel was one of the three men in the Scripture credited with extraordinary righteousness. (Ezekiel 14:14, 20)

Although Daniel had extraordinary righteousness, he didn't look or behave one bit like a religious priest in the temple of God. Neither did he dress like a holy prophet of Israel. Holiness is not something external that you put on. It's an internal attitude of the heart and the presence of the Holy Spirit in your life.

Daniel looked 100% like the typical Babylonian of his time. He wore Babylonian headgear, Babylonian robes, Babylonian belts and Babylonian sandals. In fact, Daniel clothed himself in a style that easily put him in the company of the king's astrologers and soothsayers. How else could he have been made the "chief of the magicians" (verse 11) and mingled freely among them?

That is what it means to be the "salt of the earth". Salt dissolves into the entire environment it is sprinkled upon and becomes one with it. Yet, it influences the whole environment with its property of saltiness.

Daniel was a holy man "in whom is the Spirit of the Holy God" (verse 11); yet he was dressed like a worldly Babylonian. Not only that, Daniel was trained in the knowledge and wisdom of Babylon.

He was educated in the dark arts of Babylon, which incidentally was the most idolatrous nation in the history of the ancient world. Daniel was such an expert in his field of studies that he was made the chief of the magicians and astrologers! He was definitely not innocent, naive or ignorant of the occult practices in the land, although he definitely did not practice them. How else could he have risen to the highest rank among the sorcerers and soothsayers?

All throughout the book of Daniel, we read of how Daniel's innocence was tested again and again, but he remained righteous and holy — faithful to God. He was a man of the Word (Daniel 9:2). He was a man of prayer and fasting (verse 3). He was a man of the Holy Spirit (Daniel 5:11). Yet, like the salt and light that Jesus teaches in Matthew 5, Daniel's position and ministry were totally entrenched in the worldly society God had planted him in. Daniel was the "chief of the magicians" (verse 11).


If God has planted you in the realm of business, be a real businessman.

If God has called you to be an educator, be a real skillful educator.

If God has called you into government, be a real skillful politician.

If it's the arena of the arts, be a real actor, singer or celebrity.

If it's in the area of media, be a real television producer or movie director.

Excel in your sphere of influence!


Daniel was a Special Counsel to King Nebuchadnezzar, overseeing a huge department of Babylonian astrologers. He wasn't just a believer trying to disguise himself as a wannabe politician. He was, in every sense, a Babylonian. Since he was a youth, he was trained and groomed to be one: a civil servant fully "baptized" into the Babylonian culture. Just that the power Daniel leaned on was from on high — from the true God of heaven! *woot!* *woot!*

So often, I've met many Christians who say, "Hey, Mich, I'm really a 'preacher' masquerading myself as a student/singer/PR practitioner/account executive/accountant/engineer!" And what is sad is that many of them are neither good preachers nor excellent students/singers/PR practitioners/account executives/accountants/engineers. They dun act the part, dress the part, talk the part; and worst of all, they dun even do the part.

Some so-called Christians I know constantly engage in foulmouthed conversations thrusting only crudeness in every direction at their skool/college/university/workplace. I get agitated when I hear cuss phrases like what the f**k, what the hell, what the sh*t, motherf**ker, etc. I strongly believe that if you're gonna profess to be a Christian, you should live like one and be a living testimony. Monday to Saturday is your time to shine cuz that's when you're surrounded by ppl who dunno Christ! What's the point of being a "good" Christian on Sundays only?! ISH!!! So-called Christians like that have turned many unchurched people away from the gospel because they dun see Christ in them... =/

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, what good is it if you can quote the whole Bible if you never allow the Word of God to dwell in you and change you until we're conformed to the image of Jesus Christ??? When non-believers start asking you: "Why should I become a Christian? What makes you Christians different from the rest of us?", that shows you're being a hypocrite!


"You must allow the Word of God to be your final authority. Walking after the flesh will destroy your life." (Galatians 6:8)

To shine for the Lord, you must excel in your skool/college/university/workplace. You hafta be baptized into the culture of your trade. Some students write theological essays in their project submissions. Some skool teachers preach the Bible in class instead of teaching subjects they're paid to teach. Instead of being a reflection of Christ, they turn people off... =_=" Be a hardworking, trustworthy professional. Be a real student! Be a real teacher! Excel in your job and you'll be witnessing for Jesus by your work ethics from Monday to Saturday.


Related Posts:

The World's Hatred & The Favor Of God ~ CLICK!
*The Way, The Truth & The Life* ~ CLICK!
My Two Cents Worth ~ CLICK!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

gasp! i think i am either:

a) someone who has short attention span
b) a brainless airhead who is too dumb
c) someone who gets bored of reading long winded and boring posts

but, i can't possibly be a) or b) because i am smart enough not to waste my time reading boring posts!

however, u can still be reassured of my readership. you are here to remind me of how la-la land some people in the world can be.

keep it up michelle!