Principled Living in a Post-Christian Culture: Learning from Daniel
Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah were the cream of the crop taken from Judah. They were to go into three years of training to serve the king of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar. This involved training in language and literature and eating the food from the king. They were also given new Babylonian names. Daniel didn’t have an issue with the Babylonians renaming him or the education. The text of Daniel 1 says that Daniel didn’t want to defile his body with the king’s food. He stood his ground on this. The guard gave in and after ten days the four men from Judah were in much better shape than the others so the Babylonian guards changed the diets of all the trainees. Then after three years of training they came to Nebuchadnezzar for questioning. The four men were much wiser than the other magicians and enchanters in the kingdom.
In a foreign land and a culture opposed to the things of God, these men immersed themselves in studying the culture and learning their new roles. They stood by their principles on their diet even though they risked death. They didn’t run from certain aspects of the Babylonian culture but didn’t allow themselves to be defiled by other things. In the end, the Babylonians were impressed by the wisdom and understanding of the four men from Judah.
In our American culture, what do we immerse ourselves in to understand our culture? What principles do we stand by so that we don’t defile our minds or bodies? As our culture moves farther away from the principles in Scripture, the story of Daniel and the other men from Judah will be increasingly valuable.
How do we stand by our principles yet immerse ourselves in learning about our culture?