May 27, 2018

What To Know Before You Go

Tribe Recap May 27, 2018 | Daniel 1:8-9 | Dan 1:14 | Dan 2:47 | Dan 4:3 | Dan 4:37

In the season of graduation, it’s good to think about what you need to know before you go.  Young Daniel watched Jerusalem being overtaken by Babylonians and found himself exported to Babylon so he could enter a system of higher learning designed to make him suitable to serve the king.

Long days of walking from Jerusalem to Babylon afforded Daniel the time to think about how he would fit in.  Daniel entered an overbearing pagan value system as a youth intimidated and outnumbered.  But Daniel stayed true to what he believed and did not comprise.

When Daniel’s authorities wanted him to eat food, which was not permitted by his beliefs, Daniel sought permission to eat vegetables instead and God granted him favor and his request was granted.

Daniel teaches us two things we need to know before we go.  First, we must make up our minds as Daniel did not to ‘defile’ himself with the habits of a foreign value system.  If our minds are not made up prior to entering a system of values that are not our own then the value system we are entering will make up our minds for us.

So Daniel was resolute.  Next Daniel sought permission; Daniel had emotional intelligence; he knew how to interact with people.  Instead of presenting himself as a rebel he negotiated a way to demonstrate that God’s ways were superior. God’s ways are higher than man’s ways and will always be found superior to someone seeking truth. 

Daniel was wise in his approach and caused an opportunity for God to grant him favor.  Wisdom leads to favor, and favor leads to influence.

When we enter a new value system we need to make up our minds about what we believe and then approach others with kindness and wisdom.  You’d be surprised how far a little favor can get you!  Daniel’s life and influence changed the course of an empire.

But it was not easy.  Over the years Daniel ended up being challenged in interpreting dreams and whether or not he would give up prayer, but in refusing to compromise God performed miracles on his behalf.  If Daniel could have read the book about his life he would have been very encouraged and he would have been filled with hope.

The book of Revelation was written to let first century Christians know that Jesus was God and that death was defeated – two things also communicated by the resurrection.  Sometimes when we are like Daniel and we are outnumbered and alone in a foreign value system, it’s good to remember that we know how the story ends.  We know which value system wins out in the end.

God’s kingdom is coming and will soon be the stone that smashes all other kingdoms to pieces.  So there is great reason to hope for those who call upon the name of the Lord.  What do you need to know before you go?  Make up your mind, approach people with wisdom, and know that the end of the story has already been written, and you will have hope, favor, and success after graduation!