As our political waters seems to be getting rougher and rougher there are few places a Christian can learn from better than the book of Daniel. Daniel is thrown into a rough environment as a “youth” when he is brought from Judah to Babylon. Daniel and his three friends are literally taken from their homeland and placed into schooling to eventually serve King Nebuchadnezzar. However tough we think the political landscape is right now it was not equivalent to what these four were dealing with.
Daniel proves though that you can both be faithful to God’s commands but also trust that God is in control of the government that is lording over you. Daniel is in exile just as you and I are as believer in Jesus. Scripture tells us that we are exiles in this world we live in (1 Peter 1:17-19). This place is not our home we are just passing through and with each passing day we get closer to going home either through death or the return of our Lord.
With this being said we can live well in exile or we can live poorly. Daniel like all other Biblical texts points us to Jesus but Daniel also gives us a blueprint for how to live well in exile. First Daniel is follower of the governmental leadership he is placed under (by God) in every aspect except those that cause him to disobey God. You will notice throughout the book that Daniel speaks calmly, gently and well in times of great crisis throughout his time in Babylon. You will notice that Daniel seems to be working for the well-being of the empire in which he is exiled which fulfills what the prophet Jeremiah says in chapter 29 verses 4-7. Daniel is not causing a violent uproar or turmoil for the nation of Babylon or its leaders. Actually, Daniel and the chief eunuch seem to have a good relationship as you read through chapter 1.
Second, Daniel is not willing to go along with the government in areas in which it violates the law of God and his conscience. In post Christian America we tend to just go along with culture no matter how it violates the laws of God or the Christian understanding of scripture throughout thousands of years of Christian teaching. We do this in the name of evangelizing the world or so we say. In reality it is just easier to go along with the world than to change the world for the Gospel! If we are honest, we are all tempted to just give in to the world like we see corporate America because it would be easier, but God never said this life would be easy. In fact, Jesus said just the opposite, didn’t he?
I challenge you to read through the book of Daniel over the next couple weeks just contemplating what it means to be a Christian in the world we live in. We are exiles and we have been ever since Genesis 3. Let us not become so comfortable with this world that we forget where our residency resides!