The Daniel Dilemma


Louis Johnson, November 10, 2019

THE DANIEL DILEMMA                                  

(Daniel 1:1-7) In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. 2 And the Lord delivered Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, along with some of the articles from the temple of God. These he carried off to the temple of his god in Babylonia and put in the treasure house of his god. 3 Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, chief of his court officials, to bring into the king’s service some of the Israelites from the royal family and the nobility 4 young men without any physical defect, handsome, showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well informed, quick to understand, and qualified to serve in the king’s palace. He was to teach them the language and literature of the Babylonians. 5 The king assigned them a daily amount of food and wine from the king’s table. They were to be trained for three years, and after that they were to enter the king’s service. 6 Among those who were chosen were some from Judah: Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. 7 The chief official gave them new names: to Daniel, the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abednego.

  • Change our identity

Daniel – “God is my judge”

Belteshazzar – “Lady, protect the King”

Hananiah – “Yahweh has been gracious”

Shadrach – “I am fearful of God”

Mishael – “Who is what God is?”

Meshach – “I am despised, contemptible, and humiliated.”

Azariah – “Yahweh has helped”

Abendnego – “Servant of Nebo”

  • When culture shifts, we must know who we are.
  • Compromise our standards
  • When culture shifts, we must reaffirm our convictions.

(Daniel 1:8-14) But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way. 9 Now God had caused the official to show favor and compassion to Daniel, 10 but the official told Daniel, “I am afraid of my lord the king, who has assigned your food and drink. Why should he see you looking worse than the other young men your age? The king would then have my head because of you.” 11 Daniel then said to the guard whom the chief official had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, 12 “Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. 13 Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food, and treat your servants in accordance with what you see.” 14 So he agreed to this and tested them for ten days.

  • Create a confrontation.
  • When culture shifts, we must respond the right way.

(John 1:14) The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

Truth: God’s Standard

(John 17:17) Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.

Grace: God’s favor

(Ephesians 2:8-9 NIV) For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast.

(Ephesians 2:9 NLT) Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.

  • Without truth, we are corrupt.
  • Without grace, we are condemned.
  • Without truth, we become worldly.
  • Without grace, we become judgmental.
  • Truth without grace is mean
  • Grace without truth is meaningless.
  • Truth and grace is medicine.
  • Grace invites us to be free.
  • Truth sets us free.

(John 8:1-11 NLT) Jesus returned to the Mount of Olives, 2 but early the next morning he was back again at the Temple. A crowd soon gathered, and he sat down and taught them. 3 As he was speaking, the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in the act of adultery. They put her in front of the crowd. 4 “Teacher,” they said to Jesus, “this woman was caught in the act of adultery. 5 The law of Moses says to stone her. What do you say?” 6 They were trying to trap him into saying something they could use against him, but Jesus stooped down and wrote in the dust with his finger. 7 They kept demanding an answer, so he stood up again and said, “All right, but let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone!” 8 Then he stooped down again and wrote in the dust. 9 When the accusers heard this, they slipped away one by one, beginning with the oldest, until only Jesus was left in the middle of the crowd with the woman. 10 Then Jesus stood up again and said to the woman, “Where are your accusers? Didn’t even one of them condemn you?” 11 “No, Lord,” she said. And Jesus said, “Neither do I. Go and sin no more.”