Good Morning Beloved Family,
I'm so thankful for each of you joining us.
Those of you here for the first time, I pray you will return.
And that each of you, will be blessed by God's Word for us today.
It is in consistent study of Your written Word, and under the spiritual guidance of Your Holy Spirit that helps me to go deeper in my understanding. I am reminded, that the real power and authority is not in the influence of men, but with You Almighty God. A reminder, that has served me well, and rescued me from many dangers over the years, where I nearly found myself seeking the authority of men, for a brief moment, setting aside my full obedience and trust in You.
Your true Sovereign Authority gives it all, but only to the degree that You reign within us, for the sake of Your people. Your people, who You have called to change the course and the direction of the world, this is the difference between us and the rest of the world, who continue to live in denial and confusion. Help us to live an uncompromising life.
Though we are so privileged to live in the greatest of times, bearing witness to the events prophesied in Your Word, there are also challenging times, for us Lord. Being filled with Your Holy Spirit, we have the strong sense we do not belong here, oh how we wait, weeping, anticipating and longing for Your glorious return to call us home. Your influence is being felt in every one of us today, You alone are worthy of the honor and glory we give to You today.
These we ask and pray in Your precious name,
Today's Message is called: A Clear Vision in a Confused World.
"But Daniel made up his mind that he would not defile himself with the king’s choice food or with the wine which he drank; so he sought permission from the commander of the officials that he might not defile himself. Now God granted Daniel favor and compassion in the sight of the commander of the officials, and the commander of the officials said to Daniel, “I am afraid of my lord the king, who has appointed your food and your drink; for why should he see your faces looking more haggard than the youths who are your own age? Then you would make me forfeit my head to the king.” But Daniel said to the overseer whom the commander of the officials had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, “Please test your servants for ten days, and let us be given some vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then let our appearance be observed in your presence and the appearance of the youths who are eating the king’s choice food; and deal with your servants according to what you see."
Now in the year 605 BC, a young crown prince of the Babylonian Empire became commander and chief of the armies of Babylon. In the spring of that year he marched his armies through Egypt and Assyria conquering everyone and everything that crossed his path. He continued marching those armies through Syria and Palestine claiming victory after victory.
Following his first invasion of Judah and siege of Jerusalem in 606 B. C., King Nebuchadnezzar took hostage dozens of quality Jewish youths, who were probably in their teenage years, to help ensure the success of his long-range plans for world dominance. Daniel, who was one of those youths was especially destined for greatness, and today his name is synonymous with integrity and an uncompromising spirit!
This crowned prince, now King of Babylon, accepted the total surrender of King Jehoiachin, King of Judah and Jerusalem. This King would go on to reign over the most powerful empire in the world for the next forty three years...his name, Nebuchadnezzar. During his reign, Nebuchadnezzar helped build the city of Babylon into the most formidable fortress city the world had ever known
Babylon, a rectangular shaped city was rising impressively above the desert in the land we now know today as Iraq. The mighty Euphrates river flowed from north to south right through the center of the city. The city was surrounded by fifty miles of double walls. The inner wall was twenty one feet thick and three hundred feet tall. The outer wall was eleven feet thick and three hundred feet tall. Both of these walls were reinforced by 420 foot tall towers that were spaced at 60 foot intervals around the entire circumference of the city. The waters of the Euphrates were diverted to form a moat around these mighty walls. The city had eight gates in all, each were very impressive, but the most notable was the Ishtar gate. This gate was unlike all the others, as it was not constructed of stone, but of beautiful lazuli blue tile. A deep-blue metamorphic rock, a semi-precious stone that has been prized since antiquity for its intense color.
Now, I am certain, that most of us would not argue that we live in a world of compromise. In fact, compromise in our fallen world, is often considered to be a virtue; it's considered reasonable, and diplomatic. However, on the other hand, those who hold fast their integrity are viewed as difficult, unwavering, even hard-nosed, and unconcerned about the common good of all people. You can certainly understand how the world thinks that way, but shouldn't Christians be different? After all, we aren't called to be set apart?
Sadly, many believers have taken the position of compromise. Fearing that if they take a stand on godly principles, it may be offensive to others. Unfortunately, more concerned about what people will think of them, and giving little to no consideration of what God will think.
If you or someone you know, happen to be one of those faint-hearted Christians, I would encourage you to listen carefully to today's message. To take a lesson from the life of one man, by the name of Daniel, a God fearing man with backbone!
You would not expect to find a beautiful forest covered mountain in the middle of a fortress city, but there it was just beyond Ishtar gate, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon.
Nebuchadnezzar had built this garden for his homesick queen. In the center of the city was a beautiful bridge supported by brick pillars linking the old part of the city to the new. Towering over this bridge was a massive thirty story building called the ziggurat. At the top of the ziggurat was a temple devoted to one of their many notable gods, Marduk. Now, in that period of time, there was no city on earth as impressive or spectacular as the city of Babylon.
What I find most interesting is...in the Ancient Akkadian language, Babylon means, "The Gateway of the gods." And that would certainly be the impression one would have likely gotten upon seeing this spectacular city.....the city of Babylon looked like a Gateway to the Heavens.
Yet in the Hebrew language, Babylon means something entirely different....it literally means 'confused.'
Just keep that in mind, as we proceed with the study of today's message!
It certainly wasn't captivity that tested Daniel's integrity, it was privilege. These youths were to be without defect, good looking, "having shown intelligence in every branch of wisdom, endowed with understanding and discerning knowledge," with the ability to serve in the king's court. They were to receive privileged instruction for privileged positions. The king ordered Ashpenaz "to teach them the literature and language of the Chaldeans" including mathematics, astronomy, natural history, agriculture, and architecture. And they were to eat, the kings food, drink the king's wine, and after three years, they were to have a guaranteed position in the king's personal service. For it was the custom of King Nebuchadnezzar to take the finest things of every land he conquered and bring those things to his palace, this included people.
These four boys were of royal blood. They were the strongest, healthiest, and the best looking young men in all of the kingdom of Judah. And wise beyond their years.
Daniel didn't argue with the training, the education, or even when Ashpenaz named him Belteshazzar, after a Chaldean god. Daniel did however, drew the line where the Scripture did. He wouldn't eat the king's food or drink the king's drink! For those enticing morsels of food and drink, which were all perks of the king's service, had been ritually dedicated to Babylon's false gods. And moreover, a violation of God's laws concerning unclean foods. If you're not familiar with them, you can certainly read on your own, in Leviticus, chapters seven and eleven.
Being a form of idolatry, Daniel wanted no part of it. Daniel insisted on no participation, even to the slightest degree, in any pagan feast. Daniel was aware, that would provoke the wrath of a jealous God. You can read about that in Exodus chapter twenty. However, his decision regarding food and drink, would ultimately end with a decision about the God, who he worshiped.
Daniel's decision, was one of genuine integrity and constitutes the uncompromising life of a believer.
However, Daniel's uncompromising life and values stand in sharp contrast today to the way many wavering believers live out their convictions, with their ambiguous explanations for abstaining from certain secular activities in attempt to "fit in" with a fallen world.
It's important to mention, that Daniel, who wanted to abstain from pagan value and tradition, by eating and drinking what the king provided, he could have gone about it by simply throwing it away, when no one was looking, he could have even attempted to make arrangements with the kitchen staff to have food sneaked in. He could have possibly started a vegetable garden outside.
But Daniel, a God fearing youth, of integrity, made up his mind, chose the honest route of open boldness and request permission. Beloved, that is integrity, unwavering conviction and courage. That is refusing to compromise on what is biblical. And sadly, that is something, we rarely see in many Christians today. We must take a stand for what is biblical, found in Scripture, we must stand in defense of the Gospel, the Word of God. We must ultimately take a stand, for God.
God granted Daniel favor and compassion in the sight of the commander of the officials, even though Daniel found himself, in a foreign country, in the very heart of the empire that had just destroyed his homeland. Daniel, having taken an compromising stand for God, had been given earthly protection by God.
What can we learn from Daniel's story?
That if we will stand firm, submit in obedience to God's Word and trust Him that He will take care of us!
Nebuchadnezzar had plans for these boys.
Nebuchadnezzar said, I need just three years with these boys and they will be Babylonians!
Three years teaching them.
Three years showing them the wonders of Babylon.
Three years showing them how to worship the gods of Babylon.
Yet as Daniel was sitting down to his very first meal in the kings palace, he made a decision that would come to define his years in Babylon....
Daniel was presented with a choice.
In his boldness, Daniel didn't hesitate to go right to the top. But when Ashpenaz feared the forfeiture of his head for granting the special menu, Daniel was not deterred. Daniel appealed to a lower-ranking man, a man who would not be as afraid of Nebuchadnezzar since he didn't report directly to the king.
Daniel was a young Hebrew boy.
He wasn't about to transfer his citizenship.
Daniel had been brought up in the city of Jerusalem.
I find it very interesting that.....
The name of Daniel's hometown, Jerusalem, literally means 'foundation' or 'city of God.'
Daniel was now living in the "gateway of the gods"....
However, Daniel had been raised in the City of God!
Daniel displayed integrity: The character of persistence, and in doing what is right!
He also demonstrated trust in God, unwavering and uncompromising faith in God to take care of him. It is my belief, that all true Christians should show the same fortitude in the midst of trials.
For many people today, this would have been a confusing time. And sadly, likely a time of compromise.
Here Daniel, was in the most beautiful and powerful city in the world....he was surrounded by many gods. Everything and everybody at his beck and call. Most people in our culture today, would give anything to find themselves, in such circumstances.
But not Daniel. Daniel had come from a city whose builder and maker was God.
Daniel had come from a city whose foundation was the One true God!
No, this certainly was not a confusing time for Daniel. He had clarity!
Daniel had a clear vision of who he was.
He had a clear vision of Who his God was!
So, how was Daniel able to do this?
If you will recall, earlier on, I stated that the Hebrew meaning of Babylon is "confused."
The Chaldeans viewed their city as the 'gateway of the gods', but Daniel viewed Babylon as confused.
When Daniel looked at Babylon, he didn't see all the wealth, wonder and attractions....Daniel saw only confusion. Daniel understood that these Chaldeans, were confused by many different gods.
They were confused by all of the 'attractions', or should I call them distractions!
Much like many today, are distracted by the world's appealing temptations, lucrative opportunities, trying to gain wealth, status and power. But ultimately, losing their soul...
They serve many gods, false gods, the universe, they worship many idols, all the while losing their soul.
From his very first meal, in Babylon, Daniel was establishing a clear, distinct pattern by which he was going to live.
Oh beloved, Daniel was not at all confused, he was steadfast and sure.
Three times a day, Daniel turned away from the gateway of the gods, and turned toward the city of God and prayed to the One True God.
Three times a day this reminded Daniel who he was and where he came from.
Three times a day this reminded Daniel that Babylon was not his home, he was just passing through.
Never before, has there been in the history of mankind that the world had so much to offer. The world has a lot of good things to offer, but it also has a lot of bad. What we need today is a clear vision in a confused world.
Satan, the father of lies, the author of deceit, has come down to the earth, and he is consistently working to blur the lines between good and evil. The things that separate God's church from the confused world. Beloved, whether good or bad, anything that distracts you from God is a bad thing!
It is my prayer today, that we would each take a lesson, from this young Hebrew boy, Daniel.
That we would become steadfast and sure, in our faith, our trust in God, no matter what circumstances, we find ourselves in..
and understand, this is not our home, we too are just passing through!
Like Daniel, we are all faced with a choice.. I choose to trust God!
What about you?
And now may the Lord bless you and keep you;
the Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;
The Lord lift up His countenance upon you,
And give you peace.
Now and forever, in Jesus' name
Brian Monzon Ministries