The Story: Daniel in Exile

H-Icon_Ch18_Lion“Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to him, “King Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” – Daniel 3:16-18

This Week’s Scripture References:  Daniel 1-3, 6; Jeremiah 29-31

When have you felt like God turned you around?

Living in exile is the condition of being expelled and barred from one’s native country or homeland. The Israelites misunderstood that were a chosen people chosen by God for a purpose, not just to do whatever they wanted to do. The Israelites were living in exile. All that they knew and loved was destroyed. Imagine how the people of Israel must have felt.

Confused. Bewildered. Where is God?

“By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept when we remembered Zion. There on the poplars we hung our harps, for there our captors asked us for songs, our tormentors demanded songs of joy; they said, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!” How can we sing the songs of the Lord while in a foreign land?” – Psalm 137:1-4

“The Babylonians captured the best and brightest young people of the nation and took them far away. Daniel and his three friends were among them. They were chosen to be trained as new leaders of this foreign nation. But instead they chose to follow God’s ways, even though it was dangerous to disobey the king of Babylon.” (The Story for Children, page 157)

Daniel was a man of God: honest, hardworking, brave, disciplined, prayerful, godly, full of faith.  Daniel was known for putting God first.  He knew that no matter what he was asked to do, his first job was serving God.

Daniel’s friends study Babylonian culture and do what the king asks, but refuse to compromise their faith. Daniel is an example of the power the powerless can have. He had nothing but faith, but was able to hold onto that. Daniel was hopeful. Daniel believed in God against all the odds. Daniel could not be swayed. Daniel trusted that no matter what the circumstances we have a God who is there for us.

What can we learn from the example of Daniel?

Sometimes our faith calls us to sacrifice. We are challenged to live lives of faith, even when the cost is sacrifice. Are we willing to sacrifice? Are we willing to keep God first in our lives?

Are we willing to trust God?

“It is written on our hearts
Etched on the walls
at the core of our being
There is no escaping the reality
And yet we still ignore it
or deny it
or simply forget
‘I will be your God,
and you will be my people.’
Lord, help us to live
like the covenant people that we are.” 
(Adapted from Roger Lynn)

 

To listen to this week’s sermon,  Daniel in Exile, Sermon 1/4 in “U-Turn” The Story Mini-Series, click here! 

For Family Devotions related to this week’s message, click here!

For more information and additional resources for The Story at Faith UMC, click here!

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About faithumchurch

Spiritual Formation Director at Faith United Methodist Church in North Canton, Ohio
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