Paul said “faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of Christ.” It was through the word that Ezekiel saw dry bones transformed into life. How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to the word of God. I am so thankful to be at a church where I look forward to hearing the Word of God preached and exulted over every Sunday. It has been a joy to walk through Paul’s letter to the Colossians and examine the robust contours of the gospel. We have seen wisdom’s cry through the pen of Solomon in the first chapter of Proverbs. And now we are about to set out on a new journey through the book of Daniel. Are you as excited as I am?
Join us this week as Jim Hamilton opens this series with “Holiness in the Land of Shinar,” from Daniel 1:1-21. The book of Daniel begins in 605 B.C. as Babylon has conquered Jerusalem. We read in chapter one that “Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it…the LORD gave Jehoiakim, king of Judah into his hand…” Why has this happened? What would this mean for the future of the people of God? It seems the first order of business for the new king was to brainwash some of the finest young men in Israel to the Babylonian gods. He even gave these men new names representing these gods and commanded that they eat food and drink wine that symbolized their new found pagan allegiance. How will these young men respond? How would you respond?
We will see that these men will be distinct from their contemporaries. They will not defile themselves so easily. Now, the distinction in this text is not about diet or carb counts. Daniel and his three friends were pursuing holiness. This is what sets the people of God apart. Are you pursuing holiness? Is there a difference in your life, or would you be described as the typical American? How is our church displaying a distinction from the outside world? Where do we truly gain knowledge and wisdom? Daniel’s name means “God is my judge.” Is He yours? What other judges do you have in your life that you bow down to? Join us this week as we seek to let our light so shine before men that they may see our good works and glorify our Father who is in heaven.