The President of Babylon
Lesson 2: Respecting Authority
This is the story of how a Jewish slave boy became president in Iraq. Before God could bless him Daniel had to learn how to deal with the pressures of Babylon.
Challenge #2 – Respecting Authority
1. We are tempted to rebel against authority. (Daniel 1:12)
Daniel learned to show respect to the people who had conquered his nation. The Babylonians were cruel invaders who made three invasions of his country. Daniel was carried away captive in the first invasion. He must have struggled like everyone else over this, but with time he came to a genuine respect for Nebuchadnezzar and realized it was God who had given the Babylonian king victory over the king of Judah. His respect is shown in the way he spoke to the king. He personally cared about this heathen king.
2. It takes more than anger to change things.
Daniel experienced an authority adjustment. As Christians many times we only see unbelievers as the enemy. It’s easy to get angry and have a negative attitude toward those in authority, especially when the king’s a Babylonian. (Romans 13:1) This Scripture says that all authority comes from God. Bad government is better than no government. Daniel came to understand that it was God who had sent him to Babylon. Since the heavens rule, he has to answer the question, “Why did God send me to Babylon?” (Daniel 1:1-2) Daniel came to believe he was serving God by serving Nebuchadnezzar.
3. There’s a fine line between submission and compromise
It’s easy for us today, thousands of years later to call Daniel a prophet, but what would we have called him if we lived in a prison of war camp in Babylon? It’s easy to justify our rebellion when we’re hurting. No doubt, many Jews felt Daniel had sold out to Nebuchadnezzar and compromised his Jewish lifestyle. We know from Scripture Daniel did not compromise but developed an attitude of submission.
4. It’s never right to become a rebel.
Because of Daniel’s respect for Nebuchadnezzar, he became concerned about what was about to happen to the king. (Daniel 4:19) God had given the king a dream and warned him of the consequences of his pride. Daniel pleaded with the king to humble himself before God and avoid the impending disaster. It is easy to see why the king trusted Daniel. Disrespect for authority is a common cause for failure.
5. It’s hard to rule what we want to destroy.
It’s easy to develop a critical attitude toward people in authority. Of course those in authority fail and sometimes do wrong things. We like to focus on those things. None of this justifies our bad attitudes toward authority. One of the quickest ways we reveal our hearts is the way we talk. Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. We should beware of speaking evil of dignitaries. (II Peter 2:10) What gives us the right to criticize people who have greater things than we have?
Submission is the antidote to rebellion. How did Jesus redeem the world? By submitting to His Father’s will. Rebellion against God brought the world under God’s judgment. It was Jesus’ submission to His Father’s will, which redeemed our broken world.
Pain causes us to think life is about us and power wants us to believe life is about Nebuchadnezzar the king. But that isn’t true, life is about God and His Kingdom. Nebuchadnezzar is king, but he isn’t God!
Nebuchadnezzar was hated by many Jews, but not by Daniel. Because Daniel showed him respect, he gained influence with the king. Daniel cared about the king even though he knew Nebuchadnezzar was an idolater. (Daniel 4:27) It took time and a godly example but eventually Daniel was able to lead the king into becoming a true believer in Jehovah God. (Daniel 4:34) In fact, the fourth chapter of Daniel is the testimony of how Nebuchadnezzar became a believer. Daniel was able to influence him because he had an excellent spirit. (Daniel 6:3)
We Should Never Under Estimate the Power of One Godly Life!