The President of Babylon
Lesson 3: Overcoming Compromise
This is the story of how a Jewish slave boy became president in Iraq. For God to bless Daniel he had to overcome the pleasures of Babylon. (Daniel 1:20)
Challenge #3 – Overcoming Compromise
The question is how do we find our place in Babylon without allowing Babylon to find its place in us? Or how do we win, without cheating? (Proverbs 11:3) This verse tells us the “integrity” of the upright will guide them but the “perversity” of the ungodly will destroy them. There are too many Christians who live by the worldly philosophy that the end justifies the means. That’s not true. The word “integrity” comes from the word to be whole or complete. Too many Christians have lost their integrity on the altar of expediency.
1. God began to bless Daniel and his friends.
God blessed them because of their integrity and their work ethic. When God blesses us it produces another temptation; what will we do with God’s blessings? God loves to bless His children, but many people fall in love with the blessings rather than the one who blessed them.
2. Daniel was tempted to compromise his convictions.
A change of diet seems such a harmless thing. (Daniel 1:8) Compromise almost always begins with something small, but if we don’t stand for something, we’ll fall for anything. In our desire to be accepted and successful we’re tempted to compromise what we believe. But instead of following the world God has called us to be examples and to lead.
3. Daniel’s strong inner convictions overcame the outer pressures to compromise.
The life within us must be greater than the forces from without. God-honoring convictions will be blessed with God-given rewards. Because of their godly convictions, Daniel and his friends were elevated to new levels of authority. (Daniel 2:48-49) This didn’t make life easier for them, because there’ll always be those who are jealous of God’s blessings on our lives. (Daniel 6:3-4) Their enemies brought racial accusations against them. Babylonians don’t love Jews.
Our ability to handle God’s blessings and man’s injustice is directly related to our relationship with God. Do we truly believe the things we say we believe? If we do, we will consistently live them. Babylon tried to give Daniel a new identity. (Daniel 1:7) They gave him the Babylonian name of Belteshazzar. Though the Babylonians called him this new name, he refused to call himself by it. He always referred to himself as Daniel. We must not allow the world to squeeze us into its mold. (Romans 12:1-2) The only way to avoid being conformed to this world is to be transformed by the renewing of our minds by the Word of God.
Integrity is the antidote to compromise. If we have integrity we will overcome the temptations of the world. The world system with its worldly pleasures tries to make us believe life is about Babylon, but that’s not true. Life is about God and His Kingdom! Assimilation isn’t the answer. Billy Graham said it so well, “The world has become so churchy and the church so worldly, it’s hard to tell the difference.”
4. Compromise will weaken our testimony.
When we have become like Babylon, we’ve ceased to be like Christ. The Jews were tempted to change their names and to fit in with Babylon. But the ones who did lost their identity and their testimony. No one was interested in what they had to say because they had no integrity.
If Daniel had compromised his convictions he would’ve lost credibility with the king. We should beware of changing colors like a chameleon. If we do people never know what to expect from us.
Nebuchadnezzar had a dream, which was driving him crazy. He knew this dream was important but he couldn’t understand its meaning. He didn’t trust his counselors to tell him the truth. He needed someone he could trust who knew God and could interpret dreams. Our world is in a similar predicament today. They don’t know whom they can trust. They need an interpreter to help them understand their dreams.
God works best in seemingly impossible situations. Like Daniel and his friends we learn the best thing to do when we don’t know what to do is pray. When God answered their prayer, Daniel gave all the credit to God for revealing the king’s secret dream. There was no room for the pride of man; all the praise belonged to God.
Because Daniel Honored God, God Honored Daniel!