Daniel Series: Week 1 – Thriving in Babylon

“Not of this world: BE DIFFERENT!

By Pastor John Decker, September 10, 2023

Scripture: Daniel 1:1-21

  • Author: Daniel
  • Date of writing: 536- 530 B.C.
  • The book covers the 70 yr. Captivity of the Jews in Babylon; 605 B.C. to 536 B.C.
  • This was prophesied in Jeremiah 25:11

The Big Idea: To make a difference you have to BE different!


Those who are wise will shine as bright as the sky, and those who lead many to righteousness will shine like the stars forever. Daniel 12:3 (NLT)

Daniel 1:1-4 (NLT) During the third year of King Jehoiakim’s reign in Judah,King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. 2 The Lord gave him victory over King Jehoiakim of Judah and permitted him to take some of the sacred objects from the Temple of God. So Nebuchadnezzar took them back to the land of Babylonia and placed them in the treasure-house of his god. 3 Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, his chief of staff, to bring to the palace some of the young men of Judah’s royal family and other noble families, who had been brought to Babylon as captives. 4 “Select only strong, healthy, and good-looking young men,” he said. “Make sure they are well versed in every branch of learning, are gifted with knowledge and good judgment, and are suited to serve in the royal palace. Train these young men in the language and literature of Babylon.”

Babylon was a powerful kingdom in the 6th Century B.C. that existed in the area known today as Iraq. Babylon is also used as symbolism for the spiritual kingdom which is in opposition to God.
King Nebuchadnezzar changed Daniel and his three friends Hebrew names…Satan always tries to steal your identity.
  • DANIEL:God is my judge to Belteshazzar = Baal protects the king.
  • HANANIAH:God is gracious to Shadrach = Under the command of Aku the moon god.
  • MISHAEL:There is none like God to Meshach = There is none like Aku the moon god.
  • AZARIAH:God has helped me to Abed-Nego = The servant of Nebo the god of wisdom.

Daniel 1:8-21 (NLT) But Daniel was determined not to defile himself by eating the food and wine given to them by the king. He asked the chief of staff for permission not to eat these unacceptable foods. 9 Now God had given the chief of staff both respect and affection for Daniel. 10 But he responded, “I am afraid of my lord the king, who has ordered that you eat this food and wine. If you become pale and thin compared to the other youths your age, I am afraid the king will have me beheaded.”

11 Daniel spoke with the attendant who had been appointed by the chief of staff to look after Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael,and Azariah. 12 “Please test us for ten days on a diet of vegetables and water,” Daniel said. 13 “At the end of the ten days, see how we look compared to the other young men who are eating the king’s food. Then make your decision in light of what you see.” 14 The attendant agreed to Daniel’s suggestion and tested them for ten days.

15 At the end of the ten days, Daniel and his three friends looked healthier and better nourished than the young men who had been eating the food assigned by the king. 16 So after that, the attendant fed them only vegetables instead of the food and wine provided for the others.

17 God gave these four young men an unusual aptitude for understanding every aspect of literature and wisdom. And God gave Daniel the special ability to interpret the meanings of visions and dreams.

18 When the training period ordered by the king was completed, the chief of staff brought all the young men to King Nebuchadnezzar. 19 The king talked with them, and no one impressed him as much as Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. So they entered the royal service. 20 Whenever the king consulted them in any matter requiring wisdom and balanced judgment, he found them ten times more capable than any of the magicians and enchanters in his entire kingdom.

21 Daniel remained in the royal service until the first year of the reign of King Cyrus.

Those who honer GOD, GOD honors.


  1. We show we are different by living according to different values.


  • Money
  • Sex
  • Power
  1. We show we are different by refusing to compromise our integrity.
  • Daniel was determined not to defile himself… Daniel 1:8 NLT
  • Abstaining from the king’s table may cost you.
  1. We show we are different by conforming to scripture, not to the culture.

Don’t copy the behavior, and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. Romans 12:2 (NLT)

  • Marriage
  • Gender
  • Abortion
  • Oppression

We, the church, need NOT care what side of history we are on; we need to care what side of Jesus we’re on!

We won’t make a difference unless we are different.

Jesus Christ is calling us to be SALT & LIGHT!

Matthew 5:13-20 (NLT) 13 “You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless.

14 “You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. 15 No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.

17 “Don’t misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to accomplish their purpose. 18 I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not even the smallest detail of God’s law will disappear until its purpose is achieved. 19 So if you ignore the least commandment and teach others to do the same, you will be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But anyone who obeys God’s laws and teaches them will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven.

20 “But I warn you—unless your righteousness is better than the righteousness of the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven!

God has called us to not only live and survive in our Babylon – He has called us to THRIVE in Babylon!

Question: Are you willing to be different to make that difference?

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