For millions of people throughout the world, 2020 has become the year when we have a long list of things we can’t do, rather than what we can do. Daniel and his three friends knew what that was like. Taken from their home, their temple, their land and their culture, they were now in exile in Babylon. But they didn’t focus on what they couldn’t do – they prospered.
Read Daniel 1:3–5.
What are some of the things that Daniel and his friends could not do anymore?
What do you think they missed the most?
It’s pretty safe to say Daniel and his friends were:
- In a place they didn’t want to be
- Doing things they didn’t want to do, in order to
- Fulfil a role they didn’t want to fulfil
- Obeying an authority they did not want to submit to.
Most likely they learnt Arabic and studied astrology and dream interpretation. They would have learnt about the Babylonian gods. They dressed like the Babylonians and ate like the Babylonians. This was not their choice. It was forced upon them.
How do you think you would have responded if you were in that situation?
Read Daniel 1:18–20.
It is clear that Daniel and his friends ‘prospered’ in Babylon. Not only did they do what they were told, but they also excelled! That’s because they knew what God had instructed them to do through the prophet Jeremiah.
Read Jeremiah 29:7.
Daniel and his friends did the best they could in the situation that they found themselves in. They increased and prospered.
What does ‘prospering’ look like for you in 2020, especially under COVID-19 restrictions?
A few years ago I left parish ministry to follow another career path. Things didn’t quite work out the way I had hoped. There was a time when I was working in whatever job I could find, including three months as a courier and about a year as a builder’s labourer.
It wasn’t what I really wanted to be doing and so each morning I would pray something like, ‘Lord, this is where I find myself today. Help me to be the best courier I can be today’, or ‘Help me to be the best builder’s labourer I can be today’.
It seems natural to focus on what we are not allowed to do, or what can’t happen. Daniel and his friends followed God’s call to focus on what they could do and to do their best.
Read Daniel 1:17.
Why did Daniel and his friends prosper so well in the service of the king of Babylon?
Where will your ability to prosper in tough situations come from?
It was never easy for Daniel and his friends in Babylon. They relied on God’s strength and held on to his promises.
Read Jeremiah 29:10–11.
What do you think Daniel and his friends found encouraging in these promises?
Daniel and his friends never left Babylon. They lived out their lives far from their home, their land and their culture. But God never left them and that’s why they were able to prosper in exile.
Pastor Michael Dutschke is parish pastor at Grace Lutheran Church in Bridgewater, South Australia. He also runs prophetic ministry workshops under the banner of ‘Adventurous Discipleship’.
This feature story comes from The Lutheran August 2020. Visit the website to find out more about The Lutheran or to subscribe.
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