Living Godly in Babylon

“But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s delicacies, nor with the wine which he drank; therefore he requested of the chief of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.” Daniel 1:8 NKJV

In the present condition of the world we live in, the book of Daniel has come alive for me. The Word of God is truly relevant for every generation and if we turn to it, we will find the life wisdom we need to navigate any situation we are ever called to face.

The book of Daniel begins with the captivity of Jerusalem under the leadership of King Nebuchadnezzar. Daniel and his three friends were among the first to be taken captive and carried away to Babylon. They were not old men but rather young men at the time of this overtaking of Jerusalem. Some believe Daniel may have been between 12-15 years of age. Just a boy in our understanding of youth today.

However, while in a foreign land, and while young, Daniel and his three friends reveal that what had been deposited in them as young ones was truly enough to keep them focused on the truth of who God was in all situations they would be called to face.

Upon arriving in Babylon Daniel and his friends would enter into a rigorous reeducation program where they would be taught the ways of Babylon and serve as wise men to the king. This reeducation would not be for the weak at heart. These young men would have to face all sorts of witchcraft, idolatry, and defilement. They would need the wisdom of God to be able to navigate through this mess and remain loyal and uncompromised in their commitment to Yahweh.

One of the first challenges they would be presented with was in the area of food. Daniel immediately makes a request to adjust the normal protocol in order to honour he and his friend’s convictions. He is granted this request. This starts Daniel’s journey in the kings service off in a good place. He puts his conviction ahead of the opinions of man which will continue to follow Daniel his entire life. The foundation of his heart was built upon the rock and despite what he would be called to face, the rock remained where his confidence was.

Daniel did not eat what everyone else was eating. He chose to refrain from certain things in order to be true to God. Daniel offers us something in this as we navigate through a modern day Babylon.

We must watch what we eat. What we allow into our lives feeds the inner person. If we put on our plate the “hate” that is roaring through the land and partake of it, we will be responding based upon what has been put in. However, if we feed on the truth of God’s Word, apply that truth to the deepest places of our lives and hunger and thirst for righteousness, the outcome of that will be lives lived in the knowledge of who God is. That will give us the strength and wisdom we need to walk through some of the present challenges but also whatever lies ahead. We need to watch what we eat. Hate will never bring life.

Daniel quickly found himself in a challenge that could cost him his life. One day the king had a dream and all the wise men of the land could not tell the king his dream or interpret it. Because Daniel did not depend on the magic or wisdom of the occult, but rather on the wisdom of God, when no one had an answer for the king, Daniel did. He went to the king and declared that while no man was able to give the king what he wanted, there was a God in heaven who was able to reveal what the king was asking.

Daniel risks everything to follow the God he knew from a young age. God never disappoints. He came through and revealed to Daniel the dream of the king and its meaning. It was another way we see Daniel walking through a wicked city with everything he needed to live a godly life and influence those around him. He trusted God’s wisdom above the wisdom of those around him.

While doing so he also remained humble and focused on God rather than his present reality. Daniel teaches us a lot in the first two chapters of this book. 1. Eat what brings life. 2. Don’t follow man’s wisdom but God’s. 3. Stay humble and keep your eyes on God rather than what is happening around you.

Daniel faced some hard days. He faced captivity, reeducation, a name change which spoke to trying to make him forget who he was and the God he served. He faced the challenge of eating differently than those around him, and he confronted witchcraft face to face. Yet, he decided to live well and true to God in an environment unsympathetic to his religious convictions.

This young man and his friends didn’t threaten anybody, they did not stage a protest, or try to burn down any buildings. They rose up and gave themselves fully to their studies, and they acted like gentlemen. They teach us that there is a way through Babylon that reveals God to a pagan city.

They refused to conform. Because they believed God, He displayed his power and wisdom.

I believe God is looking for some men and women today who will navigate through this present day Babylon with the nature and character of Christ. He is looking for men and women who will eat only that which brings life. He is looking for those who, while living in Babylon refuse to lose sight that this is not their home, and who submit to the wisdom of God above any voices that are making decrees in the land.

Let’s keep our eyes on home. It is closer than we realize.


  1. Reply
    j. holmes says:

    Yes…what is the condition of our heart? Is it hot or cold or… inprisoned or free.. or do we love or hate… are for self or for the One Who made us? Can we receive what God is saying or, is what He is telling us cramping our lifestyle? Maybe, just maybe… .we don’t know the One Who cares for us and loves us…Who has detailed us to the number of hairs on our head.

    Our response and love towards Him comes out of our intimate knowledge of Him…knowing Him and to know that we are known of Him. Daniel chose not to defile himself. Will we turn away from the Living God? Sadly, I confess, as many would….that we have not been faithful to do what we know to be right in God’s eyes. It is with a heart of sorrow…with repentance…that we come again into His Presence and are received. How very great is the mercy and grace of the Living God.

    It is amazing how the Book of Daniel speaks to our generation. Today it is miraculous how God is dealing with the nations and Israel. Prophesy in Daniel’s time and in our time speaks of an unchanging God Who truly is the same, yesterday, today, and forever. Truly, what God said yesterday is coming to pass today. Our generation is seeing the hand of Amazing God. It is good advice to “hear” what God is saying, and “to do” recognizing that He alone is above all ….King of kings, and Lord of lords….Who holds eternity in His hands. He holds your life in His hand.

    Even as Daniel was in Babylon, we…like Daniel….are in the World. We are not of the world, but are citizens of heaven in a foreign land….are ambassadors of Christ. The world is not our home. As Daniel longed for Jersualem, we too long for that new city of Jersualem.

    We recognize the fight as spiritual….the opinions of man verses God’s thoughts and His desire for us to live by. We are what we eat. Will we drink and eat the spiritual food that God has provided for us or will the world’s enticements draw us away from God. Will truth and love or will deception and hate be our portion? Will we walk by faith (in God) and not by sight (not by all the crazy stuff going on around us) (2Cor.5:7). Outside pressure to conform to this world is great, but greater is He in us, than he that is in the world. Jesus is the Way…our compass for today. Jesus is the Wisdom of God. (1Cor.1:24) Our life is hid in Christ, in God. (Col.3:3) We are then open letters to be read by all men. (2Cor.3:2)

  2. Reply
    Sue Holmes says:

    Living Godly in Babylon
    I have found that ‘living Godly’ can be a feat not easily accomplished except for the first six words mentioned in the study … “But Daniel purposed in his heart”. I cannot speak for anyone else, but I have turned falling flat on my face in my attempts to live Godly into a work of art. This hasn’t been a track record to be proud of.
    Several things come to mind. The first word … ‘But”. This indicates a stop … stop and change course. The new path on which we follow God isn’t necessarily going to be an easy path. It wasn’t for Daniel & it won’t be for us. But Daniel purposed in his heart.
    Daniel chose the actions of so many others in God’s hall of fame. Isaiah chose to set his face like flint. “Because the Sovereign LORD helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore have I set my face like flint, and I know I will not be put to shame.” (Isaiah 50:7)
    Christ set the ultimate example when it came to walking down the most difficult paths He had to face. “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider Him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.”
    Daniel purposed in his heart. Isaiah set his face like flint”. Christ endured the cross for the joy set before Him”. With such worthy examples what is Sue to do except to purpose in my heart to set my face like flint & endure my cross as I walk through my present day Babylon.
    The seat of Daniel’s purpose is another clue to being able to walk through this present day Babylon in a Godly manner. He purposed in his heart. Why is it so important that I purpose in my heart rather than to simply ‘make up my mind’. Christ has the answer once again. “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” What is my treasure? What is the one ‘thing’ I cannot live without? What or Who will sustain me to & through eternity … making my heart quicken? What grabs my heart & fills it with passion is what will discipline & propel me towards life eternal.
    It is interesting that Daniel & his friends are from Judah. The Hebrew name for Judah is translated “thanksgiving” or “praise”. That these boys could make the stand that they did indicates that they knew their God. Their life may very well have been a life of thanksgiving & praise. My favourite verse from the book of Daniel is “the people who know their God shall prove themselves strong {and} shall stand firm and do exploits [for God]” … (Dan 11:32).
    Watch What You Eat: In our present Babylon our ‘food’ needs to be God’s Word first and foremost. What is the first thing I go to when I start my day … and when I end it? Scripture tells me that “the milk of the Word” is essential for growth but I need to go on to solid food or “the meat of the Word” in order to reach maturity in Christ. Experience tells me that if I don’t stand firm on God’s Word that the potential is there to fall for anything that the enemy throws my way to draw me off track.

    What I eat will determine the amount & source of wisdom in my life. “But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.” (James 3:17)
    So with eternity with God & the New Jerusalem as the treasures set ahead of me, a strict diet is in order as I make my way through this Babylon. Taking what goes in from the table the world offers won’t do. Our God has prepared a table for us & on that table is everything we need.
    “For His divine power has bestowed on us [absolutely] everything necessary for [a dynamic spiritual] life and godliness, through true and personal knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.” (2 Peter 1:3)
    Daniel & friends displayed that dynamic spiritual life with the discipline & purpose needed. My challenge is to …
    Dare to be a Daniel
    Dare to stand alone
    Dare to have a purpose firm
    Dare to make it known.

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