Death by Assimilation

I’m preaching on Daniel 1:8-21 tomorrow, the story of how Daniel and his friends refused to eat the food from the King’s table. It never occured to me until my study this week what was really going on here.
Daniel and the rest of the exiles were being completely assimilated into Babylonian Culture – wiping away any distinctive cultural, religious, moral character that so defined them as the people of God. When Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were brought into the King’s service, they were given new names, mocking their God and erasing their identity. They were taught the language and morals of the Babylonians, so they would either forget or blend their faith with that of their new surroundings. They were even fed directly from the King, so they would come to see that they depended on him, not God, for their daily bread. It was death by assimilation.
I see the same thing happening in the church today. We are bombarded with the demands to be “relevant” that we reduce the life-saving power of the gospel to moral insights and tips to better living. Our faith gets blended, by default or design, with our pluralistic, politically correct culture until we forget the one name that has been given to us by which we must be saved (Acts 4:12). We have become so successful and so self-sufficient that we rarely depend on God for our daily bread – let alone for success in mission and evangelism (how many church growth models begin with broken, heartfelt supplication before the throne of God?).
I’m praying that we can catch a glimpse of Daniel’s undefiled spirit in the church today – casting off the worldliness that clings to us like filthy rags, and taking up the new life given to us in Christ Jesus our Lord. Only that kind of distinctive, Spirit-led life is what will draw others to know and love the Lord.
May God be glorified as I proclaim His Word tomorrow!

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About reveds

Occupation: Pastor, Ebenezer Presbyterian Church, Lennox, SD Education: BS - Christian Education, Sterling College; MDiv. - Princeton Theological Seminary Family: Married, with Four children. Hobbies: Running (will someday run a marathon), Sci-Fi (especially Doctor Who and Sherlock), Theater, and anything else my kids will let me do.
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One Response to Death by Assimilation

  1. In the words of Derek Webb:

    “i repent of trading truth for false unity/i repent of confusing peace and idolatry /of caring more of what they think than what i know of what they need /and domesticating You until You look just like me ”

    A good, thoughtful, prayerful post. Thanks.

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