Rev. Trevor Johnston and Billy Langley
Week 1: Welcome to Babylon
- Icebreaker question: Have you ever experienced a culture different from your own? If so, how did the experience change your perspective or world view?
- Try to memorize the series theme verse–2 Peter 1:4-Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
- Read Daniel 1: 1-18—In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it.// 2 And the Lord delivered Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, along with some of the articles from the temple of God. These he carried off to the temple of his god in Babylonia and put in the treasure house of his god. // 3 Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, chief of his court officials, to bring into the king’s service some of the Israelites from the royal family and the nobility—//4 young men without any physical defect, handsome, showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well informed, quick to understand, and qualified to serve in the king’s palace. He was to teach them the language and literature of the Babylonians.[b// 5 The king assigned them a daily amount of food and wine from the king’s table. They were to be trained for three years, and after that they were to enter the king’s service. // 6 Among those who were chosen were some from Judah: Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah.// 7 The chief official gave them new names: to Daniel, the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abednego.// 8 But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way. // 9 Now God had caused the official to show favor and compassion to Daniel, // 10 but the official told Daniel, “I am afraid of my lord the king, who has assigned your[c] food and drink. Why should he see you looking worse than the other young men your age? The king would then have my head because of you.”// 11 Daniel then said to the guard whom the chief official had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, // 12 “Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. // 13 Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food, and treat your servants in accordance with what you see.// 14 So he agreed to this and tested them for ten days.// 15 At the end of the ten days they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food.// 16 So the guard took away their choice food and the wine they were to drink and gave them vegetables instead. // 17 To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds. // 18 At the end of the time set by the king to bring them into his service, the chief official presented them to Nebuchadnezzar.
- What thoughts or questions come to mind as you read this passage?
- Culture can be defined as how a particular group of people view the world, and how that view impacts everything from food and art to work and social interactions. In what ways can culture be good or beneficial?
- Like Daniel, we are to engage culture without comprising our faith. What are some spiritual tools and practices that can help us navigate challenging situations.
- Read 2 Chronicles 16:9 a: For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. What are some other examples of “precious promises” in Scripture that can encourage those struggling to conform to culture rather than God’s word?
- How have you experienced God’s faithfulness when you’ve gone “against the current” of culture?
- Holiness can sometimes feel like simply a list of “do’s and don’ts” but John 17:19 provides a different picture. What do you think Jesus meant when he said, “For them, I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified”?