Have you ever heard a church leader compare living as Christians in our present time as similar to Christians living in Babylon? To be specific, this is a direct reference to the book of Daniel and offers some very interesting lessons for us today. If you haven’t read Daniel in a while, I encourage you to do so and see firsthand what I am talking about.
One such treatment of this comparison came in a 2021 publication by Alistair Begg called Brave: By Faith. A very good read. What Begg recalls briefly in this work is something that I think deserves greater attention for us today. He reflects upon the feelings the Judean parents must have had when their children were taken from them to serve the Babylonian king. After all they had poured into them as they grew under Judean law and to have them taken captive by a foreign power must have been extremely distressing, to say the least. Amidst many painful thoughts, they must have been forced to find some peace in the fact that at least they had planted seeds of knowledge about the one true God in their children, and that this faith would carry them through. In a far less extreme example, for many of you, this is exactly why you place your children in Christian school, so that when they venture into a world that will ask them and even entice them to give something of themselves up, they will stand firm in their knowledge of their faith and confront evil face on.
Daniel and his friends seemingly lost everything. They lost their beloved land that they were raised in and on whose hills they ran around as children. They lost their language and were made to speak a new tongue. They lost their names, called by new names that suited the culture, and they were reprogrammed educationally to learn the religion and social ways of the Babylonians. Does any of this sound familiar? How much do we feel we have lost as a culture today? It does feel like Babylon at times, as things are just not the way they used to be. For those of us who are older, we can recall a time when our Christian values aligned with a great many political, social, and economic systems. Today, these values are deemed insulting even abhorrent, and we are cast aside as crazy individuals with offensive beliefs. But what we must always remember that Christianity has never been tied to a political system, party, or trendy societal norm. It has always stood alone as a faith that has been true, firm and unchanging, and it always will no matter what culture it exists in.
The one hope we all have as Christ followers is to hold fast to the things that matter and never yield, just as David did. I think there is a beautiful metaphor when we examine the one thing David refused to relent upon. They could change all these other aspects of his comfortable life, but they could not change his diet. In other words, he was willing to allow all of these other changes to occur, but was not willing to “ingest” the culture into his body. Here is where he drew his line.
Over the past two and a half years here at Westside Christian, we have had to establish many “lines” in our school, and continue to do so to this day. There were a lot of things through Covid, for example, that we had to do and were willing to do because we never viewed them as a significant enough line to draw in the sand; they never jeopardized our faith in Christ. Yet, when it comes to our standing as a Christian school, we will never ingest the teachings of this world and will remain at all times ardently aligned with biblical truth and Christ honoring values.
I pray that as you draw your lines for Christ, you do so boldly, fervently, and lovingly for His kingdom in this dark time, like Babylon.