Sunday, March 08, 2009

So I was wondering why the Spirit lead me to study Daniel after reading the book unChristian..... I think, at least in part, I am beginning to understand. As I was reading the first 5 chapters of this letter, my camera angle moved from Daniel to King Nebuchadnezzar. I am beginning to believe one of the main purposes of Daniel and his friends was to be a light to Nebuchadnezzar; the leader of the most powerful nation at his time.

How did they do it? What where their methods? What can I learn on how to evangelize people around me that are not in particular seeking God?

A little background..... When Daniel was deported from Israel he was put in a 3 year development program (see chapter 1). It was in this setting that he "resolved" not to eat the king's meat or drink his wine because, as a God follower, it would defile him in some way. That commitment was privately made between Daniel, his friends (Rack, Shach and Bennie - thanks Veggie Tales) and the head of program.

One year into this development program, King Nebuchadnezzar had a dream that no one could tell him what the dream or the interpretation was. The lack of response moved the King to order that all the sorcerers and astrologers be killed; including those in training (i.e. Daniel and his friends). Long story short, Daniel was able to tell the king his dream and was elevated to ruler over the province of Babylon. Daniel's testimony to the King was: "No wise man, enchanter, magician or diviner can explain to the king the mystery he has asked about, but there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries." (Dan 2:27, 28) Nebuchadnezzar's response to God revealing this dream through Daniel? "Surely your God is the God of gods and the Lord of kings and a revealer of mysteries, for you were able to reveal this mystery." (Dan 2:47).

Not too much later, Rack, Shach and Bennie found themselves in a position where they were required to bow down to an idol Nebuchadnezzar set up. They didn't and found themselves in in a fiery furnace. Before they went in, they told the king: "O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up." (Dan 3:16-18) The king watched as Rack, Shach and Bennie were saved by God and responded: "Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who has sent his angel and rescued his servants! They trusted in him and defied the king's command and were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God. Therefore I decree that the people of any nation or language who say anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego be cut into pieces and their houses be turned into piles of rubble, for no other god can save in this way." (Dan 3:28-29)

What methods did Daniel and his friends use in their processing with Nebuchadnezzar? What tactics? I think that I can summarize their methods in this way - they showed up when called on. They didn't strategize how to "get into see the king", they didn't have a special sermon prepared, they really didn't even talk about the love or grace of God, they just lived out their faith, they really were not even trying to be his friend. They showed up when called and pointed to God as their God, their provider and their protector. They followed after God and obeyed Him. HE put them in situations where they were to testify of Him. HE put them in circumstances that required them to act out their faith. They had to obey and testify about God. God took care of the rest..........

What is my responsibility in the process of evangelism? First, I have to have and live, moment by moment, the kind of faith that Daniel and his friends had then I put myself in a position that God can use me. Then I have to show up when and where God calls or places me. I mean REALLY show up. Not just be there, but be ready to, in whatever circumstances I find myself, testify of power, the goodness and the glory of God. That is my responsibility; that is my charge.

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