This week, we continue with our Success in Babylon series as we study Daniel's recipe for success in a hostile environment. Last week, we saw that Daniel was given a chance to serve with God's help in Babylon, which tried to assimilate him and his friends into their culture for their own purposes. God had His own reasons for sending Daniel there, and He revealed Himself and His will in a setting where the Jewish people would never have chosen to be. Let's look at that more closely, for you also may be in a place where you question God's assignment for you at this time.
THE KING'S DREAM
“This was the dream, and now we will interpret it to the king. Your Majesty, you are the king of kings. The God of heaven has given you dominion and power and might and glory; in your hands he has placed all mankind and the beasts of the field and the birds in the sky. Wherever they live, he has made you ruler over them all. You are that head of gold" (Daniel 2:36-38).
Daniel clearly understood that God had put Nebuchadnezzar in charge, and Daniel's role was not to oppose him, but rather to serve him. Daniel has no ego that drove him to be the main leader, and he was humble enough to submit to God's choice, even though the king was not part of his culture. When I worked in prison settings, I tried to help the prisoners recognize and submit to authority, not because the authority was perfect, but because God had placed them there.
I learned this lesson once when I had a job and was placed under a man who had serious moral issues. I was young in the Lord, and not aware of my attitude, but God knew. When my finances dried up and I sought the Lord for the reason, He revealed that my lack was due to my lack of respect for my supervisor. I cried out to God, "I am serving You. Why are you picking on me? My boss it he one with the sin problem!" Yet God taught me that how I served that boss was an indication of how I would serve Him, using 1 Peter 2:18 to admonish me: "Servants, be submissive to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and gentle, but also to those who are unreasonable" (NASB). The NASB version has a footnote by the word unreasonable that indicates another acceptable translation is the word perverse. My overseer was perverse but God wanted me to serve him because God had sent me to my own Babylon. Daniel came to the same conclusion concerning his Babylon.
GOD SPOKE TO HIM
Not only did God place Nebuchadnezzar where he was, but God spoke to him and used Daniel to do so:
Daniel replied, “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. He has shown King Nebuchadnezzar what will happen in days to come. Your dream and the visions that passed through your mind as you were lying in bed are these" (Daniel 2:27-28).
If Daniel had received the dream, no one would have paid attention to it or its meaning. Because God works through leadership, however, He gave the king the dream and then the supernatural interpretation through Daniel so the king would know God had spoken to him. God not only assigns your purpose but where you will fulfill and express it. My purpose is relevant anywhere, but it is the most effective when I am in Africa. We taught the inmates to assume that they were to fulfill their purpose in prison instead of waiting until they were released to serve God. God wanted to use them (and you) to reveal His will to Babylon, and He doesn't need permission or doesn't have to explain His reasons for using anyone to do so.
When I realized that God has sent me to the place with the "perverse" supervisor, I surrendered to His will, asked Him to help me adjust my attitude, and determined I would stay there the rest of my life if that was what He wanted. Lo and behold, that job and that supervisor were my springboard to ministry. When God adjusted my perspective on leadership and His role in it, He was free to promote me to other situations where I could serve His purpose not just for the church, but also for the world at large.
Are you in Babylon? Are you chafing under the leadership of someone who is ungodly? Do you resent being there, and are holding back your gifts and purpose? If you see that God has assigned you where you are, you can thrive and prosper even in the worst of environments. When you see that God wants you to serve the leadership where you are, you are free to be used to speak to those leaders on God's behalf, and who knows, God may reveal His mysteries to you in a place not of your choosing while He works out your purpose after the fashion of His will. Have a blessed week.