Descriptive title, hm? :)
I read through the opening chapters of Daniel last night, and it made me change my view on worship a little bit. Typically I’m someone who isn’t much of a supporter of music in worship sounding like that of society today. In fact, when I hear worship that more or less resembles a parody of a popular song, I want to ralph. I’m not necessarily talking about parodies in worship, but this whole crappy singer-songwriter style. Let’s be real here folks. I’m talking about the people who dress like hobos, don’t comb their hair when they wake up, wear glasses that have no prescription, etc., and walk on stage with just an acoustic guitar. THAT style of music. Have you ever listened to the lyrics of those songs? Half of them are so dumb lyrically-speaking. Honestly. It proves how little our generation thinks. Just because words rhyme, doesn’t mean they should be used. I’m not being prejudiced against their music. I call it they way I see it. I described their appearance in honest detail and gave a pretty accurate assessment of the music. Now, back to worship…
This is showing up more and more in worship music. Artists are sounding exactly like the world. Quite frankly, some of the lyrics are just as ridiculous as a secular song. Not all, but some. Let’s leave the “some” out of this for the sake of the point I’m trying to make.
Let’s talk about Daniel. In chapter one, Nebuchadnezzar (king of Babylon) besieges Judah and orders Ashpenaz, chief of his court officials, to bring some of the Israelites from the royal family and the nobility (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) and teach them the Babylonian language and literature. The king, in turn, gave them a daily amount of food and wine from his own table. They were to train for three years, and after that enter the king’s service. Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were among the men chosen. Ashpenaz gave them new names – Belteshazzar (Daniel), Shadrach (Hananiah), Meshach (Mishael) and Abednego (Azariah).
Daniel had resolved not to eat the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to eat this food. The word specifically used in the NIV is ‘defiled.’ This could have meant that the food was forbidden by Jewish law (such as pork) or because accepting the king’s food and drink was, really, the first step in following the king and relying on him. Daniel was in the middle of a culture that didn’t obey God’s laws at all, but he was still determined to follow them himself. After asking if he could skip out on eating the food, the official said he was afraid that Daniel would begin to look sickly in comparison to the other men. If this were to happen, the official would have been put to death. Daniel said to the chief official, “Please test your servants for ten days: Give us (Daniel (Belteshazzar), Hananiah (Shadrach), Mishael (Meshach), and Azariah (Abednego)) nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. 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.” (Daniel 1:11-14)
As many of us know, at the end of the ten days they looked way better than the other guys who were piggin’ out on the king’s buffet. The Babylonians were trying to change the thinking of these men by giving them a Babylonian education, their loyalty by changing their names, and the lifestyle by changing their diet. Without compromising, Daniel found a way to live by God’s standards in a culture that had chosen to not honor God. He chose to negotiate instead of rebel. Daniel suggested an experiment. What we see is we may adjust to our culture as long as we do not compromise the commands of God.
For those of you who are like myself and don’t enjoy worship or even contemporary Christian music that heavily resembles music of our culture, perhaps we should all think again. If it isn’t blatantly going against God, then maybe we need to lighten up.
Now look at life. The Babylonians were doing everything possible to try to break down the Jews line of thinking. They were completely immersing them in Babylonian culture, yet four men were standing up to it and refusing to be swayed by their attempts. For me, this is also a story that enforces my desire to, IF and I mean IIIIIF I ever have children, put them in public schooling. Right now the only factor that would seriously sway my opinion is if the education at the closest public school wasn’t up to par. THEN I would homeschool. I refuse to keep my children (um..my ‘pretend’ children) from culture just because it doesn’t follow Christ. If my husband and I are doing our jobs as parents, then I shouldn’t have much fear for whether or not my children are going to stand up for Truth. Quite honestly, from what I see on this campus, MOST (not all) of the time I cannot believe the naivete of kids who were homeschooled for the entirety of their high school careers. Many of these kids don’t have a clue what problems the real world has. Many haven’t experienced spiritual warfare, family members who are addicts to something, homosexual friends, etc. They’ve been kept in a bubble. I will not do that to my kids. I’m so against parents who remove their children from a public school just because of the risk of sin. Eventually we have to cut the umbilical cord, folks. Why do parents fear the path their child will take? If they DISCIPLINED their children (as in, spanking. Yes, that’s completely acceptable, liberals. Get over it.), showed them adequate amounts of love, grace, and mercy, and also spoke the Truth and nothing BUT the Truth, then why worry? I have to wonder if homeschooling covers up the mistakes the parents made and not ones the child made.
Okay, I’ll get off the soapbox.
Back to my point. Get involved in culture and stand up for godly lifestyles and principles. Don’t compromise, but be sneaky. It’s possible to be a Christian in today’s world and not worry about whether or not King Nebuchadnezzar will kill you for it. ;) Unless you’re like me and have a tendency to speak your mind the minute something enters it. Plan on getting killed socially-speaking for that one. =P Or, hey, physically, depending on where you are! You never know!
Pray on, friends. :)
…especially for Japan.