Friday, 07 July 2017 06:36

Teaching Our Children to Stand for Truth

Written by  Daniel Atkins, Taylor Road Baptist Church
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It’s summertime and one of the most popular things to do, especially in our state, is take a family vacation to the beach.  As I write this article, the threat of a tropical storm is looming in the Gulf of Mexico and, as you probably know, that makes the surf even more dangerous than usual.  One of the deadliest things about the ocean is not the sharks or the wildlife,  it is actually the undertow.  It is the rip current that lies behind the surface which will, if you do not have solid footing, suck you under the waves and drag you out to sea. 

Growing up in church, one of my favorite Bible stories was the story of Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego.  These four young men were plucked out of their homeland by the invading king of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar, and deported back to Babylon to enter into the service of the king.  Probably the biggest lesson we can learn from the lives of these four young men is that it is not easy to stand firm in a culture that is opposed to your beliefs.  There really is not much difference between ancient Babylon and 21st century America. And, honestly, it is just as hard to stand for truth today as it was then.  Take a few moments and read Daniel chapter one…go ahead!

 

Now, I want you to pay close attention to how systematically Nebuchadnezzar conquered his enemy.  He did not want to kill the young men. That would not have proven anything. That would not be flexing the muscles of his power. What did he do then?  Rather than killing them, Nebuchadnezzar’s intention was to rewire them.  Take a look back at the text!  First, Nebuchadnezzar raided the temple, stole the vessels of worship, and took them back to the temple of his god. In other words, the first step in breaking down each of these young men was convincing them that their God – the one true God, YHWH – was dead and powerless before him.  Second, Nebuchadnezzar changed their education.  These young men had been taught the Old Testament books of the Law and had, from the earliest age, been trained in the ways of obedience to God. Now, they were being inundated with Babylonian mythological pagan literature.  Next, he changed their language.  Rather than speaking Hebrew, the language of God’s people, they were taught to speak the language of the Chaldeans.  Fourth, Nebuchadnezzar changed their diet.  They were raised to obey the dietary laws of the Old Testament and to pursue holiness in what they ate. Now, they are given the king’s food which was completely against their dietary laws and which had already been dedicated to the false gods.  Fifth, and finally, Nebuchadnezzar changed their names.  Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were all Hebrew names that gave glory to the one true God.  Belteshazzar, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego were all names that gave glory and honor to the false gods of Babylon.

 

Isn’t this exactly what our culture tries to do to us?  Parents, isn’t this what our culture is trying to do to our children?  The world doesn’t want to kill our children...it wants to rewire our children.  It wants to convince our kids that our God is dead, powerless, just one among many.  The world is trying to change our children’s belief system, persuade them that there is no absolute morality, and tell them that their lives are meant to be lived in pursuit of pleasure and whatever makes them “happy.” 

 

So, what are we to do?  Well, look at verse eight.  It says, “But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself…”  Daniel and his three friends made a conscious and determined decision that they would stand firm on the truths of God’s Word and their faithfulness to Him.  This was an intentional act of the will.  It’s because of this decision, from the very beginning, that Daniel was able to stand boldly in the den of lions and his friends were able to stand boldly in the furnace of fire. 

 

We must be teaching our children by our example and by our words.  We must let them know that bowing to the world is much easier than standing firm, but one leads to death and the other leads to life.  Digging in, purposing in our hearts, is literally burying our feet in the sand so that when the undertow comes, we won’t be swept away by the world and the things of it.

 

Daniel Atkins his senior pastor of Taylor Road Baptist Church in Montgomery.

 

 

Last modified on Friday, 07 July 2017 06:56
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