Ancient Babylon was characterized by many things…wealth, power, strength, sensuality, self-indulgence…. Predominant over all of these was her devotion to idol worship. Temples. Festivals. Sacrifices. Prayers. Oaths. Idolatry heavily flavored almost every historical remnant of Babylonian culture.
When Daniel and his three friends were taken captive from Jerusalem to Babylon, they were stripped of everything Hebrew and immersed in all the best Babylon could offer. How did these adolescent boys remain convinced YAHWEH was the one, true God?
Read Genesis 1:1-2. Was there any other god present at creation?
The Babylonian story of creation, the Enuma Elish, is the oldest on historical record and would have been well known to the ancients of Chaldea.
Read Genesis 15:7. Since Abram lived in Ur of the Chaldeas until he was seventy, he likely would have known the Enuma Elish creation story, but Yahweh revealed the Truth of creation to Abram who then passed it down to his descendants through Isaac, Jacob (renamed Israel), and his twelve sons.
Jacob/Israel’s twelve sons became twelve tribes during their slavery in Egypt. Read Exodus 14:30-31. Why was it so important that the Israelites knew Yahweh was the one, true God before they left Egypt?
As nobility, Daniel and his friends would have studied Israel’s history—including their deliverance from Egypt—and were so convinced that they were willing to stake their lives on it.
Read Daniel 3
Our Hebrew heroes arrived at the image celebration already officials in Babylon. Had they relied on their positions of power, they would have bowed and kept their jobs but lost their souls. Because they relied wholly on Yahweh, they were promoted on earth and exalted in the heavenlies!
Since few cultures worship idols of wood or stone, today’s idols can be anything we rely on more than God. Like relying on a fake treasure map only to find the “treasure” is a rotten pile of bones, idols promise bigger, better, and stronger but leave us disappointed, poorer, and chained.
Jesus came to this earth to become both our Map and our Treasure—fully Man and fully God. Read the following verses and ponder Jesus—the one, true God.
In what areas of my life do I rely on something (or someone) other than God first?