Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Daniel - Session 1

I just previewed the Session 1 video from Beth Moore's Daniel study!  I am very excited about it and can hardly wait for the rest of the ladies in the group to see it.  I am so thrilled to be a part of this study and hope the ladies who join me are going to be just as excited to dig deep into God's Word!

I have thought alot about how I would blog about this study and still am not entirely sure how I want to go about this.  I suppose I will take the advice of the other study I am in, Experiencing God - pray and wait, watch to see what happens next!  So I suppose I will simply write about the things that spoke to me the most, sort of the Ah-ha moments of the session.  If I am learning anything from the Experiencing God study it is that those Ah-ha moments are the Holy Spirit!  The more I learn, the more I grow, praise God!

I know that there may be a few people who find this little blog that will not be in the study and therefore not have the workbook.  I hope that I can provide information that is true to the study of the book of Daniel so that you can all learn, with or without the workbook.  That being said, if you are following this blog, I highly recommend you get the workbook.  It will only enrich your study of the Word of God in the book of Daniel.  This is also a perfect opportunity for me to state that I have to give credit to Beth Moore and her study for all the blog posts I will be making.  She is certainly guided by the Holy Spirit and many of the things I will be writing about will come from her, in some cases directly quoting her.  So let's get to it, shall we...

Session 1
The first half of the study will be lessons on character and integrity while the second half is studying prophecy and end time events. This first session is partly an intoduction to the study and also jumps right into the first chapter of Daniel.

Babylon represents the enemy
One of the many things I like about Beth Moore is how she makes the Bible relevant to us in our time.  She made is very clear how Babylon represents our world.  She started by taking us back to Genesis 11 to show how God took Abraham out of "Ur of Chaldeans" which is also Babylon.  However, later in Daniel's time they had been brought back into captivity in Babylon.  Therefore Babylon is a representation of what the enemy wants to do with us.  He wants us back, he wants to bring us back from where God leads us, back to the pit of despair. 

Babylon represents our society
Babylon also represents our society in many ways.  Isaiah 47 is about Babylon and in verse 8 states the mentality of Babylon "'I am, and there is none besides me."  This is also the mentality of our current society.  People can be so self-absorbed and only concerned about themselves.

Even though the time period of Daniel is about 605 BC, we can see our society very clearly in the first chapter of Daniel.

Daniel 1:4 "Select only strong, healthy, and good-looking young men," he said. "Make sure they are well versed in every branch of learning, are gifted with knowledge and good sense, and have the poise needed to serve in the royal palace. Teach these young men the language and literature of the Babylonians.
The king only wanted the smart, young and beautiful.  Our society places high importance on these attributes as well.  We need only look to marketing tactics of tv commercials and the front pages of magazines in the grocery aisle to see what our society values.

Daniel 1:5 The king assigned them a daily ration of the best food and wine from his own kitchens.
They were provided with the best of the best - overindulgence.  Much like our society that has access to anything your heart desires - just charge it!  Our society is overindulged and out of control.

So then, what influence does our society have on us? How can we resist becoming self-absorbed?

Daniel's Resolve

Daniel 1:8 But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine.
Daniel was under the law, given to us in the Old Testament, so there would have been foods provided to him that were considered unclean.  By eating those foods he would have been corrupted, or defiled.  To apply this to our society we need to be like Daniel and recognize those things that will corrupt.  How do we know when to draw the line on the over indulgence of our society. We need to look to the Word for the answers...

Colossians 3:2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.
We are a part of this world, but we do not need to be corrupted by it.  Focus on God.

A lesson in the Food
I am always fascinated by word studies and finding the meaning of a word in the original language.  Verse 12 has an interesting meaning and lesson...

Daniel 1:12 Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink.
The Hebrew word for vegetables is zeroa which means "that which grows from sown seed".  This would include not only vegetables, but fruits and grains and breads made from grains. 

The lesson in this comes from 1Corinthians 6:12 where Paul is teaching on the law and how we have been released from the law.
1Corinthians 6:12 "Everything is permissible for me"-but not everything is beneficial.
Even though we do not live by the law, not everything is good for us.  We can be absorbed by our culture or we can learn to recognize those things that are not beneficial to us so we can avoid them - so we resolve to not be defiled by the world we live in.

During the session Beth Moore was very clear, in a way that only she can, that this was not an invitation to a diet of vegetables and water.  However, she had the thought that it was an opportunity to have a physical symbol of commitment to the study of Daniel.  She offered an invitation to join her in an exercise of restraint.  She would be avoiding rich meats for the first half, or 6 weeks of the study.  I thought it would be a good opportunity to go on another junk food fast and avoid chips, chocolate, candy and (oh boy, dare I say) fries! There I said it, so now I have to do it!  What will you avoid, what do you need to excercise restraint with, something you eat, drink, watch, say? What will be a sacrifice to you, but you know will be beneficial to you to avoid?

Whew! I think I have covered the highlights of session 1 that spoke to me the most.  Will you make a commitment to follow me through the end of this study?  I pray that you will.


Sallie said...

After much thought, I'm going to choose not to partake of chips/fries for the first six weeks. It was hard to pick something that would indeed be a sacrifice, but not a diet. This will definitely be a reminder to me. Thanks for leading the study, Carrie! I'm very excited to go through it again and dig deeper.

Not Just In-Between said...

Bummer for me that Sallie is giving up chips!!! That's usually the only place I eat chips. :)