Osborne looks at Daniel for lessons in thriving in Babylon. We might think of Daniel's story as saying something like, if we do the right thing God will keep us from harm. Nothing could be farther from the truth, Osborne writes. Just read about the heroes of the faith in Hebrews, the ones who were tortured, imprisoned, killed, etc. They were great people of faith but God in His sovereign wisdom declined to rescue them. “He chose to be with them in their trials rather than delivering them from their trials.” (23)
The lesson we get from Daniel is that he found a way in a wicked culture to glorify God and serve God so that kings acknowledged Him. Osborne identifies three qualities that marked Daniel's life: hope, humility, and wisdom. He addresses them in detail in this book. He explores where they come from, how they're developed, and the impact they had on the wickedness around Daniel. For example, it was Daniel's humility in serving his masters so well that his influence in Babylon grew greater and greater.
I really like Osborne's insights. I was reminded again that God is in control. I was also reminded that God's judgment begins with His own people (and what that might be saying about our current culture). I found out that hardship serves a purpose, as a spiritual boot camp. Those who have not been through a spiritual boot camp will have trouble thriving in Babylon as there are necessary spiritual qualities one can only get through boot camp experiences.
I loved Osborne's example of watching a rerun of the USC - Notre Dame football game. Only a few minutes left and Notre Dame is ahead. The USC quarterback gets sacked and ten yards are lost. The clock is ticking. But Osborne, a USC fan, is not stressed. He knows what happens two plays later. What a lesson for Christians, even when we get sacked and lose yardage. We know who wins!
I really like the way Osborne writes. He has a way with words and inserts a bit of humor from time to time. His insights are timely and full of wisdom. Some of his thoughts seem counter intuitive, like honor and respect toward godless leaders. But Osborne is a stickler for being biblical, just like Daniel. I found his teaching to be right on. If you are ready for a biblical perspective on living in a godless culture, read this book.
Unfortunately, there were no discussion questions included in the galley I read. Nonetheless, I highly recommend this book for classes and small groups. This is an important book for our time and discussing it with others would make it even better.
I am taking part in a blog tour of this book and you can read other reviews here.
Larry Osborne has served as senior pastor and teaching pastor at North Coast Church – one of the ten most influential churches in the country – since 1980. He is the author of numerous books. He and his wife live in Oceanside, California, and have three grown children. You can find out more at http://larryosbornelive.com/.
David C. Cook, 208 pages. You can purchase a copy here.
I received a complimentary digital galley of this book through Litfuse for the purpose of an independent and honest review.