No matter where you look, be it businesses or in societal institutions [schools, hospitals, governments, etc], marketplace people are in a season of transition. A great time of change is upon us. It’s how we approach these transitions that determine how we survive them or if we will THRIVE in the midst of them. In fact, we all know of businesses that had to close their doors because they did not build a strategic plan for transition. Many in the service sector have suffered loss because their ineffective strategies for market change made business difficult to thrive. We do not give enough attention to the strategies necessary to move from one market season to another. More importantly, we must use the practical tools for successful marketplace transition. Although following the Spirit in business transactions often leads to an easier strategy, many in our society reject the “offensive idea” of communing with God in businesses. We have separated God from our workplace, and lost the knowledge of Him in our every day business deals.
So what are these strategies that I am talking about? Let’s look at Daniel’s lifestyle as a prototype of the divine strategies in the seasons of change.
Daniel lived during a very difficult time in Israel’s history. Due to their apostasy, God, who was trying to restore order in the nation, was disciplining Israel. After countless messengers were sent to speak to the nation about their wanderings, God sent drought and then armies of locusts to eat their crops. Still the people of Israel would not listen. Next, God sent invading human armies who oppressed the Jews and occupied their land. Then, after years of not listening to the prophets and ignoring the observable signs of discipline, God sent an army that occupied their land and forced many into captivity.
Daniel as a Marketplace Messenger
In Daniel’s day, this disciplining radically changed a nation, and ultimately planted him as a marketplace messenger. Daniel was a very young man during the first deportation of Jews from Israel to Babylon by King Nebuchadnezzar. In fact, Daniel was only 15 years old when he was bound with chains and sent across the desert.
Though he entered Babylon as a slave, he eventually became one of the most skilled marketplace intercessors in the kingdom. His bosses, however, were quite the other issue. Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, ran a big-time “company” with lots of human resources [a big army], a more powerful treasury and a plan for violent take over that totally ruined the markets of Israel. As marketplace believers, we are all too familiar with the corporate takeovers we see on television. We have seen it countless times with airlines, cellular providers and computer companies. The crisis though, in Daniel’s day, was to the extent that the nation did not recover for over 70 years. That’s one way to get the attention of a nation.
My friends, what does the Lord have to do for our nation to get our attention? We have open frontal attacks by foreign terrorists. We have violent hurricanes, and depressed regional housing markets. We have broken medical systems for the elderly, poor and military. We have judges saying abortion is “OK”. They disallow prayer in schools in the name of fairness, when prayer is the very thing that God requires in times of crisis and transition. We have Gen-X’ers, still struggling with their identity, who are now having children with the same struggles. We have twenty-somethings looking for the “American Dream”, all the while missing the reason they are alive. Many are in the state of delusion and too many believers don’t know how to respond.
The answer to free us from delusion, I believe, comes from observing the life of Daniel. Though he lived in a wicked beast empire, he still flourished in his spirit. How did he do it? The simple answer is prayer, fasting, and close friends [marvelous comrades]. These three simple practices are the keys to the divine strategy the Lord gave him. He gave himself to corporate prayer meetings, with his few Jewish friends, asking God to intervene and provide supernatural wisdom. In Daniel 1, after being brought into captivity, he purposed in his heart to not be bought by the appetites of his new surroundings. In doing so, he lives counter to the culture he was immersed in. Because of this decision to fast and pray, God rewarded him with a prophetic spirit where he interpreted dreams and visions. He and his comrades were found to possess ten times the wisdom of the other enchanters and soothsayers in the land. In short, divine favor was released to Daniel in order to live upright in a place of darkness.
God gave Daniel grace for this life. He was happy and served his generation well. His marketplace, the government of Babylon and Media-Persia, heard the Word of the Lord come forth for their specific needs. He offered relevant advice and counsel to kings, yet maintained his course (in God) the entire time. I believe, the means of his success was found in the three aforementioned strategies: prayer, fasting and close friends [marvelous comrades]. In our day, we would do well to take heed to his example and standard of living by practically incorporating these strategies in our lives. This will be the key to our success in the days of transition, and keep us rooted in the hour of trouble. Daniel, the Babylonian marketplace man, is indeed a prototype worthy of study.