Daniel 3 6 Resident Aliens


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Russell Jeung at Bread of LIfe Church Torrance's Asian American Conference March 7-9, 2008

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Daniel 3 6 Resident Aliens

  1. 1. Resident Aliens Asian Americans in Bobo-land Daniel 3 and 6 Russell Jeung, Ph.D. San Francisco State University [email_address] Do not use or reprint without permission of author
  2. 2. Asian Americans as Resident Aliens <ul><li>Forever foreigners or honorary whites? </li></ul><ul><li>As foreigners, we never fit in or belong </li></ul><ul><li>As foreigners, we are suspect, exoticized and demeaned </li></ul><ul><li>What’s wrong with fitting in? If we’re successful, aren’t we a better witness for Christ? </li></ul>
  3. 3. The Empire Strikes Back <ul><li>King Nebuchadnezzar made an image of gold, ninety feet high and nine feet [wide, and set it up on the plain of Dura in the province of Babylon hen the herald loudly proclaimed, &quot;This is what you are commanded to do, O peoples, nations and men of every language: As soon as you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes and all kinds of music, you must fall down and worship the image of gold that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up. Whoever does not fall down and worship will immediately be thrown into a blazing furnace .&quot; </li></ul><ul><li>--Daniel 3 </li></ul><ul><li>So the administrators and the satraps went as a group to the king and said: &quot;O King Darius, live forever! The royal administrators, prefects, satraps, advisers and governors have all agreed that the king should issue an edict and enforce the decree that anyone who prays to any god or man during the next thirty days, except to you, O king, shall be thrown into the lions' den . Now, O king, issue the decree and put it in writing so that it cannot be altered—in accordance with the laws of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be repealed.&quot; 9 So King Darius put the decree in writing. </li></ul><ul><li>--Daniel 6 </li></ul>
  4. 4. Babylon, The Land of Shinar <ul><li>A place hostile to God and to faith in God </li></ul><ul><li>Non-conformity and non-assimilation were punishable by death </li></ul><ul><li>Lowell High, UC Berkeley, Hewlett Packard: proof there is no free will </li></ul><ul><li>What worldly pressures do you have to conform to? </li></ul>
  5. 5. Alien (Strange) Responses: Public Worship <ul><li>Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, &quot;O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. </li></ul><ul><li>But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.&quot; </li></ul><ul><li>Already facing antagonism, the Jews had no fear of anger or punishment </li></ul><ul><li>No need to defend selves: no other gods </li></ul><ul><li>No expectation for God to reward faithfulness </li></ul>
  6. 6. Alien (Strange) Responses: Personal Devotion <ul><li>Knowing the law and punishment, Daniel nonetheless maintained his personal devotion </li></ul><ul><li>Prayer of supplication and thanksgiving three times a day </li></ul><ul><li>A regular, daily ritual and relationship with a personal God </li></ul><ul><li>Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house, and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he got down upon his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously. </li></ul>
  7. 7. God’s Presence and Protection <ul><li>Nebuchadnezzar then approached the opening of the blazing furnace and shouted, &quot;Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out! Come here!&quot;        </li></ul><ul><li>So Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego came out of the fire, and the satraps, prefects, governors and royal advisers crowded around them. They saw that the fire had not harmed their bodies, nor was a hair of their heads singed; their robes were not scorched, and there was no smell of fire on them . </li></ul><ul><li>When he came near the den, he called to Daniel in an anguished voice, &quot;Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to rescue you from the lions?&quot; </li></ul><ul><li>  Daniel answered, &quot;O king, live forever! My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight. Nor have I ever done any wrong before you, O king.&quot; </li></ul><ul><li>  The king was overjoyed and gave orders to lift Daniel out of the den. And when Daniel was lifted from the den, no wound was found on him, because he had trusted in his God. </li></ul>
  8. 8. King Nebuchadnezzar’s and King Darius’ Praise <ul><li>Then Nebuchadnezzar said, &quot;Praise be to the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who has sent his angel and rescued his servants! They trusted in him and defied the king's command and were willing to give up their lives rather than serve or worship any god except their own God. </li></ul><ul><li>Therefore I decree that the people of any nation or language who say anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego be cut into pieces and their houses be turned into piles of rubble, for no other god can save in this way .&quot; </li></ul><ul><li>&quot;I issue a decree that in every part of my kingdom people must fear and reverence the God of Daniel.        </li></ul><ul><li>&quot;For he is the living God and he endures forever; his kingdom will not be destroyed, his dominion will never end . </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul><ul><li>He rescues and he saves; he performs signs and wonders in the heavens and on the earth. </li></ul><ul><li>He has rescued Daniel from the power of the lions.&quot; </li></ul>
  9. 9. Residents, but Alien <ul><li>How did these Jews see themselves in relation to the world’s empires? </li></ul><ul><li>What worship practices and personal devotions make you alien? </li></ul><ul><li>How did the Jews maintain trust God rather than trusting in the world’s power? </li></ul>
  10. 10. Best of Both Worlds or Worst of Both Worlds? High American Low American High Chinese Low Chinese
  11. 11. Asian Americans as Resident Aliens <ul><li>Never fully Asian, nor fully American </li></ul><ul><li>Minorities must consciously and actively preserve what they hold valuable, even at risk of marginalization </li></ul><ul><li>By being different, we add to society’s diversity </li></ul>
  12. 12. Asian American Christians as Resident Aliens <ul><li>Never fully of this world, we are citizens of heaven (Phil 3:20) </li></ul><ul><li>As a holy nation, we must identify and preserve our distinctive calling (1 Peter 2:9) </li></ul><ul><li>By being different, we bear witness to God’s kingdom and glory (Rev. 21:24) </li></ul>