Today we continue our in-depth study with part 4 of our first session in the book of Daniel. This one will cover the "immersion method". The technique King Nebuchadnezzar used to assimilate the exiles into Babylonian culture. If you missed any ofthe previous 3 you can catch up here: part 1, part 2, and part 3.
Now, let’s look at verses 3-5 (ESV)
(3) Then the king commanded Ashpenaz, his chief eunuch, to bring some of the people of Israel, both of the royal family and of the nobility,
(4) youths without blemish, of good appearance and skillful in all wisdom, endowed with knowledge, understanding learning, and competent to stand in the king’s palace, and to teach them the literature and language of the Chaldeans.
(5) The king assigned them a daily portion of the food that the king ate, and of the wine that he drank. They were to be educated for three years, and at the end of that time they were to stand before the king.
So what we are seeing here is a glimpse into a brilliant policy that Babylon had in place during this time. It was a brilliant assimilation program. Assimilation, means to cause a person or group to become part of a different society. To become a part of a different culture. It’s to take people with one cultural background, and so thoroughly change the way they think, that soon they forget about the culture of their original homeland, and begin to identify with the culture they find themselves in. As the son of a native of Greece, I have been thoroughly assimilated into American culture. I honor and respect my Greek heritage, but I consider myself an American.
So Nebuchadnezzar’s assimilation policy is brilliant. Whenever he conquers a territory, he identifies the best of the best. The Cream of the crop of that particular land, and he immerses them in Chaldean culture. And so when he conquers Jerusalem, he enacts this policy. His Chief Eunuch, Ashpenaz identifies the best of the best. Youths from the royal family or of noble birth. Good looking. Smart. Wise. Competent. He knows if he can assimilate the future leaders of the cultures he conquers, he will have nothing to fear from them as far as inciting rebellion against him. Brilliant policy. And it works very well for them.
Now the method of assimilation he uses is immersion. The immersion method. The U.S. Military understands the immersion method. When you are identified as one who will need to learn a foreign language, the military sends you to language school in Monterey, California, and there you spend hours a day being immersed into the language. To the point where you finally begin to start thinking in that language. As a matter of fact, the entire military process is based on the immersion method. Basic Training. You are plucked from everything you know and for 8 weeks you are immersed in all things military. Outside influence is strictly controlled, because they no longer want you thinking like a civilian. They need you to be thinking like a soldier.
So, for three years these youths from Judah are to be immersed. They are to learn the language of the Chaldeans. They are to learn the literature of the Chaldeans. They are to eat the very food that the King eats, and drink the same wine that the king drinks. For three years the Babylonian way of thinking is going to be so ingrained into their being, that it will be hard to even know that they are Jewish. They may look Jewish, but that will be all. After 3 years of this kind of immersion, the weak willed will be, for all practical purposes, Babylonian.
Now, let’s flip this and look at it from a spiritual perspective.
The devil understands immersion. That’s why it’s so important for us to not just casually read the Word of God. We need to immerse ourselves in the Word.
Before we came to Christ, we were naturally immersed in our culture. In its ungodly, self-absorbed way of thinking and acting. But then we read Romans 12:2, which reads, Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
So on one hand, we have the devil, using the world system, trying to immerse people into thinking that leads them away from God. And we live in the information age. As a people we are being bombarded with an all out blitzkrieg of messages and images. All wanting to influence us to go a certain way.
So we are not to be conformed to the world’s way of thinking, which all too often is Anti-Christ. But we are to be transformed. In the Greek, Metamorpho – where we get the word metamorphosis. How? by the renewal of our minds. And how do we renew our minds? We need to be immersed in the Word. You can’t be transformed if you don’t immerse. Let me say that again, you cannot be transformed unless you immerse. As we immerse ourselves in the Word, the Spirit of God works with the Word of God, to renew our minds and to, day by day, transform us more and more into the image of Christ.
It’s time to immerse!
FUEL meets Thursday nights at 6:30 at RockChurch,
located at 1081 Upper Spring Bay Rd in East Peoria