The Daniel Code: Living Out Truth in a Culture That Is Losing Its Way

The Daniel Code: Living Out Truth in a Culture That Is Losing Its Way

by O. S. Hawkins
The Daniel Code: Living Out Truth in a Culture That Is Losing Its Way

The Daniel Code: Living Out Truth in a Culture That Is Losing Its Way

by O. S. Hawkins


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How can we learn to be effective culture warriors?

We live in dangerous times. Not only does violence stalk us in the form of terrorism and crime, but our culture itself is crumbling. Our society tolerates and even praises what would once have been barely spoken of. If we stand up we are branded as intolerant, the term today’s culture considers the inexcusable offense. If we don’t speak up, people won’t know biblical truth. How is a Christian to respond?

Inspired by the story of Daniel in the Old Testament, bestselling author O.S. Hawkins shows how we can engage our broken culture with integrity. Daniel was a young man who “wrote the book” on how to survive in a pagan, permissive, and perverse culture. His value system was challenged at every turn.

Daniel steps off the pages of scripture and into our modern culture today to reveal some timeless principles—a sort of “Daniel Code”—that enable you to not simply exist in our culture but to engage it and survive it as well. You will discover that the same God that ensured Daniel’s victories is here for you today.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780718089948
Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
Publication date: 10/25/2016
Series: The Code Series
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 213,812
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 7.20(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

O. S. Hawkins, a native of Fort Worth, Texas, is a graduate of TCU (BBA) and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (MDiv, PhD). He is the former pastor of the historic First Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas, and is President Emeritus of GuideStone Financial Resources, the world’s largest Christian-screened mutual fund serving 250,000 church workers and Christian university personnel with an asset base exceeding twenty billion dollars, where he served as President/CEO from 1997-2022. Hawkins is the author of more than fifty books, including the best-selling Joshua Code and the entire Code Series of devotionals published by HarperCollins/Thomas Nelson with sales of more than two million copies. He preaches in churches and conferences across the nation. He is married to his wife, Susie, and has two daughters, two sons-in-law, and six grandchildren. Visit him at and follow him on Twitter @OSHawkins.

Read an Excerpt

The Daniel Code

Living Out Truth in a Culture that is Losing its Way

By O. S. Hawkins

Thomas Nelson

Copyright © 2016 O. S. Hawkins
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-7180-8994-8


Don't Give In: Be Resistant Part 1

Part 1

In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with some of the articles of the house of God, which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his god; and he brought the articles into the treasure house of his god.

Then the king instructed Ashpenaz, the master of his eunuchs, to bring some of the children of Israel and some of the king's descendants and some of the nobles, young men in whom there was no blemish, but good-looking, gifted in all wisdom, possessing knowledge and quick to understand, who had ability to serve in the king's palace, and whom they might teach the language and literature of the Chaldeans. And the king appointed for them a daily provision of the king's delicacies and of the wine which he drank, and three years of training for them, so that at the end of that time they might serve before the king. Now from among those of the sons of Judah were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. To them the chief of the eunuchs gave names: he gave Daniel the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abed-Nego.

But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king's delicacies, nor with the wine which he drank; therefore he requested of the chief of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.

— Daniel 1:1-8

Daniel keenly aware of the temptation to yield to the pressures of the culture around him. After all, he was a long way from home and who would really know if he, for instance, changed his diet? Yet he chose to resist the pressures and not to give in to them. He drew the line. Note, however, that he went along with some things, nonessentials like learning the language or reading Babylon's history. But Daniel resisted at each and every point he was called upon to do something that was diametrically opposed to his convictions regarding God's commands. Daniel made some really tough decisions when many around him found it easier to go along and give in. To fully understand the significance of what is happening, we need to ask ourselves some questions: where, who, when, what, and why.

Where does this all take place? Daniel's story begins at home in Judah. After the reign of King Solomon, the twelve tribes of Israel divided into ten tribes in the north and two in the south. The northern kingdom never had one good king and met its end in 722 BC when they were taken away into Assyrian captivity. In the south, over three and a half centuries, nineteen kings ruled from its capital in Jerusalem. While many of the kings strayed from their biblical convictions, several of them were good kings. It was here in the southern kingdom of Judah that Daniel was born, and we meet him when he was a teenager. The other place mentioned is Babylon, located in modern-day Iraq. In Daniel's day, Babylon had become the antithesis to everything Bible believers hold dear. It was the heart of paganism and the undisputed world power of its day.

A better understanding comes with a knowledge of who was on center stage in Daniel's story. There was Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon. He was an electrifying leader who built an incredible city and developed a world empire. Next, we meet Jehoiakim, king of Judah, on his throne in Jerusalem. Sadly, he was nothing more than a spineless puppet. He led the Jews to worship other gods and "did evil in the sight of the Lord" (2 Kings 24:19). The Bible places the blame squarely on him for filling Jerusalem "with innocent blood" (v. 4).

We are also introduced to a young man by the name of Daniel, who was a descendant of good King Hezekiah. As a boy, he was caught up in the spiritual revival under King Josiah, an experience that had a profound impact on his young life. Extremely bright and handsome, if he lived in our modern world, he would no doubt be elected as "Most Likely to Succeed" at any school he attended. But his world, with all its promise, was turned upside down when the Babylonians conquered Jerusalem and took him captive back to Babylon.

So when did all this take place? Daniel 1:1 reveals that these events ensued during the "third year of the reign of Jehoiakim." That would date this episode in 605 BC. By God's design, these were days of severe punishment and persecution of God's straying people. Nebuchadnezzar rounded up a small group of the brightest and most promising young people of Judah and carried them back to Babylon. When the destruction of Jerusalem became complete in 587 BC, Daniel had already been in exile throughout his teen years and into his early adulthood.

Finally, what was actually taking place? It was nothing short of the judgment of God Himself. The Bible frames it by saying, "The Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into [Nebuchadnezzar's] hand" (Daniel 1:2). God was in control, and the lesson is ... He still is in control. He is holding the remote. He is pushing the buttons. In a real sense, this wicked king of Babylon was nothing more than the remote control in the hand of God. Jeremiah even quoted the Lord as calling Nebuchadnezzar "My servant" (Jeremiah 25:9).

Not a lot of people in our modern world seem to believe that God still judges sin and that He actually still holds in His hand the remote control over our lives and all history. For years, this coming Babylonian captivity had been predicted by God's prophets in amazing detail (Isaiah 39:5–7; Jeremiah 25:8–12; 2 Kings 20:17–18). However, Judah would not repent. Warning after warning came their way, but they blindly believed they were indestructible. Before we are too quick to point a finger of accusation their way, we should examine ourselves to see if we are not sailing the seas of uncertainty in the same boat.

Once the people of Judah were taken away into captivity, we only have to read Psalm 137:1–6 to catch a glimpse into their hearts:

By the rivers of Babylon
There we sat down, yea, we wept
When we remembered Zion.
We hung our harps
Upon the willows in the midst of it.
For there those who carried us away captive asked of
us a song,
And those who plundered us requested mirth,
Saying, "Sing us one of the songs of Zion!"

How shall we sing the Lord's song
In a foreign land?
If I forget you, O Jerusalem,
Let my right hand forget its skill!
If I do not remember you,
Let my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth

If I do not exalt Jerusalem
Above my chief joy.

Yes, it was the Lord who gave the Jews into Babylonian captivity.

And why did God allow this? After all, He once called Israel the "apple of His eye" (Zechariah 2:8), but the Bible says, "Whom the Lord loves He chastens" (Hebrews 12:6). The captivity was not designed so much to scourge His people as to purge them. Many good things resulted in the aftermath. Israel never again followed after idols, and that remains true to this very day. The Hebrew Bible began to come together under men like Ezra. The remnant of God's people eventually returned to Jerusalem, and in it was the seed of our Messiah. This captivity carried God's message of hope and love to heathen lands. A few centuries later, when the Magi came from this same region to Bethlehem to worship the Christ child, it was because their forefathers had heard of Him from Daniel and passed the account down through the generations. And all this happened because Daniel refused to give in: he stood resistant to the pressures around him. He stood for what he believed. We need many more like Daniel today.


Don't Give In: Be Resistant Part 2

Part 2

An interesting plot is unfolding in the story of Daniel and his young Hebrew friends who found themselves captives in this foreign land ...

Nebuchadnezzar had conceived an ingenious plan. He was among the first to recognize something in the DNA of the Jewish people that has brought about a better world for all of us. What would our modern world be without the contributions of Einstein, Salk, Sabin, Freud, Disraeli, Singer, Pulitzer, and a multitude of others like them? Thus, Nebuchadnezzar's plan was to corral the brightest young Jewish minds, immerse them in his own Babylonian culture, reeducate them completely, and eventually send them back to Israel to rule there on behalf of Babylon. It was a clever plot, and these young Jewish exiles certainly had impressive resumes for that job. Daniel 1:4 lists their qualifications: "no blemish ... good-looking, gifted in all wisdom, possessing knowledge and quick to understand, who had ability to serve." They were the sharpest of the sharp with the highest SAT scores and polished social graces. All Nebuchadnezzar had to do now was brainwash these monotheistic boys and transform them into polytheistic leaders.

So the stage was set. First, Nebuchadnezzar set out to change their language. His plan was to completely do away with Hebrew as a spoken language. And it worked. One of the miracles of the modern state of Israel is the revival of the ancient spoken language of the Jews. It lay dormant from the days of Nebuchadnezzar until 1948 when the state of Israel was established. Now when you walk the streets of Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, you hear Hebrew again after all these centuries. (If our current immigration issues have taught us anything, it is that to be fully accepted in any new culture, one must learn to speak its language.) So these young Hebrew lads were thrust into language school. Gone was the language of Zion for them.

Nebuchadnezzar next set out to change their literature (Daniel 1:4). Literature is, after all, the window through which most cultures can be viewed. The king sought to fill these bright young minds with Babylonian philosophy, science, astrology, and religion. His stated goal was to reeducate them away from the deep roots of their previous belief system with all its traditional values. This is still being done in our modern educational systems today: we call it "values clarification."

The king was not only intent upon changing the young captives' language and literature but also their lifestyle, starting with their diet (Daniel 1:5). He appointed rich provisions for them daily. These boys were given gourmet delights straight from the king's table. But remember, these were Jewish lads who had grown up on a strict kosher diet. Nebuchadnezzar's intent here went far beyond the introduction of tasty new foods. Underneath all that was a sinister attempt to change their lifestyles. And Nebuchadnezzar was not finished yet.

The Foreign Culture

Nebuchadnezzar wanted to change the boys' language, literature, and lifestyle, but his ultimate goal was to change their loyalties. He changed their names (Daniel 1:7). Daniel and his three young friends had Hebrew names that spoke about who they were and where they were from. The name Daniel literally means "God is my Judge." Hananiah means "beloved of the Lord." Mishael's name meant "who is like God." Azariah's name meant "the Lord is my help." Today we know these last three men far better by their Babylonian names, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, which refer to the pagan gods Bel and Aku rather than to Yahweh, as their Hebrew names did. By changing their names he was attempting to change their loyalties. Again, Nebuchadnezzar's long-term plan was to train these young leaders to handle all the affairs of the exiles in Babylon and then to eventually rule over them when they returned home to Jerusalem as fully indoctrinated Babylonians, thus enlarging the footprint of his kingdom.

We look upon this conniving approach with a bit of disdain, and yet the very same thing has been going on in our own culture for decades. Our brightest young minds are being reeducated according to principles that are foreign to those of all our Founding Fathers and foreign to our Christian faith. As far back as 1933, the Humanist Manifesto set out its plain objectives, but few people paid any attention and most scoffed it off. Its stated goal was to "bring young people to deny the deity of God and the biblical account of creation." It set out to "reeducate young people to the fact that moral values should be self-determined and situational." In other words, there is no absolute truth. This manifesto also stated the intent to remove distinctions between the roles of male and female in society. This didn't just happen in 2015 with the legalization of gay "marriage." It had been decades in the making. The Humanist Manifesto also advocated the right of abortion and euthanasia and argued vigorously for the redistribution of wealth in America. In many ways we have become the Babylon of the modern era. We apparently learned our lessons well at the feet of Nebuchadnezzar himself. It is little wonder that we have lived to see Bible reading eliminated from public schools, the Ten Commandments removed from public view, and creation science excluded from classroom instruction. None of this is new: this thinking has its roots in Babylon. Clearly, the book of Daniel is one of the most relevant books of the Bible for our world today.

A Strategy

Daniel walked the corridors of a crumbling culture that is much like ours, but he did not give in. He remained resistant. How? It wasn't because others were protesting or picketing or trying to elect new leaders. He remained resistant because early on, back in Jerusalem, he had been "trained in the way he should go" (Proverbs 22:6). He was well grounded in truth, and that truth had been rooted in him by his parents.

In our modern world we like to think it "takes a village" to raise our children. No, it takes a strong mom and dad to raise these precious young minds in the way in which they should go. When they are left to "the village," it will pull our kids down every time. Daniel may not have been able to control the cultural influences of Babylon swirling around him, but he still held the remote control when it came to how he would react to them. The Bible says he "purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king's delicacies" (Daniel 1:8). Even though he was learning a new language and an accompanying new literature, Daniel drew the line when it came to eating the king's meat, an act contrary to his Hebrew faith. Daniel would not compromise when it came to the Word of God and His commands. Thus, the Bible simply says, Daniel "purposed in his heart" not to turn from his God.

It is of utmost importance to note that Daniel made no attempt to separate himself from the culture around him. He was no isolationist as some would advise we become today. Daniel was fully capable of interacting with the pagan culture around him but not be contaminated by it. An isolationist mentality leaves no place for believers to be salt and light as our Lord calls us to be (Matthew 5:13–16). We need what Daniel had: a knowledge of what is biblical and what is not as well as a commitment to the biblical. Part of our problem today is that, for too long, we have been in retreat. Some of us have given in to the world's ways while others have given up on even engaging the pagan culture around us.

We should identify with Daniel as much as, if not more than, we do with anyone on the pages of the Bible. Take a good look at him. He was under incredible pressure to conform to the culture, to just give in. Everything around him had changed. His language changed. What he was now reading was the complete antithesis to all he had studied before. Neither he nor his friends were even called by their real names any longer. He was being squeezed into the Babylonian mold. He fought hard against a determined effort to cut him off from all his religious roots.

As we look around our own world today, so much is the same. It is as though the remote control has been ripped from our own hands, and we, too, are tempted just to give in.

Consider for a minute what criteria, if any, you use to determine which activities in our own culture to engage in or not. Daniel relied on the Word of God for guidance. Daniel had set his mind, he had "purposed in his heart," and he had predetermined which way he was going to turn long before he got to the intersection. Life is filled with intersections, and compromise is key to getting along with our culture today. Sadly, compromise has too often become the American Christian's way. Daniel is shouting to us across the centuries, "Don't give in! Be resistant."


Excerpted from The Daniel Code by O. S. Hawkins. Copyright © 2016 O. S. Hawkins. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents


Introduction: Culture Shock, 1,
I. The Remote Control Syndrome, 7,
1. Don't Give In: Be Resistant Part 1, 13,
2. Don't Give In: Be Resistant Part 2, 19,
3. Don't Give Up: Be Consistent, 25,
4. Don't Give Out: Be Persistent, 31,
II. Instant Replay: Back to the Future, 39,
5. God Reveals the Scope of Human History Part 1, 45,
6. God Reveals the Scope of Human History Part 2, 53,
7. God Reveals the Hope of Human History Part 1, 59,
8. God Reveals the Hope of Human History Part 2, 65,
III. You Have What You Tolerate, 71,
9. Living with Pressure, 77,
10. Living with Principle, 83,
11. Living with Perspective, 89,
12. Living with Protection, 95,
IV. On a Search for Significance, 103,
13. The Way Down Is Up, 107,
14. The Way Up Is Down Part 1, 113,
15. The Way Up Is Down Part 2, 121,
V. God and Graffiti: The Handwriting is on the Wall, 127,
16. God Is Speaking To, 133,
17. Our Prideful Culture, 139,
18. Our Presumptuous Culture, 145,
19. Our Promiscuous Culture, 149,
20. Our Perverted Culture, 155,
VI. Integrity: Don't Leave Home Without It, 163,
21. We All Live in Four Different Worlds, 169,
22. Integrity Is Rooted in Our Private Lives, 173,
23. Integrity Is Reflected in Our Personal Lives, 179,
24. Integrity Is Reinforced in Our Professional Lives, 185,
25. Integrity Is Revealed in Our Public Lives, 191,
Conclusion: You Can Survive Culture Shock, 199,
Mission: Dignity, 205,
Other Books by O. S. Hawkins, 206,
About the Author, 207,
Culture Shock,

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

'Whether on the football field or the field of life, you need a playbook. The entire Code series of devotionals is a great resource for my own spiritual growth. I read one of the Code books regularly in my own devotions and enthusiastically recommend them to my family, friends, and fans.' — Roger Staubach, Hall of Fame quarterback and real estate developer 

'True devotion to Christ draws us into the Bible and increases our love for the Word of God. That's what makes the Code series so powerful. Deeply biblical, relevant, and faithful—this series will greatly bless you, your friends, and your church.' — R. Albert Mohler Jr., president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

'Too many devotionals are long on the thoughts of men and short on the wisdom of God. I endorse the entire Code series of devotionals from my friend O. S. Hawkins because they start with Scripture and keep the focus on the Lord.' — Greg Laurie, senior pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship

'In my forty-five years in ministry, I have never seen a more desperate need for truly biblically wise counsel. Unfortunately, most of the books available are man-centered, which do not even provide temporary help. That is why I am so thankful that Dr. O. S. Hawkins penned the Code series. The questions that are asked in the Bible are the questions everyone is asking, and thank God the Code series gives us truly sustaining and uplifting answers. This book is a must for everyone. Read and reread it, and be eternally blessed.' — Dr. Michael Youssef, senior pastor, Church of the Apostles, Atlanta, Georgia

'O. S. Hawkins has 'broken the code' to bringing practical and powerful insights into the patterns and principles of Scripture. There's a reason that more than a million of his devotionals have been embraced by those who have discovered this insightful series.' — Mike Huckabee, television commentator and former governor of Arkansas

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