A DETERMINED STAND IN TESTING
Tuesday, 18 September 2018
Daniel 1 : 1-21
“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…” -Daniel 1:8
Set in an era when Judah’s sins had led to the Babylonian invasion under King Nebuchadnezzar, the lives of four young men of Judean nobility – Daniel, Hannaniah, Mishael and Azariah held in captivity in Babylon teach us vital lessons on taking an unwavering stand for God in the most testing time.
A Comparison of the Times: Our lives as believers in the present day can be paralleled to the days of Judea’s captivity. Daniel and his friends were captives in Babylon - a pagan nation that did not obey God but worshipped idols and forced those in captivity to adhere to their practices (Dan 1:4-7). In a pleasure drove world that is aimed at amassing wealth and success, we live for Christ as ‘aliens’ in a foreign land.
A Resolute Mind: Despite the conflict between the king’s instructions on the food to be served and God’s commands, Daniel did not compromise his faith. Without despising or rebelling against the intended kindness of the king, the four young men tactfully and in humility requested permission to refrain from the king’s choice of food. Disobedience to the king could have even cost them their lives, yet these young men’s deep love for the Lord made them resolve not to violate God’s laws no matter how challenging the circumstances. Their character of integrity is later reflected in their determination not to bow down to the idol of gold despite being thrown into the blazing furnace (Daniel 3) and dedicated the prayer to the Lord despite being cast into Lion’s den (Daniel 6). In the midst of adversity or conflict, can we determine in our hearts not sway from absolute obedience to God’s word? Our unwavering resolve to stand for the Lord will make Christ known to this world.
Focus on God’s Favour: Coming from nobility, it would have been easier for these young men to enjoy the privileges of the king’s court and succeed there than deprive themselves to live an uncompromising life. Yet they chose to seek God’s favour rather than please men. Despite the adverse situations of their captivity, they unconditionally chose to find favour with God. In our schools and corporate settings, when peer pressure and the challenges of work demand compromises, can we set our hearts on seeking God’s favour beyond all else? Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ. (Philippians 3:8)
The Faithfulness of God: While being taken captives (a time people may have questioned God’s goodness) these young men did not let their circumstances define God’s faithfulness. God is faithful to those who delight in Him and set their hearts on obedience to His word. In the king’s palace, God honoured these four men with health (Dan 1:15), wisdom (Dan 1:17) and position (Dan 1:19). Their challenging circumstances/captivity did not change but God’s presence was continual with them. In the blazing furnace, He came to be with them; in the den, He shut the lions’ mouths to protect Daniel. No matter what our circumstance, God will uphold and sustain us there for His glory. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. (Hebrews 10:23)
A moment of introspection: Can we take a determined stand like Daniel and his friends who sought not to defile themselves with the pleasures of this world but kept themselves pure and chaste for the Lord even in the king’s court?
Quote for the Day:
‘Dare to be a Daniel, Dare to stand alone!
Dare to have a purpose firm! Dare to make it known.’
– Excerpt from Hymn of Philip P. Bliss
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