Men of the Bible Series - Daniel (Daniel 1:8) PART 1
Daniel 1:8, “But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king's meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.”
Now, more than ever, is a crucial need for God’s people of strong, righteous character to purpose in their hearts not to compromise. The society we live in today is rampant in immorality, mischief, inequality, persecution, and self-indulgence, a time when scarce few rise up to wave the banner for integrity and righteousness. Daniel lived in a time of inexcusable immorality, anarchy, and violence when there was little uprightness and morality on earth. Notwithstanding, he stood firm for the Lord against the temptations and the enticements of an ungodly nation. In all ages, God’s people have always been faced with the pressures to compromise their personal walk with Him. Every day we face the temptation to compromise our commitment to the Lord. We must decide to be dedicated in our devotion for the Lord regardless of the amount of pressure we face to compromise. We will examine that the pressures Daniel and his three friends faced by the king of Babylon were the same pressures we face today.
By God’s standards, Babylon’s moral and spiritual climate was totally corrupt. It is very likely that what Daniel and his friends were being taught often contradicted God’s law and principles. Daniel made up his mind from the start not to compromise his spiritual values and convictions, even if it meant death. Consider the fact that Daniel no longer had his parents or family around to guide or influence his decisions. Yet his love for God and His law, learned as a child, so filled his heart that he never lost his desire to serve the Lord (Deuteronomy 6:7).
I imagine it would have been fairly easy to “give in” at this point. With no parents, no pastor, no godly influences, conforming to the wicked lifestyle of the Babylonians would have been simple. No matter how much pressure others may put upon us to compromise, we must stand fast and not give in to the seduction of sin. No matter how appealing, attractive, or alluring the craving may be, we must take a firm stand for God. We must purpose in our hearts that we will not defile ourselves. Swimming against the current only makes you a stronger swimmer. Daniel believed in being holy before the Lord. Holiness is not an option for the believer, but it is the clear command of the Word of God (I Peter 1:15-16).
What helped Daniel remain faithful to the Lord in a corrupt society was the fact that early in life he had “purposed in his heart.” Surround yourself with those (parents, pastor, wise friends) who are wise (Proverbs 11:14; 15:22; 24:6). He had already determined, come what may, that he would stand for the Lord regardless of the direction society was heading. This purpose was not short term, as in until it was inconvenient, it was for life. A lack of purpose in one’s life leads to an easy target for Satan. Once we purpose in our hearts, it will be easier to demonstrate it in our lifestyle. When we make wise choices, it leads to right results (Proverbs 20:18). Purpose in one’s life will help prevent them from changing or giving up. The first priority of every person should be to cleave unto the Lord (Acts 11:23). The actions we take in our life are purposed in the heart before they are ever carried out by our actions. Proverbs 4:23, “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.” We should serve God out of a pure heart, for this is what God loves the most and desires. Daniel made this decision in his heart before anyone else ever knew about it.
The desire to love God and serve Him starts in the heart. It goes against the flesh of mankind and is a radical concept to this world. Paul was an advocate of swimming against culture’s current. He wrote, “I beseech you, therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:1–2).
A believer who conforms to this world, at some point, will yield to the great pressure that they are under to change. The believer who is transformed is yielded to the Holy Spirit of God who transforms them from within. Something is going to shape your life, but the question is, will it be the worldly philosophy we are conformed to, or the truth of God that we are transformed by? Will you be conformed or transformed? What are your goals for this year? I encourage you to follow the example of Daniel as you strive to make a difference.
Those who are determined to stay faithful to God when confronted with temptation can depend on Him for the strength to resist. However, those who have not prepared their minds and hearts to stay true to God and His Word will find it difficult to resist sin and to avoid conforming to the world’s ungodly ideas and lifestyles. It is much easier to avoid temptation than to resist temptation.
Prayer: Lord, Thank You for the strength I have in You to remain committed in my walk with You. I am encouraged by the example of Daniel and his three friends and the choice they made in obeying Your Word rather than compromising with the world. Often, I’m tempted to compromise my commitment to You. May I be determined to remain faithful to You and steadfast in my commitment to Your Word. In Jesus name, Amen!
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Dr. Blackman is passionate about helping others grow in the grace of the Lord. His devotions are centered on how to grow closer to the Lord through a personal relationship with Christ.