Resolutions from the Life of Daniel (Daniel 1:1-8)
Now more than ever has there been a crucial need for young 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 was scarce. 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.
Daniel made resolutions worth remembering. It’s easy for us to make a New Year’s resolution and forget about it before the week is up. But Daniel was resolved to make a difference in his generation and for his generation.
1. Resolve to Restore Character (Daniel 1:3-4)
Daniel 1:3–4, And the king spake unto Ashpenaz the master of the eunuchs, that he should bring certain of the children of Israel, and of the king’s seed, and of princes; Children in whom was no blemish, but well favoured, and skillful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science, and such as had ability in them to stand in the king’s palace, and whom they might teach the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans.
Society today is suffering from a lack of moral integrity. You can’t even turn on the sports channel without hearing about some scandal or type of cheating…in sports! Remember, these young Israelites were more than six hundred miles from home. They could have gotten away with anything and their parents would have never known—but God would have known. Despite the fact that he could do nothing about his environment or his circumstances, Daniel could control himself; that is, he had the liberty to control his thoughts, his words, his actions, his motives, and his heart. And this he did. Against overwhelming odds, Daniel was firm in his beliefs and in his commitment to the Lord, gaining the respect of many a heathen and many in authority in the process. Daniel knew who he was, and he knew Whose he was. Today, our society is becoming more paganistic and Christians are faced with enormous pressures to change their thinking from magazines, media, and movies, and as well as from educators. As we pray for one another, let's encourage one another to stand strong against the pressures to compromise the truth.
2. Resolve to Resist Culture (Daniel 1:5-7)
Daniel 1:5–7, And the king appointed them a daily provision of the king’s meat, and of the wine which he drank: so nourishing them three years, that at the end thereof they might stand before the king. Now among these were of the children of Judah, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: Unto whom the prince of the eunuchs gave names: for he gave unto Daniel the name of Belteshazzar; and to Hananiah, of Shadrach; and to Mishael, of Meshach; and to Azariah, of Abednego.
The meat served at the king's table was unclean (defiled) according to the Mosaic Law and it was offered to idols before it was eaten. Daniel would not compromise by eating meat offered to idols. Daniel was not willing to compromise righteousness regardless of the cost. Daniel remained faithful to the Lord despite the strong temptation to compromise. Culture isn’t easy to resist today. With billboards, television commercials, and mainstream music constantly on the attack, resisting culture is easier said than done. Culture wasn’t easy to resist in Daniel’s day either. The Babylonian powers were forcing their gods, their diets, and their names on the Israelites. But Daniel resolved to resist culture.
Peter said, “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light” (I Peter 2:9). If we expect to do anything for God, we will have to resist culture!
Although this seemed like such a small matter, it prepared him for bigger challenges later in life. Remember, he who is faithful in small things will be faithful in greater things. Are you willing to stand firm for the Lord and take the risks that sometimes come with doing what is right? There will come a time when every believer must choose to take a stand for what is right. Teens will always face the pressure to compromise from doing what is right. This is why it is so vital that teenagers must take seriously their preparation to pursue righteousness.
3. Resolve to Refuse Conforming (Daniel 1:8)
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.
I imagine it would have been fairly easy to “give in” at this point. 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 the Lord. We must purpose in our hearts that we will not defile ourselves. Swimming against the current always makes you a stronger swimmer.
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). 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 this year.
Prayer: Lord, Thank You for the strength I have in You to remain committed in our 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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