Summary: The 4 Hebrew Children & their determination to serve the Lord in any/every circumstance!
Determined to be Determined…NOW!
“For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.”
I would like to remind you of a true story; possibly a story of four young people that were determined to be determined early in their walk with the Lord (you can read about these young men in the OT; in the book of Daniel). We find these four young Hebrew in their homes in Jerusalem. Suddenly, a neighboring country (Babylon) came and took them captive (606 -586 B.C.).
After arriving in their captor’s country as slaves and servants, these young people confronted some temptations to change; they had to make a decision.
When reading about these young men (Daniel 1), we find that these young men faced a spiritual dilemma (at least they were spiritually focused so they knew it could have been a spiritual dilemma); they were told by their handlers that the king of Babylon insisted that all his servants were to eat the meat provided them. The problem was that this meat was first offered to false gods and idols; these young people were fully aware of the pagan practices of the Babylonians. Yet, they were fully aware of the Law of Moses and of God that forbade them eating any meats that remained mingled with the blood of the animal, or any meat that was considered "unclean (ref. Duet. 12)." The Babylonians prepared their meat from the altars of their false gods. They used animals considered "unclean," and they allowed the blood of the sacrificed animal to remain in the cooking process of the meal. Therefore (after their confrontation with this temptation) these determined, committed young people decided that they would obey God in this matter rather than their new earthly master. (*IMPORTANT: They were neither rude nor self righteous in their decision; they were simply humbly committed to their decision!)
Then we find that the keeper of these young men became a bit concerned; he was concerned because these young men (I’m sure that God was leading them in Divine wisdom) suggested that they be given vegetables for ten days; then, they asked to be compared at the end of those ten days to those servants who ate the kings meat.
I am sure that this keeper was concerned; because what if they did not meet the standard of fitness and mental stamina that the king required for his personal servants. But, after some consideration, he allowed the test to begin.
One day…two days…four days…ten days finally expired. These young Hebrew men were compared in every capacity to those who continued the king’s diet of meat. It turned out that, these young men…these young Hebrew men who were determined to be determined early on in their lives…were at the best they could be physically, mentally and what would prove itself time and time again in later tests spiritually!
Praise the Lord for victory!
But, how did they get there? How were they of the spiritual constitution to withstand the temptations and prompting of the world around them? I mean, they were in a new country; they were not able to enter into the Temple of God in a physical sense any longer (which was a major issue for the Jew of that day).
The Babylonians changed these young persons’ homes, textbooks, menu and then they changed their names. The Hebrew names of these young men were:
Daniel ("God is my judge") to Belteshazzar ("Bel protect his life;" Bel was the Babylonian god)
Hananiah ("Jehovah is gracious") to Shadrach ("the command of the moon god")
Misheal ("who is like God") to Meshach ("who is like Aku;" another of the false gods)
Azariah ("Jehovah is my helper") to Abed-nego ("the servant of Nego;" another false god)
Their Babylonian captors hoped that these new names would help them acclimate to their new surroundings; that it would make them "better Babylonians."
But, we know what they decided, don’t we! We know that they did not eat the king’s food, bow the knee to a false god and what happened? Well, in this first test, they were protected; they were proved. But, if you read on into Daniel 3 you will read that three of these young men were cast into a very hot fire; But, because they were determined early on in their spiritual lives, Shadrach, Meshach & Abed-nego walked out of the fire without one hair singed…without even a whiff of soot upon them...THEY WALKED OUT VICTORIOUSLY…AGAIN!
So, what does this teach us? What life-lesson does this offer us? Well, if you know for a fact that you are born again and have sought or are seeking a cleansed and holy heart, this teaches us to be determined to be determined now! There is a grace or a vital truth to minding the Lord as young people, you know; Solomon tells us in Eccl. 12:1 - "Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth, before the difficult days come, and the years draw near when you say, ’I have no pleasure in them.’" Take it from me: Be determined to be determined…NOW!