Summary: I think there are at least three kinds of compromise, and each of them is illustrated by Daniel's experience in Babylon.

A man who had been a notorious thief was telling a friend how

going to church had really changed his life. He was in a store just

that week and saw the nicest pair of boots. They were just his size,

and while he was there the owner of the store stepped out. He could

have easily slipped them under his coat and gotten away, and

ordinarily he would have, but this time he resisted the temptation.

The devil said to take them but the Lord said not to, and there I was

in the middle. He concluded, "I didn't know what to do, so I

compromised. I took a pair of shoes instead."

Obviously his life was not as dramatically changed as he

thought, for his compromise still left him as a thief. The question is,

however, is all compromise of this same worthless nature? Is

Reginald Kauffman accurate when he says, "Compromise is never

anything but an ignoble truce between the duty of a man and the

terror of a coward." Or is Edmund Burke the one who speaks the

truth when he says, "All government indeed, every human benefit

and enjoyment, every virtue and every prudent act is founded on

compromise and barter." Any wise student seeing these on a true or

false test would mark them both false, for one has a never and the

other an every, and an absolute is almost always false. Neither

extreme can be defended which says that compromise is always a

virtue or always a vice.

This question on compromise is stimulated by this first chapter

of Daniel because it appears that there is a contradiction in Daniel's

attitude. He refuses to compromise when it comes to eating heathen

food, but he submits without objection to a heathen education and a

heathen name. Some commentators question Daniel's values here.

They wonder why he draws the line where he does. It seems to be

such a minor point on which he resists, and then he goes along with

more major issues. It has to be admitted that Daniel did enter into

involvement with the pagan culture on many levels. But he refused

to do so on this level of eating. I think it is worth our time to try and

discover the difference, for this would give us instruction for our

own lives as to our own relationship to our culture. I think there are

at least three kinds of compromise, and each of them is illustrated by

Daniel's experience in Babylon. First we see-


The first thing we have to do is establish that this can be so, and

that compromise is not an absolute evil. John Herman Randall Jr.

wrote, "Now anybody who is capable of learning anything from

experience knows that the only way to get along with people, the

only way to do anything together with anybody else, is through

compromise. You don't need exceptional brains to realize that. You

need only to be married or to have a friend." If your wife insists

that you go on a picnic on a Saturday, and you insist that you go on

it on Sunday, and both of you hold your conviction with the view

that it is evil and cowardly to give in, you have a situation which one

can predict will lead to a dark future.

If one yields to the other and avoids the conflict, it is a virtue.

It is a virtue because it compromises only personal interests and not

any principle or moral that affects your relationship to God.

Examples of this kind of compromise are endless. It would be tragic

if there were no such thing as compromise between management and

labor. It neither made any concession, but were uncompromising in

their demands, our whole economic system would be in chaos, and

nothing would ever get settled. One could make 20 compromises a

day on the level of human relationships, and not in any way be out

of God's perfect will.

This is the kind of compromise Daniel made on the matter of

the pagan education he was to receive. He no more compromised his

loyalty to God at this point than does a Christian youth who goes off

to a secular university to study ancient mythology under an atheistic

professor. Daniel was getting one of the best educations of the day.

The Chaldeans were advanced and cultured, and they had plenty to

offer. The fact that they also had some weird courses on astrology

and magic made no difference. A youth like Daniel, who had been

instructed in the truth, and who had an intimate relationship with

the true God, would be no more disturbed than a mature Christian

today would be by taking a course in mythology.

Copy Sermon to Clipboard with PRO Download Sermon with PRO
Talk about it...

Nobody has commented yet. Be the first!

Join the discussion