Summary: Determination determines our direction in life, both secular and spiritual, and therefore, we as Christians, need to possess a holy determination to serve, please and obey God.
Daniel’s Holy Determination
Text: Dan.1: 8; I Cor.15: 58
Intro: We hear much these days about determination. Certainly, determination is a required asset for most any endeavor. If one expects to lose unwanted pounds, they must be determined to do so. If one would develop a thriving business, they must be determined to overcome every obstacle that would keep them from that goal. The realization of one’s goals is likely to be in direct proportion to one’s determination to achieve those goals.
The potential for war with Iraq is on everyone’s mind these days. President Bush has spoken often of his determination to rid our world of the threat posed by Saddam Hussein. That determination is clearly seen in his decisions and actions of recent months. From what I have seen so far, our president has no intention of merely making idle threats in this matter. He is determined to do what he said, even if it means war.
Likewise, our federal government is apparently determined to protect this nation from acts of terrorism. We have witnessed the initiation of all sorts of safety measures at airports, the formation of emergency preparedness plans and contingency plans, as well as an attempt to keep the general public aware of the possible dangers. All of this is taking place because of our government’s determination to protect its citizens.
Let me try to encapsulate in one phrase the point I want to make clear today: “Determination determines direction.” One’s determination, good or bad, determines the direction of one’s life, as well as one’s choices and actions.
I’ve said all of that to say this: Daniel was a spiritually determined individual. He had made up his mind to serve and obey God, even if it hair lipped the devil and all of his followers. Daniel would not be dissuaded from his loyalty to God by public opinion or private pressures. He was determined to walk with God. And folks, that’s exactly what every child of God should do.
Theme: As we look at Daniel’s life today, we will see:
I. DANIEL PURPOSED
A. Notice Daniel’s Circumstances.
NOTE: Too often these days, Christians tend to let circumstances govern their closeness to God, when their closeness to God should be governing their circumstances.
Many years ago A.J. Gordon went to the World’s Fair. From a distance he saw a man pumping water with one of those old hand pumps. The water was pouring out and he said as he looked, "That man is really pumping water." But when he got closer, he discovered that it was a wooden man connected to a pump powered by electricity. The man was not pumping the water; the water was pumping him.
1. Daniel was a captive.
Dan.1: 1 “In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem, and besieged it.
2 And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with part of the vessels of the house of God: which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his god; and he brought the vessels into the treasure house of his god.
6 Now among these were of the children of Judah, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah:”
2. Daniel was chosen to serve in the king’s court.
Dan.1: 3 “And the king spake unto Ashpenaz the master of his eunuchs, that he should bring certain of the children of Israel, and of the king’s seed, and of the princes;
4 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.
5 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.”
B. Notice Daniel’s Conviction.
Dan.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.”
NOTE:  The word translated “purposed” comes from a Hebrew word meaning “to determine” (James Strong, S.T.D., LL.D, The Exhaustive Concordance of The Bible, published by MacDonald Publishing Company, McLean, Virginia; #7760 of the Hebrew And Chaldee Dictionary, pg. 113). One translation renders the meaning here with the words, “But Daniel made up his mind not to defile himself…” (Holy Bible, New Living Translation, published by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois; pg. 875).
 The defilement that Daniel wished to avoid here was religious and ceremonial, meaning that the food eaten by the king was not “kosher” by Jewish standards. More than likely, the meat eaten by King Nebuchadnezzar had also been offered in sacrifice to the false gods of Babylon. Though Jewish dietary laws could be set aside to preserve one’s life, apparently Daniel saw this as a calculated ploy of the king to wean him away from God. But Daniel would not be pulled away from his God without a battle. He had made up his mind to remain faithful to Jehovah God. Daniel had a conviction about his relationship with God.