Summary: Exposition of Daniel 1:8-21 about Daniel’s commitment, his confidence, and God’s favor in refusing the King’s provisions
Text: Daniel 1:8-21, Title: Determined to be Faithful, Date/Place: NRBC, 3/8/09, PM
A. Opening illustration: conversation with a friend at the TCSO, new believer, about struggles in Christian life
B. Background to passage: God has given Jerusalem and Jehoiakim over to N, and now N has commanded his servant to take several of the Hebrew boys and set them up for training. This training would brainwash them to thinking like Babylonians rather than Israelites. Part of that training includes food from the king’s table. Daniel and friends have decided to be faithful to God’s word in this area, and thwart the king’s brainwashing. And as one writer said, this faithfulness is key to their struggles and blessing for the rest of the book.
C. Main thought: In the text, we will see why the brainwashing did not work.
A. Daniel’s Purpose (v. 8)
1. Daniel decided or purposed in his heart that he would refuse to make himself impure by partaking of food that was unlawful for him to eat. He determined beforehand where his ultimate loyalties lie. And he did this in his heart, his core being, his dead center. Knowing that this could be construed as an insult, that it could produce jealousy among the other boys in training, that it would not be pleasing to the palate, but that it would be right. His ultimate goal was neither to offend the king, get the servant’s in trouble, look pious, nor provoke jealousy—his motivation was to please God by keeping His commands.
2. Heb 12:14, Rev 21:8, 1 John 3:3, Eph 5:5, 1 Pet 1:16, 2 Cor 7:1,
3. Illustration: read some of Jonathon Edward’s resolutions written prior to his 20th birthday, tell about Erika and my conversation that began with “do you really love me?” and link it to the truth that marriage couples have predetermined in their vows that they will endure to the death,
4. Don’t ever tell me that teenagers can’t be trained to walk in a heroically godly fashion. We must also decide where our true loyalties lie. If we wait for the temptation or trial to be upon us before we decide what we are to do, then we are more likely to fail. Our mind will play tricks on us, justifying why we should go ahead and do what we know to do. Tell about the man that would have all these reasons as to why he should turn and get another gaze at the female jogger that just passed by in skimpy shorts. You may say, “that’s not really that bad.” But the question that I ask is what part of adultery do you not understand. One of the reasons that this truth doesn’t resonate with us is that our commitment to biblical holiness is not very deep. The world tells us things are OK, and we accept that without examining the full effects of things. Tell about Al Mohler’s blog on Barbara Millicent Roberts. We must return (or at least go there for the first time) to examining things biblically before adopting them as practice. Spanking in the public school system. What about the HOPE scholarship? Are we really committed to holiness? What about the things that we wear? I have seen more skin and cleavage in a Baptist church that at some beaches. Do the things that we watch defile our minds? Nobody practices church discipline anymore.
B. Daniel’s Confidence (v. 12-14)
1. Other than keeping commands and high standards of holiness, Daniel pleased God by having faith in Him. Even proposing this idea would have demonstrated a high confidence in God’s blessing. Daniel knew a great truth, it is not the food that blesses our bodies, but the God of the food who blesses our bodies to be able to grow. And when turned down by one official, he had enough confidence to keep asking, keep knocking, keep looking. And when turned down again, he proposes a test. He says that His God will make them just as good as those who do not abstain. He was willing to take the risk that God might not see fit to do it that way, but he would still be faithful.
2. Heb 11:5-6, 24-29, 33-34, Ex 3:7, Est 4:16, Dan 3:16-18,
3. Illustration: this is kinda like a tithing test—in tithing we demonstrate the truth that a believer will do better on 90% of his income, than he would on 100% of it, this kind of confidence “is the expectation that something outside of ourselves, something or someone external, is going to come to our rescue,” “the motive behind taking risks for the cause of God is not heroism, or the lust for adventure, or the courage of self-reliance, or the need to earn God’s good will, but rather faith in the all providing, all-ruling, all-satisfying Son of God…(and) if our single, all-embracing passion is to make much of Christ in life and death, and if the life that magnifies Him most is the life of costly love, then life is risk, and risk is right…the tragic hypocrisy is that the enchantment of security lets us take risks for every day for ourselves, but paralyzes us from taking risks for others on the Calvary road of love” –Piper, NBC did a story on a church that was living outside the box to minister during these difficult times, the paper in Raleigh did a piece on Summit’s coat and food drive,