Summary: Daniel believed God was in control of life and circumstances and this caused him to live his live out of his convictions.


• Daniel is a guy who believed God was in control of life and circumstances.

• This caused him to live out of his convictions.

• Unusual for today because we have been taught to go with the flow with what is happening.

• To be “progressive,” but many of us don’t stop to question what we are giving ourselves to.

• Daniel was a guy who did. This was unique and definitely set him apart.

• It is difficult to live in an ever-changing culture that confronts you daily and to love well.

• Jesus always loved well. He lived in truth and grace. This is a tough balancing act.

• That is exactly what Jesus did in John 8 with the lady caught in adultery. He balanced the truth with grace.

• Some of us feel trapped today between what we hear in church and what we see online and in the world. We want to live for God, but we find it so tough to navigate daily living.

• What do you do when you hold to your core beliefs and people tell you that you are unloving?

• When culture moves we are pushed to extremes and culture has never in the history of mankind moved more than in the last 20-30 years.

• Daniel lived in that world as well.

• Some background…

• Daniel lived in a huge city, surrounded by a lot of multicultural influences. He had to make choices how he would live every day.

• He was in one of the most corrupt societies the world has known, Babylon. Babylon is actually used in the book of Revelation to represent all that is wrong with the world and worldly choices.

• But like Joseph, Daniel didn’t just survive, he thrived!

• Like us! He faced pressures to compromise everywhere, from the workplace to his friends.

• He was far from home and had just three friends.

• He was a captive in Babylon, a political prisoner.

• Israel had a succession of kings who were wicked and God told them he was going to allow Israel to be conquered because of their hard hearts.

• So Nebuchadnezzar, the king of a huge empire, the Babylonian empire came and conquered them and carried off many of their people to serve as slaves. This was typical of the time. Daniel and his friends Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego were all carried off to Babylon.

• They were most likely teenagers 14-16 years old. By the end of the book of Daniel, Daniel is 82-83 years old.

• They were sent to school to reorient their thinking, to enslave them.

• In order to serve in the palace they had to have certain qualities: young men, handsome, bright and teachable.

Likely they were all related to royalty in Israel.

• Like Joseph, Daniel rose to the top under tough circumstances. His life was as bleak as it gets, no recourse and no hope, but with God there is always hope.

• He learned how to influence his culture with humility and confidence. He was respectful and unmovable at the same time.

• He wasn’t self-righteous or judgmental, but he was resolute. He knew being right and being righteous were not the same.

• But the book of Daniel is as much about God and His greatness as it is about Daniel and his faithfulness.

• The first half of the book is the story of Daniel, the second half is about dreams and prophecy he experiences.

• There are pictures of Jesus throughout the book.

• He served there 70 years under four leaders.

• Daniel struck a balance, not being a doormat or being self-righteous. He influenced not out of being right, but by being gracious and generous.

• We are going to be in Daniel chapter 1 today.


• Daniel’s acts of courage changed Israel’s destiny.

• Individual acts of courage have changed the world throughout history.

• A single expression of courage is often the tipping point of history.

• Sometimes the person has no idea what they are doing.

• 1955 Rosa Parks said no to moving to the back of the bus and changed the United States and racism.

List of some of those biblical characters:

Abraham leaving Ur

Moses facing Pharaoh

Joshua crossing the Jordon

Joseph forgiving his brothers

David and Goliath

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the fiery furnace

Daniel and the lion’s den

• The problem is the issue is so big and dramatic.

• Things in my life are not so big at the moment.

• None of us are kings or prophets.

• After 40 years of ministry I know this, there will be moments that are tipping points of destiny.

• It won’t seem so dramatic, but for those God called you to lead the issue will be as important.

• Daniel understood this.


• He is a guy who believed God was in control of life and circumstances.

This caused him to live out of his convictions.

Convictions are interesting things.

• They are built when we are convicted.

John 16:8, “When He comes He will convict the world concerning sin righteousness and judgement.”

We have all been convicted of something. The word means “proven to be guilty” or “convinced of error.”

When that happens we decide we won’t live there anymore. Hopefully, we decide that and we build convictions or we are convinced that something is right and we form a strong belief about it, a conviction, or a core belief.

• This is unusual today because we have been taught to go with the flow with what is happening.

• To be “progressive,” but many of us don’t stop to question what we are giving ourselves to.

• Daniel was a guy who did. This is unique and definitely set him apart.

Matthew 10:16, “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves.”


• The book Daniel is full of great stories; all built on a backdrop of being held as captives in Babylon and God setting them free after 70 years.

• Chapters 1-2 - About convictions, tests. God tests convictions.

• Chapter 3 - About friends getting tested in a fiery furnace.

• Chapters 4-5 - Daniel interprets the king’s vision. In his early days Daniel interpreted visions, in his latter days he had the visions.

• Chapter 6 - Daniel ends up in the lion’s den.

• Chapters 7-8-10-11-12 - All visions.

• Chapter 9 - Daniel’s prayers for his people.

Daniel 1:1-7

• They changed Daniel and friend’s names. Name changes were a huge part of integrating them into the culture.

Daniel’s name signifies “God is my judge”; Hananiah, “Yahweh is gracious”; Mishael (mee·shaw·ale), “Who is what God is?” (the idea being that there is no God like the God of Israel); and Azariah, “Yahweh has helped” or “will help.”

• These probably were common Hebrew names, and all four appear elsewhere in the Old Testament.

• Babylonian names were given in order to assimilate them more readily into their new culture.

• The same happened to Joseph in Egypt.

• Belte-shazzar = bel-protect his life

• Shadrach = command of Aku the moon god

• Meshach = who is what Aku is

• Abednego = servant of Nebo… god Nebo was Babylon’s 2nd greatest god

When the world moves we have got to know who we are and what we stand for. Daniel and his friends did.

Proverbs 23:7, “As a man thinks in his heart so he is.”

We put all our emphasis on the outward not the heart. Jesus puts the emphasis of identity on your heart.

I Samuel 16:7, “The Lord doesn’t look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

Don’t let money and stuff insulate you from who you really are and who God intended you to become. Find your identity in Him not stuff.


Daniel 1:8-10, “But Daniel was determined not to defile Himself by eating the food and wine given to them by the king. He asked the chief of staff for permission not to eat these…foods. 9Now God had given the chief of staff both respect and affection for Daniel. 10But he responded, “I am afraid of my lord the king, who has ordered that you eat this food and wine. If you become pale and thin compared to the other youths your age, I am afraid the king will have me beheaded.”

• Daniel’s life like yours and mine faced daily pressure to conform to the world around him.

• What made him a great leader was his desire to be transformed, not conformed - Romans 12:1-2

• Key to all leading is your heart, keeping it in the Lord’s hand.

• And living out of convictions. “Daniel was determined”

Literally “Daniel made up his heart.” We say mind because we don’t get making up your heart.

Determined is about setting convictions in your heart.

Proverbs 4:23 NKJV, “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life.”

• A heart that loves the Lord, trusts the Lord, and therefore obeys the Lord hungers to make the right choices.

• Faith is obeying in spite of consequences.

• So Daniel is thoughtful in his approach to defying the king’s orders.

• But he has clearly made a decision to obey God rather than man.


The key to Daniel’s convictions was found in his destiny. He believed in spite of his circumstances and captivity that God was still in control of his destiny.

Acts 17:26, “He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation.”