Summary: In Daniel 1:1-8 we learn about several strategies that are designed to bring about compromise. We also learn about the response designed to bring about conviction.
Today I would like to begin a new sermon series on the first six chapters of Daniel.
“Why Daniel?” you might ask. That’s a fair question. There are two main reasons prompting me to preach from Daniel.
First, I would like preach from a book in the Old Testament. Some of you have asked me to preach from the Old Testament, and I agree that it is time to preach from an Old Testament book. And Daniel, of course, is found in the Old Testament.
And second, I would like to preach on the book of Daniel because I think it is relevant to us living in the 21st century. Daniel found himself as a child of God living in a foreign culture. As we shall see, Daniel was captured and deported as young boy from his home in Jerusalem to live his entire life in the foreign city of Babylon. commentator D. A. Carson says, “The context in which the life of Daniel is set is summed up in the question asked by the exiles in Babylon, recorded in Psalm 137:4, ‘How can we sing the song of the Lord while in a foreign land?’ The entire book teaches us that this world will always be a ‘foreign land’ to the people of God (cf. John 17:16; Philippians 3:20a). God’s people are ‘strangers in the world’ (1 Peter 1:1, 17), surrounded by malignant and destructive enemies (1 Peter 5:8-9). Yet, it is possible to live in a way which brings praise and honor to God, just as Daniel did.”
It is my hope and prayer that by studying the first six chapters of Daniel we will learn how to live with conviction in an age of compromise.
So, with that in mind, today’s sermon is titled, “Resolve Not to Compromise,” which is found in Daniel 1:1-8:
"1 In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. 2 And the Lord delivered Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, along with some of the articles from the temple of God. These he carried off to the temple of his god in Babylonia and put in the treasure house of his god.
"3 Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, chief of his court officials, to bring in some of the Israelites from the royal family and the nobility— 4 young men without any physical defect, handsome, showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well informed, quick to understand, and qualified to serve in the king’s palace. He was to teach them the language and literature of the Babylonians. 5 The king assigned them a daily amount of food and wine from the king’s table. They were to be trained for three years, and after that they were to enter the king’s service.
"6 Among these were some from Judah: Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. 7 The chief official gave them new names: to Daniel, the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abednego.
"8 But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way." (Daniel 1:1-8)
We live in an age of compromise. The question I want to pose as we begin a series of sermons on the life of Daniel is this: how can you can live with conviction in an age of compromise?
The lure to compromise is felt by all people whether Christian or non-Christian. Daniel was invited to compromise his faith on many occasions, but his life is an example to us of conviction in an age of compromise. His life and message stand out as a significant statement, offering hope for today and insight for tomorrow.
Dr. Bryan Chapell, president of Covenant Theological Seminary, the seminary of our denomination, tells a true story of one individual’s resolve not to compromise her faith. Karen worked a full-time job in order to keep Randy, her husband and a seminary student, in school and food on the table. Karen worked as a quality control inspector for a major pharmaceutical company.
One day, at Karen’s work, a large order of syringes became contaminated and therefore failed her inspection. When Karen reported the problem to her boss, he quickly computed the costs of reproducing the order and then he made a “cost-effective” decision. He ordered her to go ahead and sign the inspection clearance, despite the contamination.
Because of certain federal regulations, only Karen could sign the clearance forms. If she did not sign the forms, the syringes could not be sold. Karen refused to sign the forms.
Even though her boss threatened her, Karen would not budge. The impasse between Karen and her boss led to a visit from the company president. He also computed the costs and then told her that the forms must be signed! Karen would have the weekend to think over her decision. It was made very clear that her job was now in jeopardy.