It was my birthday two days ago and I’d like to thank everyone who reached out to me. WOW!!! I am overwhelmed by the show of love and truly feel underserving. I am immensely blessed to have you all celebrate the ‘Stupendous Grace’ of God and the gift of life with me. Thank you!!!
‘But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s delicacies nor with the wine which he drank; therefore he requested of the chief of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself’ (Daniel 1:8)
I am sure we are mostly familiar with the above text, but let us look at how we can apply it into our lives. Looking at the setting, you’ll remember God promised Hezekiah that his descendants would be taken into captivity, so it was God that gave Nebuchadnezzar absolute power over Palestine ( Jer. 27:1-11). It was God that gave Israel up to Nebuchadnezzar for 70 years to punish them for their sins ( Jer. 25:8-14).
Let’s fast forward, vs. 3-7, Nebuchadnezzar sought prized recruits for his fast track program in Babylon. These recruits had room and board for three years from the king’s table while in school. Feels like a full scholarship in an Ivy League school for foreign students right? Four of these children were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, from Judah’s best. He gave them Babylonian names – Belteshazzar, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. For them, it was an opportunity of a life time; they were set apart from slavery and from all their peers to an elevated position around the king’s palace. For all of us, this could represent that dream job, or opportunity. However, it came with a little catch and an opportunity for a little ‘pleasurable’ compromise – the kings meat. For you, it may be that ‘that’s how we do it’ that compromises your faith. Let’s try to localise it a little. What will you do if you finally have that job you have desired for so long and you are requested to practice on the job, things that are not worthy of a believer?
Daniel and his peers did not hesitate. He decided to stand firm in his integrity, let the result be what it might. The Bible records thus ‘But Daniel (read as Daniel and his friends) purposed in his heart to not defile himself with the king’s meat and wine. Everyone else was doing it, it was common practice in Babylon but that was no excuse. Just because they had purposed in their hearts, they were willing and ready to go against the grain. (We are not to conform to this world…). I believe that the first step to pleasing God is purposing in your heart not to sin; for sin comes by enticing the heart, thinking of the sin, and then doing the sin (James 1:13-16). But that was a costly choice, let’s examine what this purposing in his heart represented, considering the various deceitful temptations Daniel resisted in purposing to obey God.
a) He risked his life, for disobeying the king Nebuchadnezzar was usually fatal.
b) He risked his fast track program of great privilege and pleasure while in training.
c) He risked his fast track program of great opportunity and promotion in Babylon.
d) He risked the peer pressure of other fast track recruits, who would ridicule him.
e) He risked the criticism that he was not politically correct for the changing times.
f) He risked the lives of others, for he could have cost Ashpenaz his own life.
g) He risked the lives of other Jews, for he could have cost them all their lives.
But they took the risk anyway, they aligned with God’s commandments in spite of the cost and God rewarded them.
a) He favoured them with their keepers.
b) God gave them- and skill in all learning and wisdom. (Prov 2:6).
c) God gave Daniel a wonderful gift of prophecy.
d) The four performed so well that they stood before the king.
e) They were ten times wise than veterans. Daniel continued under the blessing of God even until the first year of Cyrus.
f) Daniel lived long enough to see and understand the ending of the 70 year captivity.
g) God preserved him through various kings and transfers of power and authority; he saw the commandment of Cyrus for Jerusalem and the temple to be rebuilt.
Consider Daniel’s deteriorating circumstances of being taken captive from his home to a foreign nation, for such events would cause most to be destroyed, give up their faith, and doubt God’s providential care. However, his heart felt purpose led Him to honour God and He took care of him, Great men devise godly goals and purposes for life, and then they live according to them (Ps 119:106).
What have you purposed to do? Are you committed to it like Daniel? Are you willing to make sacrifices? There is a sure reward ahead if you stay with your purpose.
God bless you!