2014-01-16 - Resolve
Daniel 1:8 But Daniel made up his mind that he would not defile himself with the kings choice food or with the wine which he drank; so he sought permission from the commander of the officials that he might not defile himself.
The king's choice food must have been very tempting. The group of young men that Daniel belonged to had been through quite a time of trouble. To suddenly be presented with the best the kingdom of Babylon could offer must have seemed to many in the group to be validation or a blessing. What would cause Daniel to resolve not to "defile" himself? The food was unlikely to have been slain according to the Mosaic Law. Though it is not stated the food may have been offered to one of the Babylonian deities as well. They were resolved to refuse the world's standards.
The phrase "made up his mind" is more literally translated "set upon his heart" in expressing Daniel's passion in his resolve. He brings his case to the man in charge of preparing the group of young men for the king's service and wins a ten day trial for a diet of vegetables and water for himself and his friends. After those days are completed Daniel and his three companions are reported to appear in better shape than those who continued to eat the king's choice food.
Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah would impress the King and serve the kingdom for many years. But the foundation was their resolve to maintain themselves to God's standards. Renamed Shadrach, Mishach and Abed-nego, Daniel's friends would be thrown into the fiery furnace for refusing to obey the command of the King to worship his golden image. Later, Daniel would spend a night in the lion's den for breaking the law put forward by Daniel's enemies requiring only the King be worshiped during a 30 day period. Daniel continued to pray to the Lord three times a day. God closed the mouths of the lions and Daniel was pulled from the den unharmed.
It makes me look hard at myself and wonder if I were confronted with death in the lion's den how strong would my faith be? The simple alternative would be to not worship at all for 30 days. Daniel would not accept those terms. Why should I? Daniel's friends where not certain that they would survive the furnace, but they where sure of God's ability to preserve them either way.
Dan 3:17-18 If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. 18 But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.
Prepare your resolve. Selah.
Lord - Help us to grow in confidence to be prepared to confront the challenges this world bring against us because of Your name. Be the light on our paths as we prepare our hearts and minds. Amen.
All verses are from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) unless otherwise noted.