The book of Daniel is intended to give us encouragement in the face of great difficulties. Despite how bleak things may appear now, God is still in control – even when it appears on the surface that he isn’t. It’s an important thing to remember especially with the increased ridicule by atheists who try and make us believe that God is past his sell by date. Whenever we see churches closing or more people saying they don’t believe in God it makes it seem like the world is winning.
However, lets read back over Daniel 1 and find out how God was in control.
If you want to dominate someone you need to rob them of their identity. King Neb did this by first changing Daniel’s name. The Hebrew name Daniel means “God will Judge” for example. And so, to rename Daniel with a Babylonian name will have had a huge psychological impact. It’s taking away Daniel’s Jewish identity.
Daniel was now surrounded by a culture that did not honour God’s standards or values and he was expected to comply.
We too, like Daniel, are surrounded by a culture that does not possess God’s values or standards. We are living in a world with a culture which is not only alien to God’s way of living, but is at times downright hostile towards it. People in this world want you to live their way rather than God’s.
When we conform to the world, we imply “God is not bothered about that way of living, those moral choices, how I conduct myself, or what I say”.
That’s what the world wants - people of conformity rather than people of distinction.
God, on the other hand wants people of distinction rather than people of conformity.
We need to stand up for our faith like Daniel. Instead of complying and indulging on the royal food and wine, Daniel choses to rely on God’s provisions. Daniel needed to demonstrate that God was still the Lord of Daniel’s life and not Nebuchadnezzar. Daniel did not want the king to be credited with his healthy appearance, but God. This was his stand and God honoured it.
God rewarded Daniel for turning to him and so God will do the same to us in our life. We need to put boundaries in place which we will not cross. For some of us that may be saying no to getting drunk, or for example saying no to sex until marriage.
Examine your heart right now and ask yourself is there some of the ‘King’s food’ which is taking the edge off your appetite for God. Just one sin that we want to keep?
God will one day honour the stands and the decisions we made for him. The Lord blessed Daniel, he lived to see the Babylonian empire overthrown by King Cyrus of Persia and he outlived his conquerors.
Let’s be encouraged by Daniel and motivated to stand up for God.