Daniel Purposed to Obey God
In the first chapter of Daniel, we learn almost immediately about Daniel’s character. He, along with many others, were carted off to Babylon’s headquarters under King Nebuchadnezzar. Old Neb went back for a total of three separate occasions before he finally had finished pillaging the Temple treasures and burned Jerusalem to the ground.
Once taken captive, Daniel and his friends were part of Nebuchadnezzar’s grand experiment in brainwashing. It included being fed the best food and drink from the king’s storehouse. This was the first problem and the Bible tells us that “…Daniel made up his mind that he would not defile himself with the king’s choice food or with the wine which he drank...” (Daniel 1:8a). The KJV says that Daniel purposed in his heart. We need to stop and really consider this truth. Is it any wonder that Daniel was loved of the Lord? Is it any wonder that God was so gracious to him throughout his entire adult life?
Daniel purposed or decided ahead of time that he was not going to defile himself by eating or drinking the items from the king’s table that were off-limits to him because of the Mosaic Law. He took his commitment to the Lord seriously and it appears as though he was not willing to be tempted to move away from that commitment. When we measure ourselves against Daniel’s resolve, how do we fare? Are you committed to God in the same way, with the same fervor? Only you can answer that question.
But what happened next? It’s one thing to purpose in your heart to do something and it’s quite another to follow through on that promise. Notice what Daniel did next. He did not demand anything. Though he stood on principle, he did not treat those over him as if they were under him.
The text tells us that Daniel “sought permission from the commander of the officials that he might not defile himself,” (Daniel 1:8b). Imagine that. Daniel had a higher calling and knew it. He also believed that he needed to respect those in authority over him in spite of the fact that they were godless people. So what does Daniel do? He asks for permission to eat something else. From the text, we can learn two things; two very important things:
- Daniel loved God immensely and endeavored to prove it by following God’s commands, and
- Daniel had respect for those who were in authority over him, whether he agreed with them or not
Daniel pleased God in a two-fold way here. He did not resort to “pulling rank” claiming that his God was far superior to the Babylonian gods. He did not demand to have his way. He simply and humbly asked that he might be given permission to do what he knew God wanted him to do.
Interestingly enough, Daniel was met with a pleasant response. The text tells us that “God granted Daniel favor and compassion in the sight of the commander of the officials,” (Daniel 1:9). Do you think God did this because of Daniel’s demeanor toward the commander of the officials? I think so. Daniel wanted to honor God. He did so by choosing to obey God first, and then he did so by treating people with respect.
Now, this is not to say that when we treat people with respect, God will always make it so that people are pleasant to us in return. We see that this was not the case with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. In that situation, Nebuchadnezzar became so enraged with their defiance and refusal to worship the image he had created, that he ordered them to be bound and tossed into the fiery furnace. This same furnace had been made seven times hotter than usual. Read about it in Daniel 3.
Note there that these three young men – Daniel’s friends – had refused to worship the image. King Nebuchadnezzar even gave them one last time to “repent” and worship the image in front of him, to which they also refused. I do not get the sense that they were angry with the king, or disrespectful. They simply told him that they could not do what he asked because “we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up,” (Daniel 3:18). They also told the king that God could save them from the fire, but He also might not. God was under no obligation to do so, but in either case, they could not offend God by worshiping idols.
I can only imagine witnessing King Nebuchadnezzar’s rage and his demand to make the fire seven times hotter. It must have been a bit nerve-wracking, yet they were not swayed from their path.
As Christians, as difficult as it is for us at times, we must not respond to the world the way they act towards God and us. We have a higher calling.
With respect to the situation surrounding Chick-fil-A, it is very clear just exactly how intolerant many people are from the Left and the gay community in general. They are not only vicious with their attacks, but often vile as well. How could we expect anything else?
In one instance, a man by the name of Adam Smith recorded himself going through the drive-through at a Chick-fil-A and thoroughly berated the female worker at the window. He was obnoxious to say the least. He was rude and his comments were particularly spiteful and uncalled for because it was not the woman behind the counter who had made the statements but the owner of the company. Be that as it may, Mr. Smith apparently believed that if he vented his spleen on the worker, he would be getting his point across.
After he finished venting and demanded a glass of water (he didn’t buy anything), the woman gave it to him and responded with “It’s my pleasure to serve you.” That woman deserves a raise. More importantly, I am extremely impressed with her resolve. Who knows if she is even in agreement with Mr. Cathay’s personal beliefs? Yet, she acted far more mature than the man driving the car, who incidentally, was later fired by his company where he had been employed as CFO/Treasurer.
In another instance, a six-year-old boy presented his 10 reasons why people should not vote for Mr. Obama in the next election. I’ll remind readers this person is a six-year old BOY. Age did not matter to the LEFT though because they began spouting some of the most incredibly vile and disgusting things. Here is but a few examples:
- Hopefully an illegal alien will kill your racist a** and your family too.
- Can someone kill that kid?
- Where’s Jerry Sandusky when you need him?
How is any of this exercising restraint or tolerance? It’s hatred, pure and simple.
We also learn that in California, someone applied graffiti to a Chick-fil-A store saying, “Tastes like Hate” with a depiction of a cow near it.
It was also announced that in spite of the fact that Chick-fil-A’s policies do NOT discriminate against serving, hiring, or promoting, an a gay rights group called the Civil Rights Agenda has filed suit claiming an intolerant corporate structure.
I mentioned the other day that we would likely see attacks against Chick-fil-A and we are seeing them. This is probably the tip of the iceberg.
The most tragic thing is how heinous some of those within the Left and gay communities are being. It’s fine for them to be vitriolic and filled with hatred. They say they are simply reacting to hatred. In point of fact, what they are reacting to is a figment of their own imagination.
What they should be reacting to is the actual atrocities that are occurring in places like Iran where incidents of executions of gay people are on the rise. No outrage there though that I can determine. While I’ve read a few articles against it, the rancor is very toned down compared to the livid rage that is extended to Chick-fil-A and those who work there.
But in the end, our response as Christians should be exactly as the worker at the drive-through. Her response continued to offer respect to the individual who was treating her woefully disrespectfully. She continued to present a pleasant demeanor even when she was being verbally spit upon.
As Christians, we need to understand that persecution in America is being ramped up. Unlike the type of physical persecution that is taking place in various parts of the world, the type of persecution we are facing in America is far more insidious. It is becoming fine and acceptable to persecute Christians. It is being stated that we are haters and it is repeated often enough so that it will simply be believed.
It is becoming the norm to only accept people’s opinions when they agree with the Left in the America. Anything that smacks of a conservative nature is bigoted, born of hatred, and discriminatory. That is becoming the reality.
Our demeanor is to become and remain as Daniel’s. He was humble. He knew what was going to offend God and he avoided it. He humbled himself enough to ask those in authority over him if he could be given different food, knowing that they could have said no and in fact, that was the first answer he received. He persisted, humbly, striking a deal with the person over him.
As difficult as it is going to become, Christians must not act like the lost of the world. We need to respond to their hatred with love. We need to see them as people who are lost and who are also loved by the same God who loves us. It will only be then that some might wake up to the truth of their situation and the reality of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Right now, Christians are seen as bigots, yet the world knows that in general, we don’t strike back. We need to continue to react to the world in a way that brings glory to God. It may not be easy at times, but there really is no other alternative.
I believe if we purpose in our hearts ahead of time that we will obey God and if we present ourselves in a humble way to the world, at least some within the large community of lost people will ultimately be saved.
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