But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine,

and he asked the chief official for permission to not defile himself in this way.

Daniel 1:8, NIV 

 

One of the great themes of the Book of Daniel is resolve. Daniel, along with Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, were all young Jews who had been taken captive by the Babylonians. The Babylonians had a system when they captured their enemies that included taking the best and the brightest and incorporating them into their government and their society. So it was a great privilege for these four men because they had not only had their lives spared, but they were also on the fast track to becoming important and possibly wealthy individuals.

 

But there was one problem: In order to become a Babylonian official, they were going to be asked to make compromises with their service to God. What would they do?

 

For those who are familiar with the Book of Daniel, you already know, for in this book are contained some of the most famous examples of resolve ever recorded. In the case of the royal food, the men were resolved not to partake of it because it was unclean for a Jew to do so, and therefore it would have been a sin. It is instructive to see how these men handled their dilemma: First, they did not just "give in" with the excuse that it was the law of the land so they had to obey. Second, they did not meet this opposition with violence or with disrespect toward their captors. Instead, they humbly asked for permission not to defile themselves and, after a test, they were permitted to do so. 

 

"Well", you might be thinking, "that's all fine and good, but what if the officials did not permit them a religious exception?" I'm glad you asked, because this very thing happened to all four men and it is important that we know how they handled their resolve before God not to sin.

 

You might recall the response of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego when they were told that they must bow down and worship a golden idol or be thrown into a fiery furnace. They told the King that they could not do it. The King told them they could or they would be burned to death. That is where resolve came into play again. The men responded by telling the King that God could rescue them from his hand, but even if God did not, they would not bow down to an idol.

 

Years later, in a different circumstance and a under the rule of a different king, Daniel was commanded not to pray to anyone but the King or he would be fed to the lions. What was Daniel's response? He went home, opened his window so that everyone who wanted could see, and bowed down and prayed to the LORD. He had resolved himself not to sin, and he didn't.

 

But what was the kings' response in these two instances? Was it to say, "OK, you don't have to defile yourselves"? No, in the case of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, the response of the King was to heat the furnace seven times hotter and throw the three men into that furnace. In the case of Daniel, the response of the King was to throw Daniel into the lion's den.

 

And in both cases, though wicked kings attempted to punished these men for their resolve, the LORD rescued them all!

 

And He will do the same for us, regardless of what we have to go through, if we will only show resolve. It doesn't mean that we should be presumptuous and just assume that He will keep us from all physical harm. Don't forget that millions of Christians have been martyred throughout the ages. But what this does mean is that God will reward those who have the resolve to stand for Him by not yielding themselves to the compromise of sin.

 

And that reward is heaven!

 

Do you have the resolve you need?

 

"Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer.

I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days.

Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life."

the words of Jesus as recorded in Revelation 2:10, NIV

 

Today is day 23 of the 30 day challenge to read through the books of the prophets of God, with the Book of Daniel being the reading for today. May God richly bless you as you seek Him and resolve yourself to never compromise with sinful men!