Daniel 1:8-16 – Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the king’s food, or with the wine that he drank. Therefore he asked the chief of the eunuchs to allow him not to defile himself. And God gave Daniel favor and compassion in the sight of the chief of the eunuchs, and the chief of the eunuchs said to Daniel, “I fear my lord the king, who assigned your food and your drink; for why should he see that you were in worse condition than the youths who are of your own age? So you would endanger my head with the king.” Then Daniel said to the steward whom the chief of the eunuchs had assigned over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, “Test your servants for ten days; let us be given vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then let our appearance and the appearance of the youths who eat the king’s food be observed by you, and deal with your servants according to what you see.” So he listened to them in this matter, and tested them for ten days. At the end of ten days it was seen that they were better in appearance and fatter in flesh than all the youths who ate the king’s food. So the steward took away their food and the wine they were to drink, and gave them vegetables.
Have you ever wondered why it seems like it’s easy to do the wrong thing and a hard-fought battle to do the right thing?
Why is it easier to get drunk, act the fool, and sin sexually than have self-control, wisdom, and purity? According to the storyline of the Bible, there is a dark spiritual Enemy who actively works against what is godly and good. He and his minions are ever at work setting up the world around us to tempt the sinful flesh in us.
One reason that the book of Daniel has been so popular among God’s people for more than two millenia is because it gives us hope that we can live by the power of the Spirit of God as Daniel did (4:8, 4:18) in victory over the broken culture around us ruled by the counterfeit Spirit of Babylon. In this section of Daniel, we are given four insights into what it means practically to daily walk in faith through this war zone of a world:
- Counterfeits – whatever God creates, Satan seeks to counterfeit. For Daniel and his friends, the temptation was to partake of a counterfeit communion with food and drink that was likely offered to the pagan demon god Marduk. If they ate, they would be doing the same thing as Adam and Eve – eating a meal with Satan. Where are the counterfeits in your life?
- Character – even when Daniel and his friends disagree and want to disobey an order from King Nebuchadnezzar, they do so in a way that is courteous and respectful. Furthermore, they gave their boss an option and they were so respectful to him that he liked them and sympathized with them even though they were putting his life at risk by their convictions. How can you not make what you are against known but provide positive alternatives in your workplace?
- Control – Daniel and his friends did not know what the outcome of their trial might be. They did not have a word from God, and they were simply trying to make the best of a bad situation and leave the results in God’s hands. Their examples show us that faith is giving up control of the future and entrusting tomorrow to the Lord. In what ways do you need to give up the anxiety of trying to have life work out just the way you want?
- Compromise – despite a death threat, they do what is right even if everything goes wrong. They do not compromise and seek to find a way to reconcile the commands of God and commands of an evil empire. Are there any areas of your life that you are compromised, paying lip-service to being a believer but living a lifestyle that is Babylonian?
Lastly, we learn from this episode that oftentimes our witness is at work. Daniel and his friends are continually tested in relation to their vocation and the same is true of us.
How is living for God in the workplace as a witness for God while doing a good job going for you?
In addition to this introduction to and overview of Daniel, you can find the corresponding sermons, daily devotions, men’s ministry resources, and hundreds of additional sermons and Bible teaching resources for free at markdriscoll.org or on the Mark Driscoll Ministries app.
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