Be Resolute! - For God Gives

Be Resolved: Book of Daniel  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Don't be conformed, be a transformer, look at Daniel's example

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God Rules!

The book of Daniel it will be clearly evident and especially here in chapter one that sets the tone that God rules and God overrules too. God has a plan and though we may not see it, understand it at times, we need to be resolved in the fact that God is God and He knows what He is doing. We should follow Daniels example.
(Continental Congress Picture inserted here)
I read a story about the American Constitutional convention that met in Philadelphia from May-Sept 1787. The goal was to form a system of government for this newly formed country free from the oppression of England. The story goes on to say by June 28th, progress had been slow, there were may heated verbal battles that had transpired and heels were dug in on what people thought was best for this emerging country. On June 28th, Benjamin Franklin stood and addressed George Washington the president of the convention. And in the midst of his speech he said this.
“I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proofs I see of this truth - - - that God governs in the affairs of men.”
After that there was a discussion about bringing in clergy to come and pray over the people so they may find unity, but it did not happen for there was no money to pay for them, lol. Just an interesting fact. This comes from “Miracle at Philadelphia book by Catherine Drinker Bowen.
I think as we continue, or really now start to get into Daniel you will clearly see that God gives us ample evidence, convincing proof that He is sovereign and his hand is in the affairs of both nations and people.
In our study today we will look at
God gives favor (Dan1:3-16)
God gives ability to succeed (Dan1:17-20)
God gives longevity to Daniel (Dan1:21)

God Gives Favor

God’s favor may not look like favor to you, but when you have the right outlook you can see God’s hand and God’s favor and make the best of even difficult situations, of which Daniel and his friends are now facing.
Before getting to the passage a little reminder, a little ground work so we can have context.
Daniel and his friends were taken into captivity to Babylon during the first captivity in 605 BC.
About 180 years after Northern Kingdom was taken into captivity by Assyrians
Daniel was still a young lad, it was believed to be about 15-16 years old at the time.
Now let’s look at part 1 of the passage, it is a little long so bear with us as we break open God’s Word
Daniel 1:3–4 NASB95
3 Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, the chief of his officials, to bring in some of the sons of Israel, including some of the royal family and of the nobles, 4 youths in whom was no defect, who were good-looking, showing intelligence in every branch of wisdom, endowed with understanding and discerning knowledge, and who had ability for serving in the king’s court; and he ordered him to teach them the literature and language of the Chaldeans.
Daniel 1:5–6 NASB95
5 The king appointed for them a daily ration from the king’s choice food and from the wine which he drank, and appointed that they should be educated three years, at the end of which they were to enter the king’s personal service. 6 Now among them from the sons of Judah were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah.
Daniel 1:7–8 NASB95
7 Then the commander of the officials assigned new names to them; and to Daniel he assigned the name Belteshazzar, to Hananiah Shadrach, to Mishael Meshach and to Azariah Abed-nego. 8 But Daniel made up his mind that he would not defile himself with the king’s 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.
Daniel 1:9–10 NASB95
9 Now God granted Daniel favor and compassion in the sight of the commander of the officials, 10 and the commander of the officials said to Daniel, “I am afraid of my lord the king, who has appointed your food and your drink; for why should he see your faces looking more haggard than the youths who are your own age? Then you would make me forfeit my head to the king.”
Daniel 1:11–12 NASB95
11 But Daniel said to the overseer whom the commander of the officials had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, 12 “Please test your servants for ten days, and let us be given some vegetables to eat and water to drink.
Daniel 1:13–14 NASB95
13 “Then let our appearance be observed in your presence and the appearance of the youths who are eating the king’s choice food; and deal with your servants according to what you see.” 14 So he listened to them in this matter and tested them for ten days.
Daniel 1:15–16 NASB95
15 At the end of ten days their appearance seemed better and they were fatter than all the youths who had been eating the king’s choice food. 16 So the overseer continued to withhold their choice food and the wine they were to drink, and kept giving them vegetables.
What do you see, what do you notice, what sticks out to you?
I think it is a well known fact if you read the O.T. and the N.T. not all are faithful, in fact the reason for this captivity is because of unfaithfulness, whereas they did not learn from the Northern Kingdom being taken, they were unfaithful too and it led to them being taken into captivity too. - But God, God has always kept a faithful remnant. So, remnant it is a common word, and I don’t use Wikipedia very often but look what it says and I believe it hold true.
“The remnant is a recurring theme throughout the Hebrew and Christian Bible. The Anchor Bible Dictionary describes it as "What is left of a community after it undergoes a catastrophe". The concept has stronger representation in the Hebrew Bible and Christian Old Testament than in the Christian New Testament.”
I think this holds true for even Jesus said not all who call me Lord will enter the kingdom of God, not all who call Him Lord are faithful, in our world today many have lost or discounted the fact that God is God and God is just, just as much as He is merciful and full of grace.
So now, bible detectives, let’s investigate the scripture and see what we can learn about this remnant.
Who was to be taken into captivity (v.3-4)?
These were as the world would consider to be the best of the best. On the outside the qualities looked good. But God looks deeper doesn’t He?
The remnant is a recurring theme throughout the Hebrew and Christian Bible. The Anchor Bible Dictionary describes it as "What is left of a community after it undergoes a catastrophe". The concept has stronger representation in the Hebrew Bible and Christian Old Testament than in the Christian New Testament.
These were the ones that were what the world sees as the best of the best.
What was the kings instructions for the captives (v.5)
The best of the best were to be given the best for a reason, now look at the end of (v.5) what was the reason?
Also we see three years of secular, worldly training, God uses that for His purpose with Daniel and his friends, they needed to understand the worlds thinking and ways so they could fulfill God’s purpose and impact the world.
Secular education is not bad, it can be trying to triumph, we can learn from the world and still not be of the world. Though we need to be a faithful remnant when we are in the world and let God’s light shine through us.
What are the names and the Babylonian names given?
Daniel = Belteshazar
Interesting fact each of the changed names was in reference to one of the Babylonian Gods.
Daniel means: God is my judge; Beltshazar means “Bel protect his life”
Hananiah = Shadrach
Hananiah means “the Lord shows grace;” Shadrach means “command of Aku - that is their moon-god”
Mishael = Meshach
Mishael means “who is like God” and Meshach means: “Who is as Aku is?”
Azariah = Abed-Nego
Azariah means “The Lord is my help” - man who would not want to have that name, that reminder every day? - Ok, Abed-Nego means “Servant of Nebo”
(Daniel and his friends picture inserted here)
God placed these young men, these friends in place to be prepared to accomplish the Lord’s purpose. In preparation they had things yet to face.
A difficult trial (Dan1:4-7)
For three years they were going to be indoctrinated into the Babylonian ways
The purpose of this training was to transform them from being Jews to become Babylonians
New land, new names, new customs, new ideas and even a new language.
For three years try to brainwash them into the ways of the world. Wait, hold on, does that sound familiar to our society today?
Now you don’t expect anything less from the world today do you? They want to trade the truth
A discerning test (Dan1:8-16)
Now comes a discerning test. They are already feeling the pressure of the things mentioned before now look in your bibles and lets look together at the discerning test.
Look at (v.8) what did Daniel do, and why?
Daniel purposed in his heart (NKJV); resolved (NIV); made up his mind (NASB); determined (CSB)
He did not want to break Jewish food customs (further proof that Daniel was a part of the faithful remnant)
Who used this discernment for good will (v.9)?
God brings good favor, God still brings good favor today even in the worst of situations
What was the fear, and why the fear (v.10)?
The world lives by fear in many things, whereas Daniel and his friends live by faith. May we glean that from this passage and be people who live and walk by faith.
Look at (vv.11-14), who do you think is testing who?
Do you think God is using this to show the sovereignty of God and the power of God to the Eunuch and the other captives?
Not only the sovereignty of God but their faith in God! They were sure that God was able to deliver them and be glorified through it.
This was a God given opportunity to show that their Jewish faith was superior to that of many other of the captives and the captive takers and their pseudo gods.
What was the result (vv.15-16)?
They appeared better! God always makes things better, even when we don’t understand better, He works out all things for the good!
They did not conform to the world, but in this case they conformed the world through eunuch.

Transform or conform?

We are taking a side journey because of the example given to look at how these young men impacted the world then and how we may learn from it and apply to our lives today.
Romans 12:1–2 NASB95
1 Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. 2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
Conformers are people whose lives are controlled from outside
Transformers are people whose lives are controlled by the power within.
You want to be a transform and transform the world or allow the world to conform you. The world wanted to conform Daniel and his friends. But Daniel and his friends were transformers not conformers. They were not changed by the world, but they did the changing. God used them to transform the minds of the world powers (Eunuch, and Nebuchadnezzar) and as we continue in Daniel you will see they all will give glory to His name.
So there were some things that we can learn from this passage in Daniel and line up with Rom12:1-2.
First, be willing to offer yourself to God (Dan1:8; Rom12:1; Pro4:23)
It takes diligence
Proverbs 4:23 NASB95
23 Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life.
A heart that loves the Lord, trusts the Lord (Pro3:5-6) and therefore obeys the Lord (Jn14:15) other scriptures referenced (Deu8:3; Ps119:103)
Proverbs 3:5–6 NASB95
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart And do not lean on your own understanding. 6 In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He will make your paths straight.
and then the John passage
John 14:15 NASB95
15 “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.
The one who loves, trusts, obeys the Lord does not struggle with doing the right thing and trusting God with the consequences of doing the right thing. It has been said that faith is not believing in spite of the evidence, that is called superstition, but obeying in spite of the consequences. That is what these four young men did and Paul calls for us to do. Offer ourselves trusting God! They could have had the kings food (Dan1:5) but they chose the Lords Word and did that that said (Deu8:3; Ps119:103)
Second, be gracious towards authority (Dan1:8-9; Pro16:7; Rom12:18)
They did not raise a voice, raise a stink with the chief Eunuch they made a simple request.
When doing things in accordance to Gods will, or that you know through the scripture is pleasing to the Lord, God even makes people of the enemies
Proverbs 16:7 NASB95
7 When a man’s ways are pleasing to the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.
(Insert Be Resolute-1 picture here)
Daniel and his friends were resolved not to defile themselves. They did not stage a protest, or start a hunger strike, they did not burn a building or a flag, they became exemplary students, they acted as gentlemen and asked for a simple test to be done.
There maybe times for us to be able to transform the world, one act at a time that we may have to go against the grain of the world. there are many biblical examples and you may be a real life example today of having to be a transformer and not a conformer.
The illustration given in Dan1:8-16 is a vivid illustration of what Jesus says in Mt6:33 (seek ye first the kingdom of God . . .
Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah may have been given new name, place, education and the like, but they did not trade their God at all. So may we learn like they did when we face a problem of doing right or being conformed, ask God to help you and be humble and honest, remember we were not created to please man, but to please God. Don’t go “Lord get me out of this one.” Be one who is says “Lord what can I get out of this?”
What a great example of being resolved, purposed, they displayed God like character personally and then publically. May we be people who can do the same, be resolved! (prayer) (exit slides)
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