Tested and Approved Part 2

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A Good Conscience towards God

Dan. 1; 8-21

          Last time we saw Daniel and his friends; things were getting sticky. They found themselves as slaves and being brainwashed into being nice, neat little Babylonians. They found themselves right smack dab in a trap. This trap was a trap of conscience; could the king get Daniel and the rest to change themselves, change their convictions simply because they had changed locations. The meat that came from the King’s table probably was the best food in the land; yet it was defiled meat in the eyes of Daniel and his friends because it had been offered in worship of an idol before it was eaten. Therefore, the meat according to the OT standard was defiled and it would defile anyone who touched it.

          Before we jump right into the main stream of the message; I can’t help but make a correlation of what Daniel and his friends faced and what is taught in our world today, which we face everyday.

          There are two words I want you to be aware of; one is called Absolute ethics and the other situational ethics. Maybe you have heard of the first; it usually is heard from the lips of its critics; like so-called professors in some liberal colleges, as he or she decries to their students that there is no such things as “Absolutes” for life anymore. There are no more ‘wrongs’ or ‘rights’ anymore, no one is right and no one is wrong, everything and everyone is relative. Usually you see them on Larry King, denouncing everyone besides them as narrowed minded, old dated, prejudice and dumb. They think that the greatest liberty to be found is a liberty from everything even when it comes to doing right. This crowd believes in the other word that I want you to remember, which is situational ethics. Basically put; this means that the situation that you are in dictates your ethics.

And just what does these two look like?

          Image with me that you have dropped your wallet, or purse and your c.c.’s are in there, your money, checking account, s.s. etc. You haven’t noticed it, so you keep on walking on.

The first person to come by and pick up your wallet lives by absolutes ethics. She comes by and opens it up, sees your DL, pictures, C.C.’s, money, or check book, and thinks, this person must have lost this, they surely will miss it, this isn’t mine, so I better return it. So she returns your wallet safe and sound, it’s all there.

          But suppose a person picks up your wallet and looked to see your money, c.c., check book, s.s.# card( by the way a valid s.s. # is worth more money on the streets than you would think) The first thought that rushes to their mind is; “this must be my lucky day! Look at all the goodies I found!” They think, well it’s mine now, it’s not stealing if you finding, they say. They move on and use what they have found.

          Though we made this up, I bet it happens more often than you think. The one person that lived by absolutes, felt it was wrong to take what didn’t belong to them, no matter what situation it was.

          The other person however, let the situation (nobody around, nobody looking, nobody asking, “have you seen my wallet”) dictate his ethics and he took what was really someone else’s.   

          You be might be thinking, well this doesn’t matter to me right now, you may be right. But when its you that has lost your wallet or purse, then it will matter.

          Who do we have to thank for situational ethics? I think we have the school system to thank to some degree. They might not be teaching this directly, but they sure teach a lot about nobody, no nothing being wrong anymore. Go to any college Phc 101 class and you will hear that there are no moral absolutes, in fact they say the reason why there is crime and violence is because society has tried to cage the human spirit and make it a slave to the laws of man. Crime could be avoided if people were allowed to indulge themselves, they reason out from the writing of Freud.  I know, I sat through a class like that.

          But it even starts earlier than college, it starts when the kid in class does wrong, and the teacher says, well I can’t use the word ‘wrong’ because that would damage his emotional state of mind. I might lose my job, because I enforced some set of moral accountability that their parents don’t agree with.

          But the blame doesn’t solely rest on the shoulders of the school system, because when you think about it, the school house was never designed to teach character, absolutes or morals in the first place; the home was.

          The majority of blame for this situational ethics that is just oozing out of kids can be traced back to their home. You see, kids take on the character of Mom and Dad until their own individual makeup starts to show. But even then it is just a new version of the same old junk found it mom and dad.

           Listen, are you teaching you kids it’s ok to lie as long as you don’t get caught? Are you teaching you kids it’s ok to steal as long as you don’t get caught? Or are you teaching them it’s ok to disobey God as long as you aren’t confronted? If Moms and dads are living this way, rest assured that the kids will pick up on it.

          Well guess what, Daniel’s Mom and dad sure taught him, That it was never ok to go against God. They taught him some absolutes! And it didn’t matter if he was in their house, under their watch and care, or carried away as a slave to Babylon. IT’S NEVER right TO GO AGAISNT GOD, WHEREEVER YOU ARE!

          Because of his absolute ethics, Daniel faced a serious test. He refused to eat. We covered the test last time, so we will look at how Daniel came out with a good conscience toward men and God.

I. A Good Conscience is a Tested Conscience.

Dan 1:12 Prove thy servants, I beseech thee, ten days; and let them give us pulse to eat, and water to drink.

A. Daniel’s Test.

Daniel himself puts forth the test, let us have pulse and water for ten days, then let them look on us to see who looks better.

This Pulse is translated (seeds) elsewhere and usually means peas, beans, and the seeds that grow in pods.[1]

 This was a simple form of diet, nothing out of the ordinary at all. Nothing ordinary except that it was a form of separating from the rest of the world around him because it went against his conscience, his absolutes. I bet Daniel had to take some heat from some of those other slaves. I’m sure there were some in Daniels’s group that made a fuss, saying “you going to ruin it for us all, Daniel” “We have the best there is, and you will ruin it for us all” “Don’t be so uptight, Daniel; live a little; after all we know you love God in your heart”. I like to think that Daniel turned to his fellow slaves and said, I’m not trying to be uptight, guys; but just upright in God’s eyes.

So Daniel and his three friends have their test.

B. Our Test of Conscience

          For Daniel the test was in the form of a meal, “to eat or not to eat”. For us the test may be different completely but the same principle will be involved. Being a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ means that your conscience will be tested. There’s no need to run and hide or postpone the inevitable; you might as well face the fact that the devil knows where you live, work, and hang out, and he will be waiting there to test your conscience, to see if you really believe what you say you believe.

For some the test of their conscience is:

Lying, cheating, stealing, drinking, pornography, the internet, laziness, careless, indifference, apathy, anger, self pity.

These are the areas where our conscience will be tested day in and day out, as long as we are in this body; you had better know your weakness and get it as far away from you as possible. The point is, the test will come to you. So you ought to be ready, no matter where you are.

II. The Rewarding of a Good Conscience

Dan 1:17 -20


 A. God rewarded them.

          God rewarded them with understanding, knowledge, skill in learning, with the result that they were able to stand before the king! What a coveted virtues! They stood up for their walk with God; and God didn’t hang them out to dry! God rewarded them with virtues that they used to better their standing in their society!

          God didn’t let them go unrewarded for standing up for the truth. I think that a lot of Christians realize when they are being tested in what they believe, but they have this notion that the test will never end, that they will go to the grave being continually tested without any reprieve at all. “Woe is me,” prefaces all their statements. That is not true. We are not always under the gun, we are not always being tested at this particular moment. The testing of these disciples came and they stood firm! And guess what, the time of testing came and went for now! I like what Dr, Roloff used to say, he said, “Thank God that it came to pass, and not come to stay”!  There will be times when we are put to the test, they will come to pass and not come to stay!

Parents are put to the test. Parents, you have a small window of time to get to your child’s heart. Studies have shown that at the age of 6; 80 % of the basic character of a child has been formed. That means if there isn’t some drastic changes made in their life; then they will be an adult acting with the character of a six year old.

If they don’t know what a lie is, if they can’t respect authority over them, if they don’t have structural in their lives; if they don’t know about Jesus Christ, chances are against them ever knowing these things. They will grow up physical but their emotional and spiritual character will be that of a spoiled child. 

Parents, these early years are testing years, growing years, teaching years, not relaxing years, retiring years. Those relaxing years come after you have done your job as a parent. By the way, if you feel torn between being your child’s friend and parent. I want you to know they need a parent more than they need a friend at this stage of life. If you are a loving parent first, you will earn their respect later to be their friend. You better decide what you want to be towards your child; because you will find it extremely hard to be both during these early years. I can give the names of parents whose kids are 16-17-18 years old and they don’t want anything to do will their parents; neither as their friends nor as parents! Oh, yes they want them went they need to be baded out of jail, they want they when they need more money for their addictions, they need some one to buy them a new car, because they wrecked the other.

 All the while the parents wonder where they went wrong.

They went wrong, because they failed as their child’s parents. Parents you should except to be tested in these early years.

We should except to be tested as Christians.

Could it be, that if we excuse ourselves for the test, that we still have to face it anyway, it’s inevitable.  In fact if we excuse ourselves we are really prolonging this time of testing? The sooner we face up to it and stand on our convictions; I believe the sooner we will come out of it and have the chance to be rewarded like these disciples were. 

Times of testing come, but they leave and hopefully if you are what you should be, you will reap a reward from God.

III. The Glow of a good Conscience

And at the end of ten days their countenances appeared fairer and fatter in flesh than all the children which did eat the portion of the king’s meat. V15

I have saved this on purpose, because it relates some much to today. Remember what I said, last time that your conscience isn’t an organ, or tissue, its not a part of your physical body; but! Your conscience effects your physical body, and especially your countenance, your composure, your facial expression reveals your conscience. I remember what a pastor told me; he said        “Greg, you can tell most of the time who the Lord is working on while you preach.”

          I asked, “How”

He said, “By the witness of their countenance.”

He’s right. Daniel and his three friends didn’t go against their conscience and they had a purer, happier, countenance about them than those who knew they were doing wrong and did it anyway.   

Sin shows on the face! The HS will draw a contrast between himself and those in sin. Have ever seen some one that just had a glow about them. They radiate because they have a good conscience toward God!

That’s what this world needs to see, they need to see God through a good conscience that is right with God! The devil doesn’t want you to glow, that’s why he works to keep you in unconfessed sin and self pity. Because that robs the glow from your face and thereby robs the world of a witness to God. 


Remember your conscience will be tested, so just except it and strengthen it to pass the test.

When the test is over their will be a time of rewarding, if you’re a re worthy and you can be; Daniel was just like us, a sinner. If he could do it, so can you!

You will have a glow about you that everyone envies, that everyone wished they had.

If a good conscience towards God glows upon the face; I wonder what the face of Jesus must have looked like; because his conscience never had one stain of sin upon it, it never knew the disobedience that has scared ours; man there must have been just something about Jesus that made him stick out in a crowd!

If we are real disciples in these darks days, we will glow and radiant just like our Lord! 


[1]Smith, W. (1997). Smith's Bible dictionary (electronic ed. of the revised ed.). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

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