But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king's delicacies, nor with the wine which he drank; therefore he requested of the chief of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself. Now God had brought Daniel into the favor and good will of the chief of the eunuchs. --- Daniel 1:8, 9
It has often been a theme in children's Bible school sessions. And sometimes pastors have picked up on it a bit. It's the "Dare to Be a Daniel!" challenge to people of faith of all ages.
Anyone with a measure of exposure to Bible stories has doubtless heard of Daniel, the Hebrew captive in Babylon, who refused to compromise his convictions which were rooted in his upbringing. He was keenly aware of Who the God of Israel was and he was further determined to be obedient to this God. As noted in the statement above, he would not compromise those convictions and three friends chose to join him while a bunch of others probably felt it would not make any difference by eating and drinking whatever was set before them. You also don't read anything more about those compromising Hebrews, do you?
We are clearly living in a time in which there is an embarrassing reluctance to be a Daniel within the ranks of those professing to hold to the Christian faith! This is seen in two ways:
- Conviction to stand faithfully by the standards which God has established for holy living and witness. The common word now is compromise and "don't rock the boat!" Increasing numbers are entering into the "dialog" mode -- various issues on which there is sharp disagreement are resolved through the "dialog" process -- parties with differing positions sit down at a table and discuss these with the understanding that each respects the other and the position which the other side represents. One of the greatest examples of this disaster is the "dialog" sessions taking place on the subject of the practices of sodomy and lesbianism. Those advocating such practices really don't care if you disagree with them so long as you are willing to "dialog" and eventually all work together within the established church for the good of the Kingdom! It's those few of us who are the "homophobes" who refuse to "dialog" that give the church a bad name, right?
- Honest confession in prayer with unapologetic recognition that political and religious leadership erred and brought about a direction in the life of the people which led to an indescribable disaster. Daniel was thoroughly honest in his assessment as to why he was in Babylon rather than back in the kingdom of his native Judah enjoying freedom as a citizen there. Note some things he said as he prayed:
And I prayed to the LORD my God, and made confession, and said, "O Lord, great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant and mercy with those who love Him, and with those who keep His commandments, we have sinned and committed iniquity, we have done wickedly and rebelled, even by departing from Your precepts and Your judgments. Neither have we heeded Your servants the prophets, who spoke in Your name to our kings and our princes, to our fathers and all the people of the land." --- Daniel 9:4-6
Later it is noted by Daniel that he confessed his sin and the sin of his people Israel. It was then that the angel Gabriel appeared to him with some rather startling news about some future happenings!
At this point in time all indications are that this thing of confessing as well as repenting of sin is something to be avoided -- dare to be a Daniel? Well, maybe up to a point -- but to do so wholeheartedly places one in a very difficult position -- it's like being the point man on a military patrol to rout out the enemy -- you're the first one in line and you are the first target of attack!
The majority trend is this -- compromise a bit here and there in order to maintain "peace" and whatever you do, don't bring this subject of sin to our attention -- people don't want to hear about that! Or to put it another way by rephrasing an approach taken by former President Bill Clinton -- "Just what do you mean by sin?"
How many are out there in the republic of the United States who will dare to be a Daniel with the conviction that obedience to God is an absolute must and the conditions under which we presently live demand total honesty in a true spirit of repentance and prayers of confession?
Look -- over there in the distance-- do you see them -- isn't that a majority I see that is holding banners with very large and bold letters saying, "We are most reluctant to be a Daniel -- in fact, we don't want to be like him!"
"Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: 'Because you have forgotten Me and cast Me behind your back, therefore you shall bear the penalty of your lewdness and your harlotry.'" The LORD also said to me: "Son of man, will you judge Oholah and Oholibah? Then declare to them their abominations. For they have committed adultery, and blood is on their hands. They have committed adultery with their idols, and even sacrificed their sons whom they bore to Me, passing them through the fire, to devour them. Moreover they have done this to Me: They have defiled My sanctuary on the same day and profaned My Sabbaths. For after they had slain their children for their idols, on the same day they came into My sanctuary to profane it; and indeed thus they have done in the midst of My house." --- Ezekiel 23:35-39