Monday, October 31, 2022
Today, I heard a conversation with someone explaining why something is or is not scary to them. Sometimes when we look at Bible stories and really try to imagine what it was like for the people living through these experiences, we think “that must have been scary”. Let’s try to imagine the anxiety and fear Daniel experienced when Babylon’s forces came through and he was taken into captivity. He was chosen as one of the youths who had ability for serving in the king’s court. He was described as flawless, good-looking,“showing intelligence in every branch of wisdom, endowed with understanding and discerning knowledge.” So here is this amazing young man facing captivity in a foreign land and serving a king in a foreign court. He faced overwhelming obstacles as he began his three-year program of education learning the language and literature. But he immediately faced pressure to just conform-just accept the social norm, don’t worry about what is right or wrong? Just believe and do what you are told. But Daniel did not just do what he was told.
As you might know, Daniel is remembered as a righteous and wise follower of God. So how did he do it? How did he choose the moral and right course when he was facing a culture that did not even consider what is right in the eyes of God?
In verse 8 we read that Daniel made up his mind that he would not defile himself. In that instance, it concerned the food he was offered. But the phrase “made up his mind” or “set upon his heart” speaks volumes about who Daniel was and who we should be. He had resolved the matter. He first looked to God who could show him right or wrong, he firmly decided on the right course of action and he followed through. Daniel chose to follow God by doing what was right and moral. This was Daniel’s practice throughout his life and it was sometimes met with opposition and I imagine he experienced fear. (A Lion’s Den is not a place anyone wants to be.) But he was willing to suffer for doing what was right. His actions proved his devotion and love for God. And the Lord sent angels to help along the way. God was with Daniel and his companions. He gave them abilities and miracles to prove that He was there, even in the middle of their captivity. He gave them the strength to stand for what was right. He gave them the ability to conquer fear. Of course, He will help us to do the same.
- When was the last time you were in a scary situation surrounded by the foreign or unknown? How did you handle it? What would you do again in that situation? What would you do differently?
- How would God want you to resolve not to defile yourself?