This week’s lesson takes us back to the book of Daniel. BSF makes it clear that the reason for this is for two purposes: as a witness of God’s faithful servants in a foreign land and how God uses those faithful servants in preparation for His kingdom. The key things to keep in mind and look for then are faithfulness and kingdom.
This directly ties back to the ongoing study of Revelation because these same themes are the crux of “the rest of the story.” In the letters to the churches, they were commended for their faithfulness. We will see the Son of Man coming on a cloud and the righteous judgement of God delivered.
That is all big picture stuff, and important to keep in mind as we read the 4 chapters of Daniel this week. But, it is equally meaningful to pick up the applications from the book of Daniel that God is calling you and me to apply to our lives.
The first and greatest one for me are the 6 words in Daniel 1:8, “Daniel resolved not to defile himself.”
To be resolved is to be firm in purpose or intent. This is an area all can agree on, secular or faithful alike: People that live a more intentional and purpose driven life do better than those who are constantly tossed about by the waves. That is a theme in almost every organization, self-help, business growth book, as well as a common message from Christian writers. There method is the same, the goals and definition of what “doing better” mean however are very different, which brings us to the second part of this statement.
“Not to defile himself.” Defile is an interesting word because it simultaneously means a broad range of states. Synonyms range from mar and impair to destroy, ruin and rape. Daniel resolved not to do any of those things to himself.
The thing I find most interesting in this and in greatest contrast to the way most of us live is that Daniel didn’t “pick his battles.” He didn’t yield in little things but stay strong in big things. He set his intent and purpose to not defile himself, period. Not a nick, not a mar, not impaired in any way.
In what little ways are you unintentionally allowing yourself to be defiled? Is it the shows you watch or the movies you see? Is it the commercials you allow during the shows? Is it the books you read or the language you listen to or repeat? Is it the little things you take that don’t really belong to you (pens and office supplies from your employer)? Is it the images and websites you see and spend time on? Is it the way you fail to set time apart each and every day to spend in prayer and the study of God’s word?
Being faithful could simply be defined using these 6 words, “I resolve to not defile myself.” When we do that, the Holy Spirit will help do the rest. It is the path God chooses for us, a path that leads to holiness and robes of white instead of robes marred and stained by sin. It is a path of daily walking with God, in the same way that professional athlete and musicians “practice like they perform”, we are called to stay faithful in the little things every day.
Not to defile himself, to stay separate and not eat the food or drink the wine of the kingdom. He received attention of the chief official and the guard over them and proposed a test of himself and 3 others (SMA), after 10 days they were healthier,
better nourished. Excelled in knowledge and understanding and Daniel could understand visions and dreams.
They stood out as men faithful to God, ultimately all of their lives were saved (fiery furnace/lions den) – all also prospered in the new kingdom in power and authority
Daniel is a great example of God’s reward for obedience in the most tempting and most challenging situations: the little things in life.