By Pastor Wayne Moore,
High Point Baptist Church
Daniel, from the Bible, is a well-known and well-respected individual. You may know him best by an event that took place when he was an old man. I’m sure you have heard the account of Daniel and the Lion’s Den. But long before Daniel faced those lions, he had made the decision to follow God and not compromise his faith. The first big challenge to Daniel’s beliefs came when he was a teenager. The way he handled himself in that test is a wonderful example for us to follow. There are three applications that I would like to make from Daniel chapter one: be godly, be respectful, and be wise.
Daniel chose to be godly and not compromise his convictions. “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.” (Daniel 1:8 NKJV) Daniel teaches us that we don’t have to be old to be godly. It is also true that we don’t have to be young to be ungodly. We can be godly or ungodly at any age. Choose to be godly no matter how young or old you are. For that matter, be godly wherever you are. Daniel was a captive in a foreign land, but he did not use that as an excuse to be ungodly. I wonder if the Apostle Peter had Daniel in mind centuries later when he addressed the Jewish believers who were scattered throughout the Roman Empire, “Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul, having your conduct honorable among the Gentiles, that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may, by your good works which they observe, glorify God in the day of visitation.” (1 Peter 2:11-12 NKJV)
Daniel also chose to be respectful. Notice in verse 8 that “he requested of the chief of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.” He did not pitch a fit, raise his voice, nor demand his rights. Furthermore, he was considerate of the precarious position of the chief eunuch, and offered a godly alternative to the steward in charge of his rations. “And the chief of the eunuchs said to Daniel, ‘I fear my lord the king, who has appointed your food and drink. For why should he see your faces looking worse than the young men who are your age? Then you would endanger my head before the king.’ So, Daniel said to the steward whom the chief of the eunuchs had set over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, ‘Please test your servants for ten days, and let them give us vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then let our appearance be examined before you, and the appearance of the young men who eat the portion of the king’s delicacies; and as you see fit, so deal with your servants.’” (Daniel 1:10-13 NKJV) Daniel submitted to the authority that was over him, and he trusted God with the outcome. He was not disappointed. “And at the end of ten days their features appeared better and fatter in flesh than all the young men who ate the portion of the king’s delicacies. Thus, the steward took away their portion of delicacies and the wine that they were to drink, and gave them vegetables.” (Daniel 1:15-16 NKJV)
As a result of Daniel’s godliness and respect, “God gave them knowledge and skill in all literature and wisdom.” (Daniel 1:17 NKJV) This wisdom does not come from having a high I.Q. or from a university. The Bible tells us how to be wise. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding. (Proverbs 9:10 NKJV) Regardless of intellect, anyone can be wise. When we reverence God as Daniel did, God gives us wisdom. It does not come from us; it comes from God.
You do not have to be old to be godly, respectful, and wise. Neither do you have to be young to be ungodly, disrespectful, and foolish. We can all be godly, respectful, and wise at any age. It begins with the fear of the Lord.