Daniel's Holy Determination

Bible Book: Daniel  1 : 8
Subject: Commitment; Discipline; Fathifulness; Determination

We hear much these days about determination. Certainly, determination is a required asset for most any endeavor. If one expects to lose unwanted pounds, they must be determined to do so. If one would develop a thriving business, they must be determined to overcome every obstacle that would keep them from that goal. The realization of one’s goals is likely to be in direct proportion to one’s determination to achieve those goals.

The potential for war with Iraq is on every one's mind these days. President Bush has spoken often of his determination to rid our world of the threat posed by Saddam Hussein. That determination is clearly seen in his decisions and actions of recent months. From what I have seen so far, our president has no intention of merely making idle threats in this matter. He is determined to do what he said, even if it means war.

Likewise, our federal government is apparently determined to protect this nation from acts of terrorism. We have witnessed the initiation of all sorts of safety measures at airports, the formation of emergency preparedness plans and contingency plans, as well as an attempt to keep the general public aware of the possible dangers. All of this is taking place because of our government’s determination to protect its citizens.

Let me try to encapsulate in one phrase the point I want to make clear today: “Determination determines direction.” One’s determination, good or bad, determines the direction of one’s life, as well as one’s choices and actions.

I’ve said all of that to say this: Daniel was a spiritually determined individual. He had made up his mind to serve and obey God, even if it hair- lipped the devil and all of his followers. Daniel would not be dissuaded from his loyalty to God by public opinion or private pressures. He was determined to walk with God; and folk that’s exactly what every child of God should do.

I. Daniel Purposed

A. Notice Daniel’s Circumstances

Too often these days, Christians tend to let circumstances govern their closeness to God, when actually; their closeness to God should be governing their circumstances.

Many years ago A.J. Gordon went to the World's Fair. From a distance he saw a man pumping water with one of those old hand pumps. The water was pouring out and he said as he looked, "That man is really pumping water." But when he got closer, he discovered that it was a wooden man connected to a pump powered by electricity. The man was not pumping the water; the water was pumping him. Source Unknown.

1. Daniel Was A Captive

Daniel 1:1-2, 6, “In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem, and besieged it. 2 And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with part of the vessels of the house of God: which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his god; and he brought the vessels into the treasure house of his god. 6 Now among these were of the children of Judah, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah:”

2. Daniel Was Chosen

Daniel was chosen to serve in the king's court.

Daniel 1:3-5, “And the king spake unto Ashpenaz the master of his eunuchs, that he should bring certain of the children of Israel, and of the king’s seed, and of the princes; 4 Children in whom was no blemish, but well favoured, and skillful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science, and such as had ability in them to stand in the king’s palace, and whom they might teach the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans. 5 And the king appointed them a daily provision of the king’s meat, and of the wine which he drank: so nourishing them three years, that at the end thereof they might stand before the king.”

B. Notice Daniel’s Conviction

Daniel 1:8, “But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.”

The word translated “purposed” comes from a Hebrew word meaning “to determine” (James Strong, S.T.D., LL.D, The Exhaustive Concordance of The Bible, published by MacDonald Publishing Company, McLean, Virginia; #7760 of the Hebrew And Chaldee Dictionary, pg. 113). One translation renders the meaning here with the words, “But Daniel made up his mind not to defile himself…” (Holy Bible, New Living Translation, published by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois; pg. 875).

The defilement that Daniel wished to avoid here was religious and ceremonial, meaning that the food eaten by the king was not “kosher” by Jewish standards. More than likely, the meat eaten by King Nebuchadnezzar had also been offered in sacrifice to the false gods of Babylon. Though Jewish dietary laws could be set aside to preserve one’s life, apparently Daniel saw this as a calculated ploy of the king to wean him away from God. But Daniel would not be pulled away from his God without a battle. He had made up his mind to remain faithful to Jehovah God. Daniel had a conviction about his relationship with God.

Difference between a conviction and a preference, according to the U.S. Supreme Court: A preference is a very strong belief, held with great strength. You can give your entire life in a full-time way to the service of the preference, and can also give your entire material wealth in the name of the belief. You can also energetically proselytize others to your preference. You can also want to teach this belief to your children, and the Supreme Court may still rule that it is a preference.

A preference is a strong belief, but a belief that you will change under the right circumstances. Circumstances such as: 1) peer pressure; if your beliefs are such that other people stand with you before you will stand, your beliefs are preferences, not convictions, 2) family pressure, 3) lawsuits, 4) jail, 5) threat of death; would you die for your beliefs? A conviction is a belief that you will not change. Why? A man believes that his God requires it of him.

Preferences aren't protected by the constitution. Convictions are. A conviction is not something that you discover; it is something that you purpose in your heart (cf. Daniel 1, 2-3). Convictions on the inside will always show up on the outside, in a person's lifestyle. To violate a conviction would be a sin. David C. Gibbs, Jr., Christian Law Association, P.O. Box 30290, Cleveland, Ohio 44130.

“Someone has said, ‘A belief is what you hold; a conviction is what holds you’” (Jerry Bridges, The Practice Of Godliness, published by NavPress, Colorado Springs, Colorado; pg. 153).

One might excuse Daniel somewhat for backpedaling while in the midst of enemy territory. But Daniel had already determined what he would do. He would not forget his God. We can glean a principle here. The Bible tells us that just like Daniel, Christians are living in enemy territory (John 17: 11a & 14); and just like Daniel, we need to make up our minds not to be defiled with the heathen practices of the world.

James 1:27, “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.”

We read in 2 Corinthians 6:16-17, “And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,”

II. Daniel Proved

A. Daniel Was Proved By Observation

Daniel 1:10-13, “And the prince of the eunuchs said unto Daniel, I fear my lord the king, who hath appointed your meat and your drink: for why should he see your faces worse liking than the children which are of your sort? then shall ye make me endanger my head to the king. 11 Then said Daniel to Melzar, whom the prince of the eunuchs had set over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, 12 Prove thy servants, I beseech thee, ten days; and let them give us pulse to eat, and water to drink. 13 Then let our countenances be looked upon before thee, and the countenances of the children that eat of the portion of the king’s meat: and as thou seest, deal with thy servants.”

I wonder how many Christians of our day have enough faith in God, and their walk with Him, to say to the world, “Watch me; observe my life and see whether I pass the test.”

A young American engineer was sent to Ireland by his company to work in a new electronics plant. It was a two-year assignment that he had accepted because it would enable him to earn enough to marry his long-time girlfriend. She had a job near her home in Tennessee, and their plan was to pool their resources and put a down payment on a house when he returned. They corresponded often, but as the lonely weeks went by, she began expressing doubts that he was being true to her, exposed as he was to comely Irish lasses.

The young engineer wrote back, declaring with some passion that he was paying absolutely no attention to the local girls. “I admit,” he wrote, “that sometimes I’m tempted. But I fight it. I’m keeping myself for you.”

In the next mail, the engineer received a package. It contained a note from his girl and a harmonica. “I’m sending this to you,” she wrote, “so you can learn to play it and have something to take your mind off those girls.”

The engineer replied, “Thanks for the harmonica. I’m practicing on it every night and thinking of you.”

At the end of his two-year stint, the engineer was transferred back to company headquarters. He took the first plane to Tennessee to be reunited with his girl. Her whole family was with her, but as he rushed forward to embrace her, she held up a restraining hand and said sternly, “Just hold on there  a minute, Billy Bob. Before any serious kissin’ and huggin’ gets started here, let me hear you play that harmonica!” Bits & Pieces, October 15, 1992, pp. 17-18.

Jesus challenged His disciples with these words: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven” (Matt.5: 16).

B. Daniel’s Progress Was Bountifully Obvious

Daniel 1:14-15, “So he consented to them in this matter, and proved them ten days. 15 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.”

Daniel knew nothing of the New Testament, but he certainly lived by its principles.

Romans 12:2, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

Daniel proved by his faithfulness and faith toward God that God’s way was best. Daniel may have been a captive, but he still had character. He chose to obey God’s will rather than take the course of least resistance. Daniel determined to maintain his godly identity, even in the midst of the enemy. 2a. The world says, “Conform; don’t be a religious fanatic.” God, on the other hand says, “Challenge the world to aspire to a higher standard, by a holy life.” 2b. The world says, “Don’t make waves; learn to blend in.” God says, “…Know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God?” (James 4: 4b).

III. Daniel Prospered

A. Daniel And His Friends Exercised Special Abilities

Daniel 1:17, “As for these four children, God gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom: and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams.”

You don’t have to have unique or special abilities in order to serve God. As a matter of fact, God has given everyone the ability to do something that can be used to glorify Him (I Cor.12: 4-31).

Ride That Horse

“Everyone in the church can do something, depending on their gifts and level of ability.

“There is a riding academy in West Texas that advertises that they have a horse to suit every taste. For big people, they have big horses; for little people, they have little horses. For fast people, they have fast horses; for slow people, they have slow ones. And for people who don’t know how to ride at all, they have horses that have never been ridden before!

“Whatever your taste, when it comes to doing the Lord's work, there is a horse you can ride” (Edited), [Faith & Renewal, Sep/Oct. 1993, Page 5].

Every Christian and every church member should be busy for Jesus. In a recent survey, Lifeway reported that the first and second highest reason given by people for leaving their previous churches is (1) that they did not feel that they were growing and being discipled, and (2) they did not feel useful to the work of God in their churches.

Christians who are busy for Jesus are happy people - and, they are growing in the Lord. Find a place of service for everyone and push some people who are reluctant to serve. Get them on a horse they can ride!!! (Dr. J. Mike Minnix, Editor, PastorLife).

B. Daniel And His Friends Enjoyed Special Acceptance

Daniel 1:18-21, “Now at the end of the days that the king had said he should bring them in, then the prince of the eunuchs brought them in before Nebuchadnezzar. 19 And the king communed with them; and among them all was found none like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: therefore stood they before the king. 20 And in all matters of wisdom and understanding, that the king enquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm. 21 And Daniel continued even unto the first year of king Cyrus.”


Kin Hubbard has said, “I’ll say this for adversity - people seem to be able to stand it, and that’s more than I can say for prosperity.” However, in this case, Daniel received prosperity as a result of being willing to endure the adversity.