Lesson 5 -- fourth quarter 1997
October 5, 1997
© Copyright 1997, Christian Light Publications
Daniel. "Dare to be a Daniel," we sing sometimes. This kind of daring takes more than courage of the moment. This kind of daring obviously requires way, way, way more than recklessness, rashness, and risk taking. This kind of daring is distinguished by considered commitment to integrity and faithfulness. So let's try to project Daniel into your youth group (which I obviously don't know).
Your home has certain rules of conduct, as do your congregation and the state in which you live. So Daniel strives to live by the rules that apply to you. Do you? Your teacher at school lives by a standard that in one regard is lower than the standards established by your parents. But Daniel maintains his respect for the teacher and his parents. Do you? That book or tape making the rounds is of inferior moral and spiritual qualities. Daniel turns down his turn, explaining his reasons and motivations without accusation. Do you? As a group of you drives along in a borrowed vehicle, one turns on the car radio. Daniel challenges the decision and the choices. Do you?
My point in all this isn't to put you on a guilt trip. Neither is it to teach you to compare yourself with others. I want you to see clearly, though, that Daniel's success in a heathen land almost surely depended on his integrity and faithfulness at home among his family and his peers. Of course the same goes for you!
God is not mocked. We reap what we sow. How foolish to sow carelessness, disobedience, rebellion and disrespect...and then expect to reap a harvest of blessing, conviction and strength! How unreasonable to think you can develop less than noble habits and manners of conduct at home or among "your people," then perform nobly and spiritually when the "big" tests among the heathen come. Those who sow wild oats, reap wild oats. And they discover that while the sowing stage might have been "fun," the reaping stage is extremely bitter.
Do you think Daniel felt uncomfortable standing for his conviction and the teachings of his heritage and his God? I am inclined to think that Daniel felt comfortable in the sense that this was familiar territory to him. I doubt this was the first time he had stood for conviction. The geographical place of his stand was new and unfamiliar to him, but the spiritual position on which he stood was not.
Do you think Daniel battled fear and uncertainty as he presented his alternative to the prince of the eunuchs? Though we have no record of Daniel's feelings, we can be certain again that Daniel's uncompromising, sacrificing trust in God was not a sudden development in his life. I'm reminded of someone else, "Sir, I've never fought a giant like this fellow before. But God helped me kill a bear and a lion. He will help me again this time."
Do you think Daniel was surprised at the outcome of the test? I doubt it. But even if the outcome had been less favorable, I'm convinced Daniel would have been at peace. You see, he strikes me as a young person who had tested and tried God and His promises, and knew Him and them to be true. So if he and his friends would have had to face punishment for their stand, they would have done so with full confidence in God. How can I be so sure? Remember the den and the furnace!
May God give us conviction and courage. And may we seek them now!
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