Daniel 1:1-21 - Standing firm in Spiritual Integrity
1. Why Daniel?
a) One of the most important books in the bible.
(1) It demonstrates that the bible is the inerrant word of god, all written by the holy spirit. consider the references to daniel:
Ezekiel writes that “even if these three men, Noah, Daniel, and job, were in it, they would deliver only themselves by their righteousness," says the lord god (Ezekiel 14:14).
Even though Noah, Daniel, and job were in it, as i live," says the lord god, "they would deliver neither son nor daughter; they would deliver only themselves by their righteousness."
(behold, you are wiser than daniel!
there is no secret that can be hidden from you!
Matthew 24:15 (ref. daniel 8:13; 9:27; 11:31; 12:11)
"Therefore when you see the 'abomination of desolation,' spoken of by daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place" (whoever reads, let him understand),
Matthew 24:21 (ref, daniel 12:1)
For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the world until this time, no, nor ever shall be.
Matthew 24:30 (ref, daniel 7:13)
Then the sign of the son of man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the son of man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.
Matthew 26:63-65 (ref, daniel 7:13, 14)
But Jesus kept silent. and the high priest answered and said to him, "i put you under oath by the living god: tell us if you are the christ, the son of god!"  Jesus said to him, "it is as you said. Nevertheless, i say to you, hereafter you will see the son of man sitting at the right hand of the power, and coming on the clouds of heaven."  then the high priest tore his clothes, saying, "he has spoken blasphemy! What further need do we have of witnesses? Look, now you have heard his blasphemy!
"So when you see the 'abomination of desolation,' spoken of by daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not" (let the reader understand), "then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.
Daniel 7:13-14, really forms the groundwork of all our lord’s pronouncements concerning his second coming (Matthew 10:23; 126:27,28; 19:28; 24:30; 25:31)
b) One of the few books describing gentile history in advance:
(1) Daniel is as timely as the newspaper or tv news.
(2) It contains the most amazing passages in the entire bible:
(3) Consider chapter 2 – nebuchadnezzar’s dream; chapter 9 – the seventy weeks of Daniel.
B. Daniels Consecration To God.
Daniel is one of the most facinating books of the Bible to study, in fact it is known that there is only 2 people, besides Jesus of course, that the Bible has nothing negative to say about. The other person is Joseph. Following his first invasion of Judah and siege of Jerusalem in 606 b.c., Nebuchadnezzar took hostage dozens of quality Jewish youths (who were probably in their teenage years) to help make certain the success of his long-range plans for world dominance. One of those youths was especially destined for greatness, and today his name is synonymous with integrity and an uncompromising spirit. His name is Daniel.
Daniel was no older than you, he was your age. He was suddenly taken hostage to Babylon hundreds of miles away from home. At your age, suddenly be taken from your house, friends, family, transported hundreds of miles away from home for the purpose of being trained into another culture, and there they were offered all kinds of luxuries & temptations.
It’s sort of easy to go with the flow when you are around home and around friends who love the Lord, its sort of easy to go along with it. Then there are some who go off to college and don’t have the strong church & family influence & get exposed to different temptations and opportunities for sin, and they just want to sort of taste the things of the world because they want to see what it is like. And a lot of times they get off base because they are away from the solid spiritual environment that they once lived in. It is really a time of testing to see how deep your commitment is to the Lord. That is the way it was for Daniel, taken hundreds of miles away all godly influence and placed in an ungodly environment with all its temptations and influences and everything was available that he could want. But we read (1:8).
In the personal history of Daniel (chapters 1–6), we find three different times of difficulty: the testing of the four Hebrews when they arrived at Babylon (chap. 1); the fiery furnace (chap. 3); and the lions’ den (chap. 6). In each of these experiences, Daniel and his friends won the victory, but the very first victory was the foundation for the other victories. Because these Jewish boys were faithful to God while they were yet teenagers, God was faithful to them in the years that followed.
Daniel describes how Nebuchadnezzar planned to train the hostages for leadership positions in his expanded empire (Daniel 1:3-4).
C. Daniel and His Three Friends
1. The Sovereignty of God (v.2)
a) The Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand.
(1) The Book of Daniel emphasizes the sovereignty of God in the affairs of nations. Jerusalem did not fall merely because Nebuchadnezzar was strong, but because God had judged the people of Judah for their disobedience and idolatry.
(2) The remainder of the articles were removed later when Jehoiakim surrendered (see 2 Kings 24:13; 2 Chronicles 36:18).
2. Daniel’s New Home (v.1-2).
a) No longer surrounded by Godly influences.
(1) The Youth Were Suffering Because Of The Sins Of Their Parents.
(a) The Jews had refused to repent and obey the Lord, so (as Jeremiah had warned) the Babylonian army came in 606-586 B.C. and dominated the land. It was their practice to take the finest of the youths to Babylon for preparation in the king’s court.
(b) In v. 3 we see what fine specimens these four lads were: they were physically strong and handsome, socially experienced and well liked by others, mentally keen and well educated, and spiritually devoted to the Lord.
(2) Remember That You Are Surrounded By A Great Cloud Of Witnesses (Heb.11).
(a) We are all creatures of motivation. We need a reason for doing things and we need encouragement while we are doing them. One of the greatest motivations and encouragements to the unbelieving Jews, as well as to Christians, would be all these great believers from the past, their heroes, who lived the life of faith.
(b) The cloud of witnesses are all those faithful saints just mentioned in chapter 11. We are to run the race of faith like they did, always trusting, never giving up, no matter what the obstacles or hardships or cost.
(c) They knew how to run the race of faith. They opposed Pharaoh, they forsook the pleasures and prerogatives of his court, they passed through the Red Sea, shouted down the walls of Jericho, conquered kingdoms, shut the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, received back their dead by resurrection, were tortured, mocked, scourged, imprisoned, stoned, sawn in two, had to dress in animal skins, were made destitute—all for the sake of their faith.
(d) Now the writer says, “You should run like they did. It can be done, if you run as they did—in faith. They ran and ran and ran, and they had less light to run by than you have. Yet they were all victorious, every one of them.”
3. Daniels Reeducation (v.4)
a) Young men (v.4)… in whom
(1) There Was No Blemish, Good Looking, Gifted, Wisdom, & Quick To Understand (v.4a).
(a) Physical or intellectual qualities do not determine a person’s character. They do not guarantee leadership capability. Many persons with “physical defects” and without outstanding mental “aptitude” have been outstanding leaders.
When Samuel went to Jesse to annoint his son as King, he looked at the outwared appearance: "When they entered, he looked at Eliab and thought, “Surely the Lord’s anointed is before Him.” But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” " (1 Samuel 16:6-7, NASB95)
This was even said about Paul the apostle, they said that, "For some say, “Don’t worry about Paul. His letters are demanding and forceful, but in person he is weak, and his speeches are really bad!”" (2 Corinthians 10:10, NLT)
Remember, God sees everything, "And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account." (Hebrews 4:13)
b) Young men… in whom they might teach the language & literature of the Chaldeans (v.4).
(1) Daniel’s New Education, the Wisdom of the World.
(a) Daniel had to study what the Chaldeans had learned in mathematics, astronomy, natural history, agriculture, and architecture. At this point there was nothing wrong with increasing their knowledge of these matters.
(b) Nebuchadnezzar’s ultimate goal was to conform Daniel’s spiritual, moral, & ethical standards!
(c) This was a sophisticated brainwashing program & Satan wants to do the same thing to you with the things of this world (Romans 12:1-2).
(i) Be conformed refers to an outward expression that does not reflect what is within. It is used of masquerading, or putting on an act, specifically by following a prescribed pattern or scheme (schēma). The verb itself is passive and imperative,
(a) the passive indicating that conformation is something we allow to be done to us,
(b) the imperative indicating a command, not a suggestion. Paul’s gentle but firm command is that we are not to allow ourselves to be conformed to this world.
(ii) Be transformed is a passive imperative. Positively, we are commanded to allow ourselves to be changed outwardly into conformity to our redeemed inner natures.
“We all,” Paul assured the Corinthians believers, “with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit” (2 Cor. 3:18).
(iii) Although we are to seek this outward change, it can be accomplished only by the Holy Spirit working in us, by our being “filled with the Spirit” (Eph. 5:18).
(d) Nebuchadnezzar wanted Daniel and the other young men to:
(i) Deny their Jewish heritage, forsake God, and set aside the truth of God’s Word for the sake of the Babylonian Empire.
4. Daniel’s New Diet (v.5)
a) The king appointed for them a daily provision of the King’s delicacies (v.5)
(1) Eating of the Forbidden Food:
(2) Daniel knew the Old Testament dietary restrictions that God had established for His people, including rules for cleanliness in food preparation and consumption (Lev. 7:23–27; 11:1–47; Deut. 12:15–28; 14:1–29).
(a) Before the food and wine were set out, they were dedicated to Babylon’s false gods.
(b) The Law of Moses forbade the Jews from participating in any forms of idolatry: “You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. You shall not worship them or serve them; for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God” (Ex. 20:4–5; cf. Lev. 19:4; Deut. 5:7–8).
(c) If Daniel had eaten any portion of the royal food offered to foreign gods, he would have been participating in a pagan feast, a form of idolatry.
(3) God commanded Adam not to eat of the forbidden fruit (Gen.2:15-17), but Satan tempted Eve & she and Adam both ate of the fruit (Gen.3:1-7)
5. Receiving New Names (v.6-7)
a) To them the chief of the eunuchs gave names (v.6):
(1) Identity, Personality, & Way Of Life Were All Bound Up In An Individuals Name.
(In fact, in some older societies, if something or someone had no name, the people viewed him or it as having no being or existence.)
(a) Daniel—“God is judge” became “Belteshazzar” for “Bel provides” or “Bel’s prince.” Externally, Daniel’s new name suggested he was a disciple of a pagan god (Bel or Baal). But internally, Daniel had the courage to set standards and remain a servant of the true God.
(b) Hananiah—(“Jehovah is gracious”) became Shadrach (“the command of the moon god”).
(c) Mishael— (“Who is like God?”) became Meshach (“who is like Venus,” one of the heathen gods).
(d) Azariah (“Jehovah is my helper”)—became Abed-nego (“the servant of Nego,” another heathen god).
(2) Daniel Drew The Line:
(a) The Babylonians hoped that these new names would help the youths forget their God and gradually become more like the heathen people with whom they were living and studying.
(b) The Babylonians could change Daniel’s home, textbooks, menu, and name, but they could not change his heart.
You must draw lines of conviction where Scripture draws them. If the truth of God’s Word is opposed to the world’s wisdom on a certain issue, you must align yourself with God’s Word.
(c) Satan wants us to feed on what the world offers, to identify (‘name’) ourselves according to the world, and to educate ourselves in the ways of the world.
6. Daniel Had A Shameless Courage (v.8)
a) But Daniel purposed in his heart the he would not defile himself (v.8)
But is an important word. It identifies his separation from the rest of the people and from the rest of the world. Daniel is not following the influence & flow of the world (Eph.2:1-3).
Paul wrote to the Ephesians saying, "And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind… " (Ephesians 2:1-3, NKJV)
(1) Satan is called the prince of the power of the air (Eph.2), & is now the ruler & god of this world (John 12:31) & his spirit is now working through “spiritual forces of wickedness” (Eph.6:12).
(2) Satan’s purpose is not only to get you to do evil things (Gal.5:19-21), but to think and believe evil things about God (2Cor.11:13-15).
(3) Jesus said the Devil is the Father of those who desire to do his will (John 8).
(4) Romans 6 makes clear a characteristic of disobedience to God, that “you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin resulting in death, or of obedience resulting in righteousness” (Rom. 6:16).
(5) Paul then characterizes the believer as one who obeys God “from the heart” (v. 17).
b) Daniel Purposed In His heart that he would not defile himself (v.8)
I want God to use my life and today we are living in a time where God is looking for people that want to consecrate their lives unto God:
"So I sought for a man among them who would make a wall, and stand in the gap before Me on behalf of the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found no one." (Ezekiel 22:30, NKJV)
"For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him. ”" (2 Chronicles 16:9, NKJV)
(1) Daniel Did Not Take the Easy Way Out. Daniel requested of the chief of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself. Daniel displayed a shameless courage, which is a trait of an uncompromising life (Joseph / how could I do this wicked thing against my God! Gen.39).
(2) Defile carries the thought of polluting, contaminate, adulterate, corrupt, staining (see also Isaiah 59:3, Zephaniah 3:1, and Malachi 1:7).
(a) When Daniel requested that he might not defile himself implies that he explained the spiritual basis for his request. He didn’t justify what he was doing on the basis of good health or any other thing, only giving the pursuit of godliness as the reason.
(i) God has given us everything we need to live a godly life (2 Peter 1:1-11).
(3) Proverbs 29:25 begins, “The fear of man brings a snare.” Most people, believers included, allow themselves to be intimidated by the opinions of others and therefore fall short of the scriptural standard of shameless courage. But Daniel and other great figures in the Bible believed that “he who trusts in the Lord will be exalted” (v. 25b).
(a) Saul feared the people rather than God (1 Samuel 15:24).
(b) Pilate Feared Being Rejeced (Luke 23:13-25).
(c) When you fear God you will also fear sin (Prov.16:6)
(d) The fear of God leads to the obedience of God (Ex.1:15-21)
(e) The thief on the cross feared God (Matt.27:44; Mk.15:32 cf. Luke 23:32-43)
(4) Scripture Is Filled With Examples Of Those Who Trust In God With Shameless Courage.
The Psalmist said, "I have proclaimed the good news of righteousness In the great assembly; Indeed, I do not restrain my lips, O Lord, You Yourself know. I have not hidden Your righteousness within my heart; I have declared Your faithfulness and Your salvation; I have not concealed Your lovingkindness and Your truth From the great assembly." (Psalm 40:9-10, NKJV)
Isaiah wrote, "“For the Lord God will help Me; Therefore I will not be disgraced; Therefore I have set My face like a flint, And I know that I will not be ashamed." (Isaiah 50:7, NKJV)
Paul said to the Philippians, "Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel, and not in any way terrified by your adversaries, which is to them a proof of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that from God." (Philippians 1:27-28, NKJV)
And writing to Timothy he says, "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God," (2 Timothy 1:7-8, NKJV)
c) Daniel Purposed in his heart…(v.8) – where does this begin?
(1) Denying Yourself, & Consecrating Your life Unto God:
Many people will sacrifice many things in order to become what they desire to be. Athletes deny themselves many pleasures most of us take for granted. Great scholars isolate themselves to study sacrificing their leisure time. Musicians sacrifice their social life to practice and perfect their art.
Paul himself knew the sacrifice it took: "Remember that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize. You also must run in such a way that you will win. All athletes practice strict self-control. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. So I run straight to the goal with purpose in every step. I am not like a boxer who misses his punches. I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified." (1 Corinthians 9:24-27, NLT)
(2) The Purpose For The Vow Of A Nazirite (Numbers 6:1-2).
(a) To separate Oneself to the LORD: The vow of the Nazirite was to express one’s special desire to draw close to God and to separate one’s self from the comforts and pleasures of this world (“The English word Nazirite transliterates Hebrew nazir, meaning “set apart.” (Wenham)
"It was by faith that Moses, when he grew up, refused to be treated as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. He chose to share the oppression of God’s people instead of enjoying the fleeting pleasures of sin." (Hebrews 11:24-25, NLT)
Jesus prayed: ‘And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth." (John 17:19, NKJV)
(b) This vow could last for a few months or years (Num. 6:4–8). But only Samson (Judg. 13:7; 16:17), Samuel (1 Sam. 1:11), and John the Baptist took the vow for life.
(3) A Persons Lifelong, Voluntary, Self-Denial Is The Ultimate Act Of Devotion To God.
(a) We are to be so consumed by God’s calling that we not attracted to the world’s enticements. Our devotion to the Lord must completely superseded any personal interests and comforts Application (2 Corinthians 6:14-18 cf. Romans 12:1-2).
(4) We Have To Make Up Our Minds To Consecrate Ourselves To The Lord.
"Then Hezekiah declared… bring your sacrifices and thanksgiving offerings to the Temple of the Lord.” So the people brought their sacrifices and thanksgiving offerings, and those whose hearts were willing brought burnt offerings, too." (2 Chronicles 29:31, NLT)
Collect the blood and place some of it on the tip of the right earlobes of Aaron and his sons. Also put it on their right thumbs and the big toes of their right feet. Sprinkle the rest of the blood on the sides of the altar." (Exodus 29:20, NLT)
"Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a right spirit within me." (Psalm 51:10, NLT)
"My heart is confident in you, O God; no wonder I can sing your praises!" (Psalm 57:7, NLT)
"If I had not confessed the sin in my heart, my Lord would not have listened." (Psalm 66:18, NLT)
Truly God is good to Israel, to those whose hearts are pure." (Psalm 73:1, NLT)
"Teach me your ways, O Lord, that I may live according to your truth! Grant me purity of heart, that I may honor you." (Psalm 86:11, NLT)
7. Daniel’s Protection and Persistence (v.9-16)
a) God gave Daniel favor and compassion in the sight of the commander and officials (v.9-11)
(1) God Blesses Those Who Serve And Obey Him With An Uncompromising Life.
The Psalmist said The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree, He shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Those who are planted in the house of the Lord Shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bear fruit in old age; They shall be fresh and flourishing," (Psalm 92:12-14)
Proverbs says, When a man’s ways please the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him." (Proverbs 16:7, NKJV)
b) Test your and examine your servants (v.12-16)
(1) Daniel Persisted In Doing What Was Right
(a) To Many Give Up At The First Sign Of Resistance.
The writer of Hebrews says "You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin." (Hebrews 12:4, NKJV)
Paul said that, “None of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God." (Acts 20:24, NKJV)
c) Daniel Put His Faith To The Test… God Honored His Uncompromising Spirit (v.17-21)
(1) The Results of a God-Honoring Faith.
(2) When We Have A Pure, Unblemished Faith Involving Certain Crucial Standards, Opposing sin and evil, standing for honesty. Speaking out for the truth and against error—God will honor that faith. And the source for such standards of righteousness is His Word, which He enables us through faith & the Power of the Holy Spirit, to obey.
d) Expect Your Commitment To God To Be Challenged By The World.
Jesus said that These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”" (John 16:33, NKJV)
James exhortes us to “Count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience." (James 1:2-3, NKJV)
Remember that God has a purpose through all of it. Job said, “But He knows the way that I take; When He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold." (Job 23:10, NKJV)
Personal: Psa. 51:17; Matt. 13:44, 45; Rom. 6:13, 16, 19; Rom. 12:1; 2 Cor. 8:5
Joshua as for me and my house; Caleb wholly followed the Lord; Abraham the friend of God, intimate communion and fellowship; Moses who am I Lord, total humility; Paul the apostle I count all things loss.. that I may know Him
The world does not like those who are consecrated (John 15:18-19)
Daniel Knew God Intimately (Daniel 1:9; 2:18; 6:10; 9:3-4, 13, 17, 21)
What kind of a person is God looking For?
See Daniel could move up in the Babylonian kingdom by doing what the king says, but Daniel knows in his heart God’s calling and anointing and he realizes that God had put him their and God is the one who promotes not man (ps.75:6-7). So scripturally speaking, a consecrated life is the giving of oneself to God (2Cor.8:5; Heb.7:27) it is a separating myself apart for God so God can use this earthen vessel for whatever He wants (2Cor.4:7; 2Tim.2:20-23; 2Cor.6:14-7:1).