Tested and Approved; the Devil 's Trap
Dan 1; 1-9
How did a tyrant like Adolf Hitler rise to power? How could just one demented man lead a whole nation to try to conquer the world and crush everyone who stood in their path?
There’s a saying which goes; “control the mind and control the man.” If you can control the mind then you can control the masses, which eventually snowballs until you can lead a whole nation to their own doom. Of all the things that Hitler was; he certainly wasn’t a fool. He knew that if his movement was to reach a national level he was going to have to control even more minds; or I should say, smaller minds! Hitler saw too it that:
Schools taught Nazi ideology. Soon the spare time of the young was absorbed by the Nazi Party as well—boys were drawn into the Hitler Youth, and girls became members of the Nazi-led League of German Girls. His goal was simple, indoctrinate people into the party starting at a young age. By the summer of 1933, the Nazi Party was in complete control of the country.
Hitler wasn’t the first tyrant to indoctrinate the young minds of tomorrow. For that was the plan of the king of Babylon; Nebuchadnezzar.
Last time we looked at Daniel we saw Him and his three friends as nearly arrived slaves from Judah. Yet these four were apart of a select group of young men that were slaves of a higher sort we could say. The King had taken them not too be his janitors, or yard laborers, or to feed horses; but to be his future leaders. King Nebuchadnezzar wanted the cream of the crop from the nation of Judah; he wanted Judah’s brightest, most capable, most clever and dexterous persons; that’s why Daniel and his friends were taken!
Of all the things that Nebuchadnezzar was; yet he sure wasn’t a fool. He like Hitler; knew that once you conquered a people, then you took it to the next level; you exploited and changed them, you melted them down and poured them in your mold. You make them what you want them to be! That’s exactly what the King was trying to accomplish; he had all these promising youths and his goal was to denationalize them, demoralize them, and degrade them down until they are nice, neat, little Babylonians.
The king had a three year training course where they learned to talk like Babylonians, dress like Babylonians, walk like Babylonians, and think like Babylonians; in fact be Babylonians. At the end of this three year course they probably received a little degree, saying that they had all the rights and privileges of full fledged Babylonians.
That was the king’s ultimate goal for those young slaves, to brainwash them, taking away all that their parents had instilled into them and replace it with Babylon’s way.
Yet, there is another tyrant bent on conquering this world, who never rests, who never gives up; whose never discouraged by defeats; he’s none other than the devil. Just as much as I believe there is a God, I also believe there is a devil. I don’t understand how that 70% of professing Christianity claims that they believe in a God; but don’t believe a real literal devil? They probably think that the devil was made up as some bedtime story to scare kids. They think that real; intelligent people don’t believe that there is a literal person that is behind all the evil that is in the world. People like that have never read the bible, because the devil is real, alive and just waiting for you and I to hand him the ammunition he needs to wound us and leave us suffering for all our natural lives.
However the devil’s goal doesn’t stop with just the things of this world; he wants more, he wants to doom a person’s soul to hell for all eternity. He knows nothing else would break God’s heart more than by having a soul that God created for himself; tricked and doomed for all eternity in hell.
You know, if I didn’t want to go to heaven because of God wanting me too; I still would because the devil wants me to go with Him!
The devil is also in the business of brain washing the ones he needs to suit his kingdom!
Just like what we see here in Daniel’s day, we have in our own day. Paul said, Rom 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.
Paul tells us not to be conformed to this world. The word “conformed” means to: to conform one’s self (i.e. one’s mind and character) to another’s pattern, (fashion one’s self according to).
Paul warns about being conformed to the image of the world. He doesn’t mean that we stop using indoor pluming, or stop using phones or computers. Believe me if that would do the job of bring us closer to God; I would be the first person to in line! But those outward things don’t do it!
Paul is meaning don’t let yourself be poured into the world’s mold of what it says a Christian ought to be.
The lost world has an idea of what a Christian ought to be, if you don’t believe me, just ask the next lost person you meet and they will tell you. For that matter, the world has its own Christian everything; worship, bible, idea of how to rear kids, how to handle your finances, how to be married, etc. All you have to do is let the world pour you into their mold! And you can be just like them and christain!
But we should settle to be conformed to the world’s image, because we ought to bear Christ’s imagine. He says, “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.”
That word “transformed” means literally a (“metamorphose”):— change, transfigure, transform. Just as a caterpillar will go through a metamorphose and become a beautiful butterfly, so will the Lord make something beautiful from our lives if we yield our minds to God! God will control our minds and thereby change us into his image. Some think that Christianity is but conforming to a list of ‘dos and don’ts’ but its not! It’s about living differently because of an inward change of heart!
Jesus didn’t die so we could obey a list of dos and don’ts. He died so we could have a chance at a new life in Him!
If we are going to be a disciple in dark days, we must understand that what we see Daniel going through here is what we shall go through as well.
I. The Devil’s Trap. V5
That sounds like a real good deal doesn’t it. To eat like a King! Who wouldn’t like to do that? Anyone who had to first surrender their conscience!
A. The Surrendering of their Conscience
This meat that was being offered to these youths was meat that was perilously offered in worship to their pagan Gods. For them to eat this meat, they as Hebrews would have to ignore their conscience and go against their conscience.
What is a conscience?
CONSCIENCE — a person’s inner awareness of conforming to the will of God or departing from it, resulting in either a sense of approval or condemnation.
The conscience of the believer has been cleansed by the work of Jesus Christ; it no longer accuses and condemns (Heb. 9:14; 10:22). Believers are to work to maintain pure consciences. They also must be careful not to encourage others to act against their consciences. To act contrary to the urging of one’s conscience is wrong, for actions that go against the conscience cannot arise out of faith (1 Cor. 8:7–13; 10:23–30).
A mother was helping her son with his spelling assignment and came to the words conscious and conscience. When she asked him if he knew the difference between the two, he responded, “Sure, Mom, ‘conscious’ is when you are aware of something and ‘conscience’ is when you wish you weren’t.”
A conscience is like the old sun dials of the ancient world. A sun dial was the way they told time, before clocks were invented. In fact, they were so common and so used that they even became portable, hand held. They told the time by the sun casting a shadow on to its face and wa’ al’ there’s the time. In fact, they were so acute, they not only told the time, but the told the season, and what hemisphere you were in.
But the only drawback was of course; you could only use it when the sun was out. Think of your conscience as a sundial, and the bible as the sun shining on it. When it is being shined on, there is no bad readings, we not like what it says, but that doesn’t matter, it is an acute reading. But what if, we didn’t use the bible, but maybe the Koran, the book of Moran, or the newspaper, Tv digest, to shine upon our consciences, what would happen then? We would be just those who stand up, in their sincerity and promote Islam and Monism, and every other ism that needs to be a wasism. Yes, they are sincere; but they are sincerely wrong! Because they have the wrong light shining upon their conscience.
When you read about the founding fathers of this country, you will notice that they talk a lot about following their conscience. They wanted to follow their conscience, because it was being shined upon by the word of God!
But today, folks don’t want the bible shining on their conscience, but they still want to follow their conscience. That’s where you get into trouble! Surrendering your conscience to whatever comes down the pipe!
Neb. was trying to get these youths to surrender their consciences and he could replace what their parents taught them in Judah with his own light of paganism.
B. Defiling your conscience v8
Daniel doesn’t surrender his conscience that easily. He holds on to the true light and because of that, he decides to stand against the king’s command and refuses to eat what he knows goes against the bible! (Lev. 7:22–27; 11:1–47).
That word defile is interesting, because it means to stain, to pollute. If the OT priests were defiled in some way they couldn’t offer before God, until they were made clean. Here is what I think that a lot of Christians don’t understand about the devil. The devil cannot stop you! Don’t give the devil any more credit than he is due. He is not God! The devil doesn’t make us do anything, all that he can do is put the temptation in front of us. Also He can’t stop you or I from doing God’s will. He can’t.
1Jo 4:4 Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.
So there should be not thought of the devil stopping us; but though he may not can stop us himself, he sure can defile us, so that what we do for God is spoiled and corrupted.
Listen when our conscience is defiled our whole lives will not be right. When we give into sin and just let it eat away at us, we are hurting no one but ourselves. Why, Because our conscience knows we are doing wrong and it will not let us rest until we are right with God again!
David, sinned with Bathsheba and then killed her husband to cover up his sin.(1 Sam. 12) God was gracious with David; God gave David 12 months for him to come to God and get it right, but just like us, David procrastinated about getting this sin off his conscience. So in 1 Sam. 13, God sends a prophet by the name of Nathan to confront him about his sin and help him get right. A whole year separates chapter 12 and chapter 13; I wonder how David felt in that year? I wonder if David got much sleep in that year. I wonder if David wrote any more touching Psalms in that year. That whole year out of his life, was time spent being defiled in his conscience, knowing that he had done wrong, he had sinned and he was hoping that he could just live it down and forget about it. But he could forget about it, because God wasn’t going to forget about it!
With the help of his friend Nathan, David came to repentance and a cleansing of his conscience! (That’s what a real friend does, they want to see you right with God, they hold you accountable, exposing sin if necessary.)
Psa 32:3 When I kept silence, my bones waxed old through my roaring all the day long.
Psa 32:4 For day and night thy hand was heavy upon me: my moisture is turned into the drought of summer. Selah.
Psa 51:2-12 Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.
For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.
Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.
Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.
Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
Make me to hear joy and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice.
Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities.
Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.
Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.
David felt dirty while he conscience was defiled, he asked for cleansing several different ways. And because David confessed his sins, God was faith and just to forgive him of his sins.
Daniel didn’t want to go through this separation from God, so he refused the things that would have defiled him and his walk with God. Daniel refused to eat the King’s meat or wine! Being right with God meant that much too him!
III. Searing of Conscience
The rest of the story is how Daniel and his three friends stood true to their conscience and God. We will cover Daniel’s triumph next time; but there were more than just four people there. We don’t know the exact number, but it was greater than four! My point is, though these four refused and were blessed of God, there were some that went with the flow and changed their self, went against their conscience, went against their parent’s training, went against the word of God, went against God himself!
When you go against your conscience, do what you know is wrong, something happens. Your conscience because ‘seared’. Listen to Paul, speaking about folks who have a seared conscience;
1Ti 4:1 Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
1Ti 4:2 Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;
1Ti 4:3 Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.
1Ti 4:4 For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving:
What happens if you burn apart of your arm? If it isn’t bad then you will heal, but if it is a deep burn, going pass the layers of skin and destroying the nerve endings; that is a bad burn. You will live, but your flesh that was once tender and soft has now become hardened and insensitive. It has become seared, no feeling left. Well when talking about a conscience, it is a little different because your conscience isn’t flesh, it is apart of your soul. But it can become hardened to the place that it becomes unresponsive and unmoved by sin and the Spirit of God!
How does it become that? By refusing it time after time, doing what it counsels against. It’s voice become fainter and fainter until, its voice is heard no longer.
There were some there that had said no to their conscience for so long that they were completely unmoved by the king’s command. They turned away from the God that their parents had loved.
As a disciple your conscience is a big deal, because it can either be used to keep you in the will of God, or if refused it will lead to a person’s ruin.
Just to follow an unaided conscience, one that doesn’t have the word of God shining upon it, will lead us also astray.
Have you surrendered your conscience to the devil and the world?
Do you let yourself be poured into the world’s mold, ignoring your conscience and running the risk of hardening it to the point of ruin?
Don’t be molded by the world, but transformed as you live by your conscience as it is influenced by the word of God!
Don’t fall for the devil’s trap!
"Hitler, Adolf." Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia 2001. © 1993-2000 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.
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