Much depends upon the first step. 10And 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? But sin, with its cloven foot, can never cross the threshold until the will draws back the bolts and bars. What dishes were such herbs! 2. To partake of such food would be to a Hebrew the sanctioning of idolatry. [Matthew 5:8-12]. Daniel resolved in his heart not to defile himself, and Daniel succeeded therein, because, having first given his heart to his God, it was also from his God that he drew his strength and his courage. There may be several weighty reasons assigned why Daniel did this. It required not great penetration or experience, indeed, to perceive, that in their circumstances - young men as they were, suddenly noticed and honored - compliance would be perilous to their virtue; but it did require uncommon strength of principle to meet the temptation. There are some who have carried firmness into obstinacy, and determination into bigotry, which is a thing to be shunned. It might have seemed legitimate enough to soften the rigour of captivity by sensuous pleasure. KING JAMES VERSION (KJV) TRANSLATION, MEANING, CONTEXT. But the captives’ lot was made soft and pleasant to them; they experienced nothing save kindness at the court of Nebuchadnezzar. This law of environment as to evil appears in the proverb, “Evil communications corrupt good manners.” It appears also in the proverb regarding Christ, “Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?” It reappears in modern science, insisting that man is the sum total of his circumstances. The first thing to say about this is that a man is not safe except when the contrast between right and wrong is as sharp to his conscience as the contrast between black and white is sharp to his eye. II. II. Where no moral principle is involved, and where deviation from the fashion would only occasion gossip about us, it is generally best in some measure to follow the crowd. Let me be purer, more cut off from the world, and then shall I be able to presume that I belong to Him, and believe in His grace. The Word will illumine each step before you as you take the one already pointed out." God’s will is apt to be only that which He has spoken in His word. These he carried off to the temple of his god in Babylonia 1:2 Hebrew Shinar and put in the treasure house of his god. Because of his helplessness.--He was not only in a strange land and among strangers, but he was a captive, and wholly at the mercy of the king and his servants. I would remark, in the fourth place, concerning Daniel, that HE WAS A FAITHFUL SERVANT TO HIS PRINCE. Both were rejected by one who had in him the stirrings of the prophetic instinct, and who felt called of God to a spiritual service. The one great secret of power, of living and lasting power, is godliness. Everyone knows what is the effect of an elaborate secular training dissociated from religion. Those who live altogether under the powers of this world feel reverence for those under the powers of the world to come. What would have been the result if he had not obtained permission we know not; but the probability is, that he would have thrown himself upon the protection of God, as he afterward did Daniel 1:14. During this time the boys were learning the Chaldean language, quite unlike their own Hebrew, so that they could speak with the king and the court. The piety of the Hebrew youths, the fact that their minds had been brought under the government of vital personal godliness, is distinctly implied and assumed. At an early and susceptible age, they found themselves removed from all the influences of pure religion, and surrounded by those of idolatry. (R. J. Campbell, M.A. It is possible, also, to maintain happiness, midst trouble, disquietude, and defeat itself. In what manner it was that they had received the inestimable boon we are not informed. These young men did not think, because they were well born and liberally educated, that they might therefore indulge their appetites without control. Others have been equally diligent to affirm that the refusal of the wine did not indicate a denial that wine was an acceptable part of the diet for Jews generally. Nebuchadnezzar had incurred the displeasure of the Almighty by his pride and arrogance, and it was revealed to him in a dream that he should be deprived of his kingdom, divested of his reason, and reduced to the humbling situation of eating grass and straw like an ox. “Endure hardness, as good soldiers of Jesus Christ.” “Fight the good fight of faith,” whereunto you were called; and “lay hold upon eternal life”; and then but a little while, and He to whom you have been loyal will crown you with the laurels of the conqueror. 2. And so, whatever might betide, come what may, alone, as it would seem, without concert at this stage with his three associates, “Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat.” That resolution was one of God’s moral inspirations. There was a reason why God favored these four men. As far as concerned the king intention, this was really a snare of the devil, as I have said. Perhaps it was, but the battle of great principles is often fought on some small field, while the clang of swords and the trump of victory resound against the vault of Heaven itself. This word does not mean simply "peas, or legumes," but "It would refer to all plants that bear seeds."[24]. It lacks the verve and vigour and granitic quality of a genuine purpose, because we do not act out that “therefore;” because purposing does not bloom into doing. There is the helm; nay, it is the hand of the helm. How wonderful that a boy of that age, when one is usually so heedless and self-indulgent, should put himself upon a course of simple diet and abstinence from wine! Though he lived in the midst of the heathen, he kept himself pure from their abominations and despised their idols. Boys think it is big to smoke cigarettes, but the doctors say it stunts their growth and poisons their blood. 1. What new customs and habits of life! All the forces of that vast nation waited to fulfil his bidding, whose word was law. The resolution personal to himself became the resolution of others. He who is to interpret divine revelations must not feed on the dainties, nor drink from the intoxicating cup, of this world. It is not in resolutions repeated, repeated only to be broken, that you build up a character of force, and strength and power; but it is in solemnly looking at the problems of life, solemnly looking at the circumstances and situations in which you are placed, solemnly confronting the possibilities and temptations that lie before you, and deliberately retaking up your mind, as in God’s sight, as to what your duty is, and then purposing, determining, resolving in your heart that you will not be defiled. The sequel shows that young Daniel did the best thing for himself when he purposed in his heart that he would not. He might have said to himself, and not without some show of reason: “I am not responsible for the things which I do under the command of the king, whose prisoner I am.” We have heard young men, who justified themselves for wrong-doing because they were only carrying out the orders of their employers. To Daniel, signifying “God is my judge,” was assigned the name of Belshazzar, meaning probably “the keeper of the treasures of Bel.” To Hananiah, signifying “the grace of the Lord,” was assigned the name of Shadrach, meaning probably “the inspiration of the sun.” To Mishael, signifying “he that is the powerful God,” was assigned the name of Meshach, probably meaning “devoted to Shah,” the Oriental Venus. 1 Corinthians 10:20. The education intended to draw out the formeris curiously elaborate in Asiatic courts. And the question whether the tree is to come to full bloom and power depends upon the great facts of light and heat, and summer and winter that make up that total called the environment of the tree. Here Daniel shows his endurance of what he could neither cast off nor escape; but meanwhile he took care that he did not depart from the fear of God, nor become a stranger to his race, but he always retains the remembrance of his origin, and remains a pure, and unspotted, and sincere worshipper of God. purposed in his heart = made up his mind. Their land was in ruins; the temple where they and their fathers had worshipped had been desecrated and plundered; their kindred and countrymen were pining in exile; everything called them to a mode of life which would be in accordance with these melancholy facts, and they, doubtless, felt that it would be in every way inappropriate for them to indulge in luxurious living, and revel in the pleasures of a banquet. We have seen, then, that Daniel’s purpose asserted itself over the crushing effects of misfortune and calamity, and over the subtle ensnaring power of evil surroundings. But Daniel purposed in his heart.] If the pure in heart see God, surely the pure in body are fitted to be the organs of the Spirit, are free to obey his voice, and more quick to hear what he says. It meant the rigorous observance of the Mosaic law at a time when the Jewish system appeared to be falling into fragments. Daniel 1:8 8 But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way. We must also believe that it was maintained through a long life by religious faith. I. Nebuchadnezzar was a man of imperial capacity. We are agreeably disappointed, therefore, when Daniel and his friends take a decided stand on a matter of conscience. It would damage his prospects--here was the only line of advancement possible for him. Feverish, he thirsts for drink. Daniel knew these delicates would too much gratify the flesh. But Daniel purposed in his heart - Evidently in concurrence with the youths who had been selected with him. Which best represents the problem with the comment? They may be weakened and overlaid, but not extinguished. Daniel was to stand before the king, and be not only inspected but examined by the king. We should remember that Daniel began life with high natural qualifications for his great work, and that he was attractive and beautiful, and capable to wield great affairs. So will the “pulse” of the Gospel ever be despised and dishonoured--that nourishment which grows in the garden of the Lord, and which His Spirit presents by His Word to the happy children of His house. In this early and brief fragment of his life, he settled the future of his professional career as a prophet of the living God. (2) He was true to the education of his childhood. Daniel 1:8-20 New International Version (NIV). In their youth they were both captives, and both true to God and their consciences in circumstances that were very trying. Come what might of his disobedience to the ungodly statute, Daniel must make his protest, even though the dread lions must be faced. There was the temptation of isolation. But the spiritual is greater than the material, and the abstract imparts beauty and value to the concrete. Doubtless, also, a considerable part of the food which was served up at the royal table consisted of articles which, by the Jewish law, were prohibited as unclean. 4. It was an exclusively Jewish conception, that of a holy and righteous God, requiring in those who served Him holiness and righteousness of life--a consecration of self which must appear even in food and dress. They therefore stood aloof from everything which was in opposition to God’s law. The circumstances add lustre to the moral grandeur of the brave purpose. Elijah lived roughly. For be it confessed that, if the acorn must remain an acorn to the end, its environment will modify the oak that springs therefrom. We should remember, too, that this course was adopted on religious grounds. No doubt the simplicity of their style of living would help rather than hinder their studies. So God uses natural abilities for his service. (1 … The obscurity that invests his childhood prevents us from learning how his first years were passed. The professional, commercial, artistic, literary world needs men who know how to pray in connection with their work. As no shame or pain is so deep as a mother’s humiliation over wayward, wicked children, so no joy is sweeter than that which mothers feel when their children, on their own responsibility and out of their own force of character, choose the right and do it. (2) He made the physical result all that could be desired. It has been found that in the world of Nature nothing happens by chance; everything obeys fixed laws, moves on under definite calculable arrangement. II. It didn't matter that he was in a foreign place, Daniel made the choice to stand for the Lord God Almighty and keep the ways that pleased the Lord by not partaking of the idoloters' ways. In the training of these young men, Nebuchadnezzar had one design, and God had another. 5:12; [ch. What foolish abstinence was such a sobriety! Once, when Socrates was asked what was the virtue of a young man, he said, “To avoid excess in everything.” If this virtue were more common, how much happier the world would be. But what a contrast is presented when you think of the world of outside Nature and the world of human nature! In accordance with the Old Testament way of putting things, that good influence is said to have been brought about in this way, that God gave Daniel great favour in the sight of the officers. ". 5. 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