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Where to draw the line

Daniel 1:1-21, Psalm 121:1-8, Andrew Love, April 29, 2018


Sermon Notes:

Introduction

  • An extremely encouraging book
    • Chapter 1 is a great encouragement
    • God preserves these four men in exile
    • We should remember these four men when the world is encroaching in increasing measure
    • God can still use individuals when there is no revival
    • Look at first 6 chapter, then a break, then return to the final 6 chapters
    • We should not be ruled by numbers - consider these four young men
  • Do you wish that you were somewhere else?
    • The young men were in a terrible place
    • Are we in a bad situation?
    • Do we wish things could be different for us?
  • Overview:
    • Understand the Background
    • Where they drew the line
    • Graciously making a stand

Understand the Background

  • The promise given to Abraham
    • One man, made into a nation, dwelling in the land
    • What happened - explanation
    • Blessings and curses proclaimed by God
    • God was very patient with the Israelites
    • 722BC - Israel was captured by Assyria
    • Over 100 years later Judah was captured by Babylon
  • What did it mean for these four young men?
    • Examples
    • It was extremely difficult to go into the court - huge implications
    • They were going to a pagan King who worshiped false Gods (v2)
    • They were in a court of magicians and astrologers
    • They were likely young adolescents (and impressionable)
  • The King had a strategy
    • He was seeking to extend his kingdom
    • He took the brightest of the conquered people and took them into his court
    • He trained them for 3 years
    • They were to learn Babylonian and absorb their culture
    • He wanted them to forget their Jewishness and become Babylonian
    • He sent them on an intensive course (v4)
  • Worldliness
    • Biblical definition
    • Owen Batstone and Stephen Clark - definition

Where they drew the line

  • Opening comments
  • Did they draw the line at:
    • Being given new names?
    • Studying different types of Babylonian literature?
  • The drew the line at the Kings' food and his delicacies
    • Daniel knew the food laws from the Old Testament
    • Was it that the food was offered to idols?
    • They didn't want to eat sumptuously as the King's table - they didn't want to be 'softened up'
    • Perhaps all three, but more likely the latter
  • Daniel takes charge and leads the other three people
    • Sometimes we need people like this
  • There are many battles
    • Example of university, work parties, entertainment
    • What is involved?
    • We are to keep ourselves unspotted from the world
  • Do we know where to draw the line?
    • Are we as courageous as these men?
    • Have we purposed not to go against God?

Graciously making a stand

  • Daniel was very gracious
    • Jeremiah 29:7
    • Daniel has already won over the favour of the Chief of the Eunuchs
    • Example of Joseph
  • He did not want to put the Chief in a bad position
    • v9-13
    • Daniel has faith in God
    • He asks the Chief to test them
      • We need to learn to be gracious in conflict
    • Daniel does not capitulate but quietly persists
      • It is the way we make our stand 
    • Daniel passes this test
      • The steward complied with their request
  • Daniel is found to be ten times more wise that all of Nebuchadnezzar's court
    • May we grown in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus
    • Part of our growth is making a stand
    • No blemish in his stand - it stands them in good stead for more difficult tests
    • Stand now and God will build character and strength in you
    • We need to ask God for help and grace to stand
  • God will honour those who honour Him

About Andrew Love: Pastor at Tabor Church


Sermon Passage:

Daniel 1:1-21

1In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem, and besieged it. 2And 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. 3And 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; 4Children in whom was no blemish, but well favoured, and skilful 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. 5And 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. 6Now among these were of the children of Judah, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: 7Unto whom the prince of the eunuchs gave names: for he gave unto Daniel the name of Belteshazzar; and to Hananiah, of Shadrach; and to Mishael, of Meshach; and to Azariah, of Abed-nego. 8But 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. 9Now God had brought Daniel into favour and tender love with the prince of the eunuchs. 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? then shall ye make me endanger my head to the king. 11Then said Daniel to Melzar, whom the prince of the eunuchs had set over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, 12Prove thy servants, I beseech thee, ten days; and let them give us pulse to eat, and water to drink. 13Then let our countenances be looked upon before thee, and the countenance of the children that eat of the portion of the king's meat: and as thou seest, deal with thy servants. 14So he consented to them in this matter, and proved them ten days. 15And 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. 16Thus Melzar took away the portion of their meat, and the wine that they should drink; and gave them pulse. 17As for these four children, God gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom: and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams. 18Now 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. 19And the king communed with them; and among them all was found none like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: therefore stood they before the king. 20And in all matters of wisdom and understanding, that the king inquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm. 21And Daniel continued even unto the first year of king Cyrus. (KJV)

Psalm 121:1-8

1I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. 2My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth. 3He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber. 4Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. 5The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand. 6The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night. 7The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul. 8The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore. (KJV)


Other sermons:
Earlier: Same day: Later:
« Mature Christian Character Waiting on the Lord The Conversion of Zacchaeus »

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