"THE BOOK OF DANIEL"The Faith Of A Fifteen Year Old (1:1-21)INTRODUCTION1. The Old Testament is filled with examples worthy of our study and emulation...a. Such as Joseph, with his stand for God in the house of Potipharb. Such as Joshua, a great man of faith and conviction in his service to God2. Another example that ought to inspire us all is that of Daniel...a. As a young man, his faith gave him the courage to remain true tohis convictions
b. As an old man, his faith sustained him the threat of persecution
[We first read of Daniel and his great faith, in the first chapter of the book of Daniel...]
I. DANIEL'S FAITH AS A "FIFTEEN YEAR OLD"A. IT WAS A BLEAK DAY IN THE HISTORY OF ISRAEL...1. The beginning of Babylonian domination - Dan 1:1-2a. In the third year of Jehoiakim (ca. 605 B.C.)b. Jerusalem besieged by Nebuchadnezzar
c. Jehoiakim taken into captivity, and precious items takenfrom the temple
2. This was the first of three times that Nebuchadnezzar came
B. DANIEL AND OTHERS SELECTED FOR SPECIAL TRAINING...against Jerusalem (605, 597, 586 B.C.)1. Young men taken to serve Nebuchadnezzar - Dan 1:3-7a. They were truly the "cream of the crop" among the captives1) Good looking with no blemish quickly
2) Gifted with wisdom, knowledge, and the ability to learn
and literature of the Chaldeans (Babylonians)b. To serve in the king's palace, and be taught the language
1) Given special provisions of the king's food and drinkrenamed to honor Babylonian gods2) With three years of special training
c. Among those selected, four are named, and apparently
1) Daniel (God is my judge) - Belteshazzar (a servant of Bel)2) Hananiah (the Lord is gracious) - Shadrach (inspired bythe sun god)3) Mishael (who is what God is?) - Meshach (who is what themoon god is?)4) Azariah (the Lord helps) - Abed-Nego (servant of Nebo)2. How would these young men respond?a. Would they submit to the temptations placed before them?b. Would they give in, excusing themselves due to youth and
-- How would you have reacted if you were in their place?inexperience?C. DANIEL MAKES A DECISION...1. He "purposed in his heart" - Dan 1:8a. I.e., he made a commitmentb. Something too rarely heard of today, in both young and old2. His commitment was to "not defile himself" with the king's
a. Possibly unclean food according to Levitical restrictionsfood participant with such worship - cf. 1Co 10:20-22b. Or food used in idol worship which would cause one to be a
D. HOW DANIEL REMAINED TRUE TO HIS COMMITMENT...1. He did it with politeness - Dan 1:8ba. Note that "he requested"b. He did not "demand", but respected the authority of those over him2. He did it with God's help - Dan 1:9a. God gave him favor in the eyes of the chief of eunuchsb. Similar to how Joseph found favor in prison - cf. Gen 39:213. He did it through persistence - Dan 1:10-11a. He did not give up after the refusal by the chief of the eunuchsb. He tried something else, going to the steward directly over them4. He did it through willingness to test his faith - Dan 1:12-15a. He was confident that God's way was the right wayb. He was willing to demonstrate the superiority of God's wayc. So he asked the steward to give him and his three friends
E. THE VALUE OF SUCH FAITH SEEN IN ITS RESULTS...just water and vegetables for ten days1. It affected the lives of others! - Dan 1:15-16a. It had blessed the countenance of Daniel and his friendsb. It then blessed the rest of the young men under the care ofthe steward
2. God blessed Daniel and his three friends even more! - Dan 1:17-20a. God gave them knowledge, skill, and wisdom, and to DanielHe gave understanding in visions and dreams
b. They became the best of the young men who had been trained,and served in the presence of Nebuchadnezzar
c. The king found them better than all his magicians and astrologers - Dan 1:21 3. Daniel continued in the court of Babylon nearly seventy years!
a. Even to the first year of Cyrus of Persia (539 B.C.)b. Eventually becoming provincial ruler and chiefadministrator over all others - Dan 2:48[What a wonderful example of faith and commitment, and of God'sprovidence to care for His people! Now let's consider some...]II. LESSONS AND APPLICATIONS FROM DANIEL'S FAITHA. HOW TO SUCCEED IN KEEPING OUR COMMITMENT TO THE LORD...1. Be politea. There is never any reason to be rude or arrogantb. Impoliteness just aggravates a situation rather than helps it - cf. Pr 15:12. Seek God's help3. Be persistenta. Don't give up trying after meeting the first obstacleb. Remember what Jesus taught about persistence:receive, find, have doors opened to them - Mt 7:7-111) Those who keep on "asking, seeking, knocking" will2) The parable of the persistent widow - Lk 18:1-84. Be willing to test your faitha. If not willing, how committed are you to trusting God?B. SOME APPLICATIONS...1. School-age childrena. Out from underneath their mother's apron for the first timeb. They will be faced with making decisions
2. College-bound students-- Will they have the faith of Daniel?
a. Moving away from home for the first timeb. Leaving a spiritual environment at home, for one that islikely very worldly found in Daniel?
-- Will they live and act with the same sort of commitment
3. Adults in the workplacea. Tempted to accept jobs which may require one to compromiseconvictions
b. Called upon to lie for the boss, show loyalty to the company
though illegal or unethical
4. Those with unbelieving spouses
a. Having to serve God and raise their children in the ways ofthe Lord
b. With little or no moral and religious support from their on their own life mate
CONCLUSION-- Will they have the "purpose of heart" that Daniel had?
1. Many other applications could be made, but what have we learned from
"The Faith Of A Fifteen Year Old" like Daniel?
a. Even those who are young need to make a personal commitment toserve the Lord
b. One can be steadfast in their purpose to serve the Lord without arrogance
His providence d. God will bless and provide for those who put their trust in Him
2. Daniel is not the only person to demonstrate such faith in his youth...
a. We made mention of Joseph earlier
b. We have other examples in the O.T., such as David and Josiah
c. And of course, let's not forget the example of Mary (the mother
of Jesus), and that of Timothy
May the example of their dedication to the service of the Lord inspireus all to "purpose in our heart" not to defile ourselves by the things
of the world!