GOD WILL TAKE CARE OF YOU
1 Peter 5:7
When You Purposely Stand For Him
Purpose – To see by faith, that God cares for His people when we must take a purposeful stand to forward His name and His faith.
I. DANIEL TOOK A PURPOSEFUL STAND NOT TO EAT OF THE KING’S PROVISIONS (v. 8).
II. DANIEL IS REMINDED OF THE POSSIBLE COST OF TAKING THIS STAND – ESPECIALLY FOR HIS FRIEND (vv. 9-10).
III. DANIEL IS NOT STANDING ALONE – HANANIAH, MISHAEL, AND AZARIAH ARE STANDING WITH HIM (vv. 10-13).
IV. GOD BLESSES THEIR FAITH AND THEIR STAND (vv. 14-16).
We must all consider the fact, as Christians, that we are strangers in a foreign land. Some may not like, nor appreciate that statement, but if our citizenship is in heaven, and with God, then, we are indeed strangers in this land. It matters not what nation we live in; we are strangers in a foreign land. We are even “captives”, yet ambassadors in this foreign land, until the Lord returns to call us home to be with Him.
Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah were ambassadors of God in Babylon. It seems, that they were about the only godly witness there. That is not so however. There was Ezekiel the prophet; and Esther and Mordecai [evidently cousins] (Esther 2:5-7). These were captives in Babylon, and there could have been many more. We have the four teenage boys taking a stand which was probably unheard of. It is a very encourageing thing to see teenagers take a stand for their godly convictions; not in rebellion, but in obedience to God.
I. THERE ARE TIMES AND SOME THINGS THAT HAPPEN IN THIS WORLD THAT CALL US TO PURPOSELY STAND FOR GOD’S RIGHTEOUSNESS (v. 8 ).
In Daniel’s and his friend’s world it doesn’t seem that there were too many who were seeing a problem with eating the “king’s meat”. There were other youth who evidently took and enjoyed the lush, and rich foods they were not accustomed to. These young men had been brought up in the Hebrew culture with strict meat restrictions; this mean certain bleeding principles which would drain the dead animal of all its blood. They were not to eat blood (Leviticus 17:10-16) . They were not to eat meat that had been offered to idols. Read Leviticus 11. To receive this meat was the same for them as recognizing the idols as deities.
You can notice that Daniel did not reject this food by a callous, and stubborn refusal; disrespectful of his caregiver. As Daniel had a plan in taking a stand there are also ways Christians can take a stand and not be offensive. We can stand with our lives everyday. Let the light of Jesus Christ shine forth from our lives by developing friendships (as much as is possible) with the people you are around. As Daniel had developed a good relationship with the melzar [the steward]. (Rather than being a proper name “melzar” is probably a title such as servant or steward; one appointed by the chief eunuch to care for the Hebrew youths.)
II. IT IS GOD WHO BRINGS HIS PEOPLE INTO GOOD FAVOR WITH OTHERS, AND WE SHOULD BE LIVING TO GIVE THEM CAUSE TO SUPPORT OUR STAND (vv. 9-10).
Matthew Henry has written of verses eight and nine, “Whoever are in favour, it is God that has brought them into favour; and it is by Him that they find good understanding. Herein was again verified that word (Ps. cvi. 46), ‘He made them to be pitied of all those that carried them captives.’ Let young ones know that the way to be acceptable is to be tractable and dutiful” MATTHEW HENRY’S COMMENTARY Vol IV. pg 1019. “When a man’s ways please the LORD He maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.” (Proverbs 16:7).
If we are going to stand and we live in a condition where what we do may harm another it seems that we better have their permission before we proceed. Daniel and his friends not only had permission, but he provided their veggies for this ten day period. Of course, we need to be in good terms with them for God to direct their paths too. That is not to say that should Daniel have been refused in this matter that he shouldn’t have did something, but he did what was necessary and God gave him close communion with a man in charge who was, himself, willing to take the risk along side Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah.
There are times to stand when no one will help you. No one will stand beside you. You may have plenty that will say, “I am [We are} behind you all the way.” Those who stand behind you can “stab you in the back”. That may sound suspicious, un-nerving, un-trusting, and/or negative. It is, however, the truth. In most cases, those who will walk beside you, can be trusted.
You will notice that there is an early reference to all Daniel’s friends with him in verse ten, “…why should he see your faces”. So Daniel had at least Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah standing with him in this faith experience.
III. LIKE THE CONVICTIONS OF DANIEL AND HIS FRIENDS TRUE CONVICTIONS CANNOT BE LAID ASIDE (vv. 10-13).
Daniel had the convictions that should they eat the “king’s meat” they would be sinning against God, thus he, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah chose to refrain from eating the king’s dainties.
Matthew Henry write again, “Perhaps it was not in itself unlawful for them to eat of the king’s meat or to drink of his wine. But, 1. They wer scrupulous concerning the meat, lest it should be sinful.” MATTHEW HENRY COMMENTARY Vol. IV pg. 1020. They were wise to seek to be kept from even the temptation of the food. “How far can you go until it is sin?” is a question often asked. The answer to that is “If you have to ask that you have probably already sinned”.
What many people call convictions are often on preferences. A conviction is something you will die for, and maybe even another’s life. A preference is nothing to die for. Let me give you an idea of what a preference is. I prefer to drive Ford trucks and cars, but I wouldn’t fight you over it. I could drive a Chevrolet, Buick, Toyota, etc., if I had no other choice. My conviction is that God’s Word, the Bible is the inerrant, infallible, God breathed word of God; and that is something I will give my life for and that my Savior Jesus Christ is the God/Man, incarnate Son of God, died on the cross for my sins and the sins of the world, that Jesus is the only way to God and to heaven, and Jesus is coming back one day to call his children home to be with Himself. Those are my convictions, some of them, and I will hold them until I draw my last breath; with the power and strength of God.
It is great knowing that we have family, friends, other relatives, and neighbors world wide who hold these convictions and have found that “Hill on which to die”, and land in which to live. As it is written, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of God” (Deuteronomy 8:3; Matthew 4:4).
IV. GOD PROVES OUR FAITH WHEN WE ARE FAITHFUL (vv. 14-16).
Remember Daniel and his friends were in a three year program (v. 5) for training and the food regimen. All Daniel was asking for was a ten day trial period to prove that the vegetables, etc., was better for them in their appearance and probably their minds too. Maybe there is something we could learn from following such a diet; but is anyone among us interested?
The faith they express in God is astounding, and God honors and proves their faith. Faith is not something we boast of; it is what we live, how we speak, where we go, what we do, and how we live. Faith is not just believing God when things are going good, but keeping on believing Him even when He doesn’t seem to hear.
It seems that the utmost goal of Daniel’s heart was that God be glorified in the king of Babylon, and the people of Babylon. His heart was set on obedience to the word of the LORD; and even if the cost was his life. God came through for Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah; proving that their obedience was blessed by the God of Israel and all that is. “And 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.” Daniel 1:15 (KJV)
The LORD honored Enoch’s faith, by translating him; He honored Joseph’s faith by making him a ruler in Egypt; He honored Moses’ faith by leading the children of Israel out of Egypt; and many more in the Old Testament. The LORD honored Peter’s faith when he walked on the water with the LORD; He honored John’s faith by giving him the letters of the revelation and the Revelation of Jesus Christ. God will honor the faith of all who will give their all to the Lord Jesus Christ.
i. Take a purposeful stand for God and all that is godly and righteous in the world, even if no one else does.
ii. Take a purposeful stand and trust the LORD for the good favor of others.
iii. Take a purposeful stand all the time on your convictions; and stand when they are being attacked as well.
iv. When we take that purposeful stand trust that the LORD will reward the faith of the faithful – I suppose that is what Paul; inspired by God; meant when he wrote, “Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.” 1 Corinthians 4:2 (NKJV)
-Tim A. Blankenship