Convicted by Convictions

1 Sep

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I found myself getting into this small passage – Daniel 1:5-17 – and looking deeper into what was going on. It is a fascinating passage because it shares the story of three young men taken into the Babylon and forced to be a part of the culture. The Babylonian King, Nebuchadnezzar wanted to assimilate these boys into their culture.

First they had their name changed to fit the culture of Babylon. Daniel meant “God is my Judge” and was changed to Belteshazza which means “Bel, Protect his life!” Hananiah means “The Lord shows grace”, his new name Shadrach means “under the command of Aku” (the moon god). Mishael means “Who is like God” and Meshach means “Who is like Aku”.

Secondly, they were forced to eat the royal food and wine, in order to have them look good for service of the king.

The most incredible aspect in this passage is found in Daniel 1:8

“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”

Daniel had convictions and was devoted to obeying God, despite the circumstances. You can see that it wasn’t a spur of a moment idea but rather a conviction that he held deeply because he wanted to honor God. In a circumstance where he was surrounded by different ways other than God’s and forced to be a part of it; it was easier for Daniel to stand strong and up for his beliefs because he had convictions.

The more amazing part happened after. The chief official was hesitant to allow Daniel not eat the food because he needed Daniel to look good and healthy. But Daniel came back with a response that allowed him to honor God in verse 12-13

“Please test your servant for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then compare our appearances with that of the young men who eat the royal food and treat your servants in accordance with what you see”

In Verse 15-16 –  we see Daniel and his three friends actually looked healthier than the servants who ate the King’s food! So the chief officer took away the royal food and gave them vegetables and water!

There are two main things I can draw from this passage

  1. We need convictions, we need to ensure we build these convictions within us before the time to stand strong comes. We need to stand firm on God’s Word and His ways. We cannot ‘feel’ our way through and see how we handle things when they come. We need to develop our convictions; ask God to build our discipline, self-control and standards so we can be strong.
  2. God’s ways are not there to restrict us but to enable us to live long and healthy lives. It is God’s way of protecting us from damage, pain and hurt. It is put in place as a way of God showing his love and funnily enough we will thrive when we abide. It is like a parent holding the hand of their child as they cross the road, because the parent wants to protect their child from running off on the road.

The Babylonians were trying to change the thinking of these Jews by giving them a Babylonian eduction, their loyalty by changing their names, and their lifestyle by changing their diet but without compromising, Daniel found a way to live by God’s standards in a culture that did not honor God.

What are your convictions and will they help you stand strong for God?

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