Often the tendency of so many of us is to be overcome and overrun by the culture around us. For some it becomes easier to simply give up trying to hold on to biblical principles and go along with the culture. If Daniel is saying anything to us across these centuries he is challenging us to not give up and to be consistent. Daniel was a young man who would not compromise and would not quit. Daniel stated to the chief of the eunuchs that he would not defile himself by eating the King's unkosher meat. (Daniel 1:8) His boss was reluctant but Daniel was determined. He would not give up, he remained consistent. Finally, his boss "consented" to a test to see if Daniel's diet would suffice.
The single characteristic of those who succeed in the challenges of life is this element of consistency. Joseph, in an Egyptian dungeon, did not give up. Paul, in a Philippian jail, did not give up. Daniel, in Babylonian captivity, did not give up. And God did not forget any of them.
So often in a culture that is crumbling like ours we're tempted to ask, "Where is God?" He was there with Daniel and He is here with us. Note the quote, And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand. (Daniel 1:2) Note that God had brought Daniel into the favor and goodwill of the chief of the eunuchs. (Daniel 1:9) Note that God gave them knowledge and skill in all literature and wisdom. (Daniel 1:17). God was in control of every one of Daniel's circumstances and situations.
I love what the Bible says in Daniel 1:9, Now God had brought Daniel into the favor and goodwill of the chief of the eunuchs. When we establish standards like Daniel, God shows up on our side. Daniel had purposed in his heart. Daniel had made his choice. Daniel had set his mind. In the very next verse we find God intervening. It was not Daniel's stand that influenced the chief of the eunuchs, it was God Himself. Remember, God has the remote control in His hand. He can turn us up or turn us off. He can change our channel or mute us if He so desires. He is in control.
Many are prone to give up what they stand for when they're out in the culture. Some of us seem to be geared to think that if we do not compromise we might lose our position or even our promotion. Daniel had figured out who he wanted on his side. It was not his boss, it was his God. He knew the truth of Proverbs 16:7, When a man's ways please the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.
So, what is the point? If we're going somewhere in life we need to learn some lessons from our friend Daniel. Don't play politics. We should live our lives in such a way that they line up with the Word of God and please him in the process. And then we can watch Him work on those around us as he did in Daniel's day. It is not enough to simply be resistant if we're not consistent. Some start well but give up and go with the crowd around them.
Oh that we could grasp Daniel's spirit. He purposed in his heart. This is not a guy trying to prove something to someone with a bunch of self-righteousness. This was no show. This was from his heart. There are some who don't give in and are resistant but who become caustic and crude when trying to resist a culture. The Bible reminds us that a soft answer turns away wrath. Daniel has a disarming way about him that honors God. He not only calls upon us saying "Don't give in, be resistant," but he challenges us by saying, "Don't give up, be consistent!"
O.S. Hawkins is president and chief executive officer of the SBC Annuity Board. He is a Contributing Editor to Preaching.