I am not a flower person. I love them and enjoy looking at them but I don’t go and buy flowers except for one purpose and that purpose is for my sermon recordings. The one thing I have found as the weather heated up is that flowers don’t last long. Even when I purchase from the expensive shops that sell “good quality” flowers, I find they last two to three days. I have therefore decided to purchase flowers on the street corner. They last for about two to three days as well … but they cost half the price. Do they fade away because they are not treated correctly after being picked? Ought the sellers to put some additive into the water buckets once in the process of landing up at the market? Should the retailer add something to the water as they store the flowers? I don’t know but I do know that what you eat and drink could condition your body and appearance or harm it. As we deal with “Dare to be a Daniel”, we progress to …
1) A healthy, well-nourished physical presentation.
Da 1:15 At the end of the ten days they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food.
For some this might seem trivial, but we believers see God behind the appearance of these young men. Daniel asked for ten days … and this was agreed to … and the results were wonderful … in fact these men looked far better than those who ate from the king’s table. In the original language it implies they looked fuller in flesh (fatter) even though they ate no meet. The improvement in appearance was not due to the vegetables and water, it was all of God’s free grace. You need to see God starting to exercise His power amongst the Babylonians. Here’s a good thought to chew on … “It’s not where you are or what you have to nourish the body but to whom you belong.” We have seen that God is Sovereign … here is another proof of it. God cares for His people, especially when we are obedient, following holiness and Christlikeness. He protects the body, internally and externally. Mostly we cannot say how He works, that is beyond our comprehension, but He does and He does so in our favor. The saying … “God is good and He is good all the time” is true. Believe it. Some might think the Jewish dietary laws were the reason for these men being fatter and better looking … but vegetables do not give the fatter appearance. God was active in their health. Allow me to add something here … You and I might be pursuing holiness, growing in grace and sinning less … and yet we might take ill, develop disease and even die prematurely. The application for us must be seen as spiritual. We are not Daniels preparing to serve in king Nebuchadnezzar’s palace and government. We are God’s people, standing against the enemy of our soul wherever we are. In doing so we don’t nourish the body with the offerings of the world. We seek to nourish the soul, not with what we think it needs but with what God has provided … The Holy Spirit and Scripture, prayer and faith. Never forget that we don’t live for this world. We might be in the world but we have the Spirit and we have salvation and we have a future in glory. This is why our focus must be eternity and not worldly. Sadly few of us are so caught up in Jesus that we are single minded, only using the world for temporal existence such as a career to survive and support a family, home, etc. As a believer, you are on this earth firstly for the Lord Jesus and His Cause. Dare to be a Daniel! He was like that.
2) Sovereignty proceeds because God is on the move.
Da 1:16 So the guard took away their choice food and the wine they were to drink and gave them vegetables instead.
The term “took away” is not a once off matter. It means continuous as does the word “gave”. Remember this guard was disobeying the chief official’s command as given by the king, yet God caused him to do so. The food and wine were prepared and brought to these men and then the guard took it away and brought them vegetables and water. This was daily. There is something we ought not to forget or overlook. Daniel could have refused the position of working in the king’s office. He could have avoided going through all the fuss of the king’s requirements … but he chose to remain there. Why? I would suggest that as God “caused” the official to be favorable towards him and as the guard assisted him, so God “caused” Daniel to remain and endure. This is what made Daniel dare to serve God. God, by His Spirit convinced Daniel that this was God’s will for him. That fact that Daniel rose to become a great man and prophet of God must not stop us from “Daring to be a Daniel”. We must never feel we cannot be great like Daniel … we won’t … but we can be God’s man or women wherever we are. Greatness is never the issue, being a cog in God’s wheel is. All God wants for you and me is to submit to His sovereignty and do His bidding where and when He requires. It might seem like a trivial issue to you but in His economy nothing is trivial. There are more backroom boys in God’s service than upfront, visible “heroes”. All parts work to complete the project and a completed project is what God wants. In a Church the pastor is the upfront man but behind the scenes many support him to ensure the function of the Church is completed. Remember that when God loves you and you can love yourself, you will be prepared to do the most menial work in God’s Kingdom and see it as the most important work you can do because it is for Jesus!
3) Sovereign preparation for a divine task. God always equips His people when He requires they fulfil tasks for Him.
Da 1:17 To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning.
And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds. There are two aspects to this verse.
(a) To the four young men God gave the gifts of knowledge and understanding. They had to learn literature and we can safely assume that much of the content was of and occult and superstitious nature. The gift of knowledge and understanding would include wisdom and discernment into what they needed to learn and what was holy. We need to know the Bible to prevent being led astray by unbiblical teaching. Never forget that most places of learning are secular!
(b) Only to Daniel was the gifts of understanding and interpreting visions and dreams giving. We don’t have or need these gifts today because we have a completed Bible, though in Daniel’s day this was not so and the pagan king would not have access to God’s Word. We will see this being unpacked.
Prepare us Lord for Your service through Your Word. Amen.