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News for Monday, July 21, 2014

Sunday School Lesson — Explore the Bible
July 27: Draw the Line
By Shawn Allred
pastor, FBC, Bruceton

Focal Passage: Daniel 1:1-21

Compromise … What thoughts come to your mind when you think of this word? Compromise takes place every day. It finds itself in our homes as we interact with our children or spouse, it finds itself in politics so that legislation can be passed, it finds itself in business interactions when trying to close the deal. So altogether compromise is not a bad thing. But what happens when compromise finds its way into spiritual matters. Daniel offers us a wonderful perspective on how to respond when compromise comes knocking on the door of our spiritual lives.

Opportunities to compromise our faith will present themselves daily and Daniel found this to be true as he and his friends were presented with a royal opportunity to compromise their faith. The book of Daniel finds the Israelites in the captivity of the Babylonians and under the authority of King Nebuchadnezzar. The king’s plan was to take the best of the Israelites young men and train them to serve on the king’s court. This plan would include training in the customs and traditions, including religious, so they could adequately serve the king. This was a great opportunity for these young men to move from captives to the king’s court. The first problem presented itself with the simple task of eating. Daniel and his friends had specific guidelines given to them through the Scriptures of what they could and could not eat. Daniel realized that the king’s food and wine violated those scriptural mandates given to him by God. Daniel used spiritual discernment to identify what would be required for him to serve in this prestigious royal position and made a determination to stand on God’s Word.

Daniel didn’t just cower and keep his convictions to himself but rather explained his stance to the king’s chief official standing boldly on God’s principles for his life. Notice how he boldly, but respectfully made his request in verse 8, “… so he asked permission from the chief official not to defile himself.” We see in the verses following that because of Daniels stance God granted him favor and compassion in the matter with the chief official. Asphenaz was hesitant to honor this request from Daniel, yet he would agree to test the resolve and outcome of such a request.

Daniel asked to be tested in the matter requesting that he and his friends only be served vegetables to eat and water to drink (v. 12). Asphenaz was afraid that doing this would cause Daniel and the others to look unhealthy which would put him in danger with the king. At the end of ten days the outcome rested in the favor of Daniel and the others who did not eat the king’s food. Verse 15 tells us that “they looked better and healthier than all the young men who were eating the king’s food.” Daniel took the test and passed with flying colors. He passed the test because his faith allowed him to rest in the things of God and resist the offerings of this world.

In verses 17-19 we see that Daniel and his friends were successfully trained and presented to the king for his approval and they did so without compromising their faith. God had granted the young men great wisdom because they trusted God for the wisdom needed to live their lives set apart to Him and His purposes for them.

When compromise comes your way may you have the spiritual discernment to evaluate the request, the boldness to stand on the truth of God’s Word, the stamina to withstand the tests that will come, and the trust to rest in the wisdom of God.

— Allred is pastor of First Baptist Church, Bruceton.

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