“But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s delicacies, nor with the wine which he drank; therefore he requested of the chief of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.”
SOMETHING TO THINK ABOUT
Let’s take a look at the context we find Daniel in: he was not enjoying the Promised Land and it wasn’t a moment of glory or blessing for his nation either. On the contrary, we see Daniel being taken captive to Babylon. We don’t find him living in freedom; he was in a nation he didn’t know, with a strange language, where he needed to learn and adapt to the culture of pagan people. It’s evident that Daniel had all the circumstances against him, but even then he determined in his heart to be different and not contaminate himself with anything he knew would grieve the Lord. It wasn’t easy being different in circumstances like these, it wasn’t easy for him to keep his integrity in this situation, and surely it was not easy to be found 10 times better like Daniel 1:20 says.
Charles Spurgeon, the prince of preachers, said the following about Daneil: “Like Nebuchadnezzar, the world expects us to follow its norms and obey its rules. The god of this world is the devil and he demands complete obedience, and sin, in a way, is the image Satan lifts up for us to serve and worship. If we want to be true christians and break off the chains of the world we serve, we need to be willing to withstand the consequences of not worshipping the idol of the moment” (Spurgeon’s Bible Commentary).
LET’S GO DEEPER
1. WE ARE FREE, NO LONGER SLAVES
God requires for us to constantly self-examine our life and evaluate the way we have been living until now. Are we living like everyone else? Are we living as slaves of a sinful society or are we living in freedom from a captive society? Daniel lived as a free man in the midst of a sinful people who were enslaved to the king of the time.
This month we are determined to see supernatural answers from God and for our prayers to be heard. But for this to happen, it’s important we don’t have arguments against us and that we are living a life that is 100% pleasing to God. Could it be that there are chains that have bound you for years? Are there idols (sins) to which you have surrendered and now you feel that you have been completely dominated by them? When David examined himself, he could see his sin as God saw it and said, “Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit” (Psalm 32: 1-2). It’s time to experience true freedom! It’s time to leave every spirit that had been rooted or subjugated in our lives at the cross of Calvary and walk in the fullness of the freedom that Christ has already conquered for us.
2. A SURRENDERED LIFE
“Please test your servants for ten days, and let them give us vegetables to eat and water to drink.”
Daniel lived in a society where it was normal to eat food sacrificed to pagan gods, but Daniel didn’t allow himself to be tricked. In our society and generation, it’s very easy to fall into the enemy’s trap and give in to the current of this world. But thankfully because of God and the blood of Jesus we are free from all betrayal.
Daniel and his friends clearly had their lives surrendered to God and that’s why they were always willing to do His will. When they determined in their hearts to only eat vegetables and water, their message was clear: ̈We are not going to be seduced by the abundance and good things of the king’s palace. We are not going to sell our spiritual principles and we are not going to bow down before the will of one man¨. It was a clear statement that they were not bound to anything material, but on the contrary, but that they always wanted to obey and please God in everything they did.
Just like these young men, we need to put our lives on the altar daily, surrender our will and take the narrow gate instead of the wide gate which is the one of comfort, small indiscretions and pride. Let’s recall what the Word says in Psalms 51:17, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart— these, O God, You will not despise”.
Oh that we would always be willing to humble ourselves and surrender!
3. A DIFFERENT SPIRIT
“Then the king interviewed them, and among them all none was found like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah; therefore they served before the king. And in all matters of wisdom and understanding about which the king examined them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers who were in all his realm.”
Maybe you’ve thought, “Lord, is there truly an extraordinary plan for me? Maybe I’m just too normal, there’s nothing special in me”. But God is an expert in calling ordinary people and making them extraordinary to do amazing things through them. Daniel and his friends were the most intelligent men filled with the grace and favor God deposited in them. The Lord is pleased in glorifying Himself in someone who is willing to show His glory to others…that’s YOU! You are the person God has big purposes for, on whom He has poured out that excellent spirit and to whom He has given the ability to be 10 times better in every area of your life.
PRAYER & CLOSING
- Before praying, give the cell group five minutes to find Psalms 51 in their Bibles and read it attentively individually. This is where David expresses his words of repentance to the Lord.
- After reading it, it’s important for each person to reflect on the chapter and identify the idols, sins, curses, arguments or things in their lives that have grieved the Holy Spirit.
- It’s important for everyone to look for a separate space in the room where they can kneel down, and with a heart of repentance visualize the cross of Calvary and through their confession take all of this to the feet of Jesus.
- As they identify every argument, teach them to apply the blood that Jesus shed from His forehead in Gethsemani and declare that one drop of that precious blood is enough to create a new heart in them. This new heart has no room for what I think, I feel, I want, or the desire to do its own will; this new heart that God gives is only willing to do God’s will in everything.
- Declare over every attendee that they are heirs of God’s grace and favor, and that from today on they leave the ordinary to enter into the extraordinary of God with a different spirit like that of Daniel and his friends.