A Sincere Faith
Adult Sunday School Lesson for January 7, 2018
To demonstrate faith that lives out its conviction
Background: Daniel 1
Daniel 1:8-21 (CEB)
8 Daniel decided that he wouldn’t pollute himself with the king’s rations or the royal wine, and he appealed to the chief official in hopes that he wouldn’t have to do so. 9 Now God had established faithful loyalty between Daniel and the chief official; 10 but the chief official said to Daniel, “I’m afraid of my master, the King, who has mandated what you are to eat and drink. What will happen if he sees your faces looking thinner than the other young men in your group? The king will have my head because of you!”
11 So Daniel spoke to the guard whom the chief official had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: 12“Why not test your servants for ten days? You could give us a diet of vegetables to eat and water to drink. 13 Then compare our appearance to the appearance of the young men who eat the king’s food. Then deal with your servants according to what you see.”
14 The guard decided to go along with their plan and tested them for ten days. 15At the end of ten days they looked better and healthier than all the young men who were eating the king’s food. 1 6So the guard kept taking away their rations and the wine they were supposed to drink and gave them vegetables instead. 17 And God gave knowledge, mastery of all literature, and wisdom to these four men. Daniel himself gained understanding of every type of vision and dream.
18 When the time came to review the young men as the king had ordered, the chief official brought them before Nebuchadnezzar. 19 When the king spoke with them, he found no one as good as Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. So they took their place in the king's service. 20 Whenever the king consulted them about any aspect of wisdom and understanding, he found them head and shoulders above all the dream interpreters and enchanters in his entire kingdom. 21 And Daniel stayed in the king’s service until the first year of King Cyrus.
Key Verse Daniel decided that he wouldn’t pollute himself with the king’s rations or the royal wine, and he appealed to the chief official in hopes that he wouldn’t have to do so. (Daniel 1:8)
Our text for this week sort of validates our lesson on the Wise Men. I think it is because of Daniels relationship to those dream interpreters and enchanters, that a seed was planted and the groundwork laid for the Wise Men that visited Jesus. That thread continued until the time of Jesus birth.
In the story of Daniel, we find that he is not only devout, but also wise. Very often the two do not go together. Unfortunately, the more devout some are, the less wise they are.
Daniel and his friends were captives, but unlike other countries, the Babylonians used the wisdom and gifts of their captives to enhance their own lifestyle. While they were captives they were offered the protection of dining at the king’s table. In addition if you read the whole story as found in 2nd Kings 22-24, you will find that they were also educated in the history and gods of the Babylonians for three years.
Daniel and his three friends were not only educated in the Jewish traditions, but also the Babylonian traditions and religion. The challenge these four faced was similar to the challenge Christians face around the world. Not so much in America, but there is often a conflict of traditions when someone chooses to follow Jesus and His teachings.
Daniel and his friends knew what they were taught about unclean food, and chose to risk their life because of a diet. Not many of us would go that far today, we would find a way to justify our dietary intake, even knowing it was against all that we had been taught.
Unfortunately today too many of us just go along with the crowd. It seems easier, and we can always justify it by using the world's wisdom. God must be very disappointed in our excuses, it certainly shows our lack of faith in a God that has promised to protect us and and be with us in all of our trial and tribulations. When we fail to trust, we are calling God a liar. How sincere is your faith? Would it keep you from the mouth of a lion, or safe from a fiery furnace?
My hymn for this week is more of a children’s bible song than hymn, but very appropriate “Dare to be a Daniel.”