But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine ...
An old hymn begins, ‘Stand up, stand up for Jesus!’ The world tries to stop us ‘standing up for Jesus’ with temptations, pressure to conform, and persecution. Which of these do you find most difficult?
Daniel begins with the humiliation of Israel. First besieged (v 1) and then defeated, even their temple treasures were stolen (v 2); God’s people were finished.
How do you think God’s people are doing today? Many say the church needs to ‘get with the programme’ of society’s changing values; others that it has given in too much to the pressure to conform.
Daniel and his friends knew that pressure well. They were picked out for special training (v 4), expected to look, sound, and act like Babylonians, and given Babylonian names (v 6).
What would you have done? Would you have had the courage to stand up, like Daniel, and refuse to be assimilated (v 8)? Imagine how these men must have been feeling, and the courage it took for them to stand up to the king.
God honoured that courage: see how they ended up the best in the kingdom (v 20), not because of their training but because of God’s gift (v 17). When Daniel stood up, he found he wasn’t on sinking sand but solid ground.
What do you need to ‘stand up for Jesus’ – courage? faith? opportunity? It’s a dangerous prayer but, if you can, pray that God will help you trust in his gifts, and ‘stand up’ as Daniel did.