This is an exposition of Daniel 1:1-21. This message by Pastor Rod Harris was delivered at Trinity Baptist Church on Sunday evening, December 3, 2017.
They were asked how they had stayed married all those years. After all it is rare to find folks staying together these days. The husband said, “The main thing is that I make all the major decisions and leave the other things to her.” After a brief pause he said, “Funny thing, in 45 years of marriage we haven’t had to make a single major decision!”
Whether a decision is major or minor depends on your point of view. Now we all make decisions every day. A decision is a choice. I remember being in a group of pastors one Monday morning and listening to the “glorious” reports from the day before. “Brother we had church yesterday. The Spirit moved and we had many decisions.” Pastor after pastor spreading their feathers. After a while they looked at me. You know that look that says, “Top that.” I said, “The truth is fellas I lost track of decisions a long time ago. You want to talk about decisions. We have 1200 members. On any given Sunday at least 1000 of those “decide” not to even come to church!” It is a matter of perspective.
How big or how important a decision might be is not always easy to detect. Some are easy. If the doctor comes in and says, “I’m sorry we’ve done all we can do. You have to decide. Do you want to pull the plug or not?” That is a big decision. When that young man looks lovingly into the eyes of that young girl and says, “Will you marry me?” That’s a big decision with long term consequences. In the morning when I decided whether it will be Cocoa Puffs or Fruity Pebbles – not so much. But in between these two kinds of decisions is a large gray area. Some seem big but, in the long run, are not that significant. Others seem to matter very little but prove to be major.
That is why the Scripture puts such and emphasis on our being conformed to the image and likeness of the Lord Jesus and maturing in the faith. That is why we are to be sober minded in all we do and seek to honor God with the choices we make. Because you never know, what seems a “minor adjustment” may prove to be a major correction. What may seem a little compromise might be a total sell out. On the other hand, what might seem to be a nit-picking adherence to detail may prove to be the most important decision you ever made. At least that is the way things worked out for Daniel and his three friends.
Text: Daniel 1:1-21
Daniel’s life could be described as a series of Choices. In the 605 BC king Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon defeated Egypt at the battle of Charcemish making Babylon the dominant world power. Shortly after that victory Nebuchadnezzar’s army marched on Judah. Following the fall of Jerusalem, the Babylonians took captive the brightest and most promising of Judah’s young men. Daniel and his three friends were included in that first group of exiles. Daniel was taken to Babylon where he spent the next 7 decades. As we explore the first chapter of Daniel we learn a valuable principle related to our choices.
Thesis: Faithfulness is the only God-honoring option for the people of God.
When we are faithful to God, when we walk in obedience to His commands we have His smile and that is enough.
Three things we must note.
- The Dilemma. (1:5-7)
- A Difficult but God-honoring Choice. (1:8-14)
- God Granted them Unusual Favor. (1:15-21)
Everyday we are faced with choices.
Everyday our choices affect our lives for good or bad.
Solomon warns, “The little foxes spoil the vineyard.” (Song of Songs 2:15)
A compromise here.
Looking the other way there.
Over time it’s the small and insignificant that can destroy a life, a testimony or undermine your faith. Faithfulness, it’s the only God-honoring option for the people of God.