Daniel Purposed in His Heart

27 March 2022 PM – Daniel 1:8 – Scott Childs
Introduction: We know nothing particular about Daniel’s upbringing. However, when he was young, his godly parents must have taught him to fear God and honour the Bible. It seems that he chose to put God first in his life. This was so deeply ingrained in his heart that even when, as a teenager, when he was captured, made a eunuch and taken to Babylon as a slave, he remained faithful to God.
            We learn in verse 3, that Daniel was either of the king’s seed or of the princes of Judah. Thus, he was of royal blood. Verse 4 explains that he had no physical blemishes, he was well favoured, skilled in all wisdom, cunning in knowledge, understanding in science and capable of standing in the king’s palace.
Transition: Our text says, Daniel “purposed”. This word means to set something in its place. Sometime in his youth, Daniel had made a firm decision to set loyalty and honour to God first in his heart above all else. I want to show you five facts about Daniel’s decision that can help you develop the same purpose in your heart.
The first fact about Daniel’s decision is that …
1.        It was a Pre-meditated Decision
a.          Daniel purposed this decision in his heart. It was pre-meditated. It was not a feeling or emotion; it was a conviction deep within his heart. Daniel had settled his convictions in his heart years earlier. He knew what God said, and he knew what he must do.
1)         The time to settle your convictions is before you face a temptation.
2)         If you wait until you face a difficult challenge to purpose in your heart, you will often make the wrong choice.
b.          Daniel thought this decision through before making it. He knew it was not a popular decision, even among his own people.
c.           David’s prayer in Psalms 19:14, is one that Daniel may have prayed. “Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O LORD, my strength, and my redeemer.”
d.          The Psalmist also prayed, (Ps 86:11) “Teach me thy way, O LORD; I will walk in thy truth: unite my heart to fear thy name.”  These are certainly prayers that we need to pray.
The second fact about Daniel’s decision is that …
2.        It was a Biblical Decision
a.          Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself. How did he know what defiled a person? Perhaps in his youth, he heard the OT scrolls read at the temple. Perhaps his parents taught him the scriptures and posted the scriptures around his home. In some way, he knew God’s word and based his purpose on the Bible.
1)         We base some of the things we do or don’t do on feelings, preferences, our up-bringing or on society. Those foundations may not be wrong, but neither are the solid.
2)         Convictions based on the Bible are much more solid. As you study the Bible, take time to note things that God desires from you. Sometimes they will be in the form of commands. Other times they will appear as principles learned from how God responds to the obedience and failures of Bible characters.
b.          The food set before Daniel may have been skin fish, pork or food and drink first offered to idols. Daniel knew what God expected from him, and he set that expectation down in his heart as an unchanging rule. Perhaps he had memorised Psalm 119:11. “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.”
c.           What does God expect from you as a Christian? Here are a few ideas to get your thoughts going.
1)         A flourishing relationship with God, including daily Bible reading and prayer
2)         Purity of mind and body and abstinence
3)         Ruling your spirit
4)         Godly testimony
5)         Serving in our local church
6)         Obedience to your parents
7)         Witnessing to the lost
The third fact about Daniel’s decision is that …
3.        It was a Personal Decision
a.          Daniel purposed in his heart that he… Daniel made this decision himself.
1)         Remember, Daniel’s parents were probably killed in the siege of Jerusalem when Daniel was taken captive.
2)         In Babylon, he had no parents, religious teachers, and only three godly friends.
3)         No one was forcing or even urging Daniel to honour God.
b.          Daniel spoke up when he was ordered to eat and drink things that he knew God forbid.
1)         Speaking up took courage. It could have cost him his life.
2)         He was a slave. Slaves have no rights. He had many excuses. He would never see his homeland again.
3)         No one was around to make Daniel feel ashamed if he gave in. He was by himself in this decision.
4)         Despite all these excuses, Daniel made this personal decision in his heart. He would do right till the stars fell.
c.           No one can force you into purposing to put God first in your life. It was a voluntary personal choice.
The fourth fact about Daniel’s decision is that …
4.        It was an Applied Decision
a.          He applied it to the portion of the king’s meat, and the wine which he drank.
1)         He applied the general commands and principles learned from the Bible to this specific situation.
2)         He did not look for loopholes.
3)         God wants us to be ready to apply our convictions to situations in everyday life. This includes things we say and do, places we attend or avoid, beliefs we accept or reject, etc.
b.          It is most difficult to apply our convictions when we are alone or opposed. With Daniel, his convictions were so settled that his heart compelled him to make the application.
The fifth fact about Daniel’s decision is that …
5.        It was a Lived Decision
a.          In Daniel’s situation, it would have been easy for him to do as many of the other Jewish captives did and just eat what the king placed before him. After all, he was a slave.
b.          However, he requested that he might not defile himself.
1)         At the risk of losing his life, Daniel requested to be excused from eating and drinking things he knew God forbid him to partake in.
2)         His request took great courage and trust in God.
c.           If you purpose to set God first in every area of your life, you too will be tested. Peers will test you. Lusts and pleasures will test you. The world, the flesh, and the devil will test you. Family may test you. Carnal Christians will test you. Employers may test you. The government may one day test you. God urges us to stand fast. (1Cor 16:13) “Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.”
d.          As Christians, God challenges us to live our convictions. (1 Corinthians 15:58) “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.
Conclusion: Have you purposed in your heart to put God first in every area of your life? Have you established certain convictions based on the Bible regarding what you will and will not do? If you have not so purposed in your heart, you will give in when peer pressure, pleasures, temptations, and persecution get strong. (Eph 6:14) “Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness;”