When we were working in Italy, my mother would conclude
her weekly letters: “Keep smiling and stay on that winning
team!” Someone observes: “A man without convictions is
a tramp on the road that leads to the land of nowhere”
(Unknown). Our convictions are important because they
shape our actions, and our actions are important because
they shape our eternity. Four teenage Jewish young men
understood these truths as they were being carried away into
Babylonian captivity. One of these young men was
Daniel, and he exhibits four traits that all young people
First of all, show a committed heart! Look at 1:8:
“[Daniel] purposed in his heart that he would not defile
himself with the portion of the king's delicacies ...”
(1:8). What was wrong with eating the king's food and
drink? There are several sins involved here: the meat
most likely had been offered to idols; the meat was probably
saturated in blood; the meat likely came from unclean
animals. The wine probably had a very high alcoholic
content which could easily lead to drunkenness.
Daniel's knowledge of God's law caused him to act
differently than others. Because Daniel knew God's truths,
he made a serious resolve that he would not defile himself
with the king's diet. So, Daniel proposes another
diet, and he later is given permission to keep using it!
Daniel had a committed heart. Daniel determined that
daily participation in sin wouldn't be a part of his life.
Even though he was away from Israel, he would still be
devoted to obeying God's Word. One commentator said:
“Here's a young man away from home, but he makes a purpose!
I wish to God that all our young [people] who are away from
home would make purposes not to defile themselves” (McGuiggan).
So, young people, show a committed heart to imitate Daniel!
Next, show a helping hand. In chapter 2, King
Nebuchadnezzar had a disturbing dream, and he wants the
dream to be interpreted. The trouble was, however,
that the king could not remember the dream, so he wants his
wise men to tell him the dream as well as interpret it.
He then threatens to kill all the wise men if they fail to
obey him, and this includes Daniel and his friends.
Daniel immediately springs into action: he goes to the king
and begs for a little time, then he goes to his friends and
asks them to pray, and then he goes to bed. And as he
slept, God revealed the King's dream to him. Then Daniel
returns once again to the king. Now let's notice 2:28:
“But there is a God in heaven who reveals secrets, and He
has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will be in the
latter days.” Daniel is concerned about the welfare of
others, and he takes a great risk in going before the king
himself. What would have happened to him if he had not
interpreted the dream? Someone has noted: “Where did
this teenager get his confidence? How could it have
entered his mind that given enough time he would be able to
discover the dream and the meaning of it? That's
right, he knew the source of all wisdom” (McGuiggan)!
Because Daniel had a strong faith in God, he was able to
risk his own life as he went personally before the king.
Listen closely to this: “Service to a just cause that helps
others rewards the worker with more real happiness and
satisfaction than any other venture in life” (Catt).
Show a helping hand to imitate Daniel!
Next, show an excellent spirit. Look now at 6:3-4:
“Then this Daniel distinguished himself above the governors
and satraps, because an excellent spirit was in him, and the
king gave thought to setting him over the whole realm. So
the governors and satraps sought to find some charge against
Daniel concerning the kingdom; but they could find no charge
or fault, because he was faithful; nor was there any error
or fault found in him.” Daniel was now about 80 years
old, and he had been working in a public office for some 60
years. Now with a career that long, you'd think Daniel
would have made some major mistakes. But when Daniel's
enemies searched the records, nothing could be found to use
against him! One commentator notes: “[His adversaries]
searched well, but not only was he honest in his dealings,
he was capable in his job. ... Ah, if we only had more of
these, both in politics and in the service of Christ our
Lord” (McGuiggan)! Someone encourages us with this
little poem: “Good, better, best, never let it rest—until
your good is better, and your better becomes your best”
(Hepburn in Swindoll)! Colossians 3:23 exhorts us: “And
whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to
men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward
of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ!” “If
brilliance is silver, an excellent spirit is gold” (McGuiggan)!
Show an excellent spirit to imitate Daniel!
Next, show a prayerful life. Daniel's enemies were
sharp enough to figure out that they would have to attack
Daniel's religion in order to get him to trouble. So
they talk King Darius into signing a decree that all in his
kingdom should pray only to him during a 30 day period.
The king didn't realize the trap that was being set and
signed the decree. Now look at 6:10: “Now when Daniel
knew that the writing was signed, he went home. And in
his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, he
knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and
gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early
days.” Did you notice those last few words, “as was
his custom since early days”? You see, young people,
Daniel got started early in his career and set aside three
times each day to pray. Maybe that’s why his career
was flawless! Someone notes: “As soon as the document
had been signed, Daniel knew that he had been framed.
If the possibility occurred to him that he could change his
prayer routine, or pray without appearing to do so, it was
dismissed as out of the question. He steadily
continued his lifelong habit of regular prayer, as his
accusers expected he would” (Baldwin). Did you hear
that? Daniel had a lifelong habit of regular prayer.
Young people, find your upper room and your times of day so
that you can regularly talk to God! Did you know that
the divorce rate for couples who regularly pray together is
1 out of 400 (Dobson)! Stamp this on your heart: Life
is fragile; handle with prayer! Show a prayerful life
to imitate Daniel!
Daniel and his friends had convictions and lived their lives
to please God! Young people, as you leave the nest and
launch out on your own, show a committed heart, show a
helping hand, show an excellent spirit, and show a prayerful
life! Imitate Daniel's outstanding life! At the
crossroads of life, remember your convictions and proclaim:
“I am for the Lord, and heaven is my destination!”
If Jesus is not your Lord today, why not make that decision
this morning? Decide to get out of the sinning business,
confess that you believe that Jesus is God's divine Son, and
clothe yourself with Christ in the waters of baptism as you
die to yourself and rise to live anew following all to His
teachings! Get on His winning team now!