Four Young Men Who Refused To Sin
(A sermon from Daniel Chapter One)
1. There were three carryings away of Judah by the Babylonians as follows:
a. The first carrying away was in the reign of Jehoiakim, the 17th king of Judah (2 Chron. 36:5-7).
b. The second carrying away was in the reign of Jehoiachin was in the 18th king of Judah (2 Kings 24:8-15).
c. The third carrying away was in the reign of Zedekiah, the 19th king of Judah (2 Kings 25:1-10).
2. Daniel was carried as a captive to Babylon during the first carrying away in the reign of Jehoiakim (Dan. 1:1-7).
3. Daniel and three others — Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego–were among those taken and were probably under twenty years of age at the time (Dan. 1:3-4).
4. Daniel was in captivity during the entire seventy years predicted by Jeremiah. This we conclude from the following:
a. Jeremiah predicted that the captivity of Judah would last seventy years (Jer. 25: 11-13). The seventy year captivity lasted until the first year of Cyrus, King of Persia (2 Chron. 36:20-23).
b. The last statement in this first chapter was probably made to show that Daniel was captive during the entire seventy years (Dan. 1:2).
5. When Daniel and his Hebrew companions were first carried to Babylon they were to serve in the court of Nebuchadnezzar (Dan. 1:4). They were Hebrew children in a heathen court.
6. While they were willing to serve (Dan. 1:12), they were not willing to sin, which brings us to our present study. We will note how these ‘four young men refused” to sin because:
a. They had a GOAL.
b. They had GRIT.
c. They had GOD.
I. THEY HAD A GOAL.
A. They “purposed” in their hearts not to defile themselves with the portion of the king’s meat nor with the wine which he drank (Dan. 1:8-18).
B. “Daniel and his three companions abstained from their eating of the food appointed of the king, probably because such eating would have involved themselves in the defilement of heathen idolatry. True enough, the food appointed by the king included meats which were unclean” (Annual Lesson Commentary, 1977-78, page 90).
C. Observe that those four young men had a goal. They were determined not to sin against God. This should be the goal of each child of God today (see Rom. 6:1-14; I John 2:1, 3:9).
D. These four young men refused to sin in spite of the:
1. Predicament they were in.
a. Many people have sinned because of the situations they found themselves in. This has caused some to believe in “situational ethics.”
b. These young men were captives in a foreign land (Dan. 1:1-3).
c. They were away from their kinfolks and the people who knew and loved them (Dan. 1:1-3).
d. Yet, in spite of this predicament, they still refused to sin.
e. Joseph is another example of a young man who refused to sin in a bad situation (Gen. 39).
f. Satan thought Job would sin if the situation got bad enough (Job. 1:8-11).
2. Pressures they were under.
a. They were young, healthy, well favored men who had ability and who probably wanted to stay alive.
b. They were captives in a land where they evidently thought nothing of making people eunuchs (Dan. 1:3).
c. They were captives of a king who would kill people who refused to do like he said (Dan. 1:10).
d. They were under the pressure of “go along to get along.” Plus the food was probably the best (Dan. 1:5, NKJV). Yet, in spite of the pressure they were under, they still refused to sin.
e.Joseph was not only in a bad predicament, he was also under a lot of pressure, yet he too continually refused to sin (Gen. 39:10-12).
f. Satan thought Job would sin if the pressure got strong enough (Job 2:3-10).
3. People they were around.
a. Many people have been influenced to sin because of the people they were around.
b. Saul “feared the people and obeyed their voice” (1 Sam. 15:24).
c. Peter and Barnabas sinned because of the influence of others (Gal. 2:11-14).
b. Evil companionships can corrupt good morals (1 Cor. 15:33).
c. These four young men were surrounded by Babylonians —when in Babylon do like the Babylonians.
d. Evidently the other Hebrew captives ate the king’s meat and drank his wine. It was “these four children” that God blessed (Dan. 1:15, 17). Therefore, everybody else was doing it.
g. In spite of the people they were around, these four young men refused to sin.
II. THEY HAD GRIT.
a. Webster defines “grit” as “firmness of mind, unyielding courage.” It means stubborn courage. These men had it. They made known their determination not to sin.
b. A goal without grit won’t do any good or help a bit.
c. Their mind was made up. They were going to stick with their purpose regardless of the circumstances, regardless of the criticism, and regardless of the consequences.
d. God’s people today need to learn from these young men who refused to sin that there is a time to stand up and speak up when it comes to our convictions.
e. When the apostles in Acts 4 were commanded not to speak at all in the name of Jesus, they answered, “we cannot but speak the things we have seen and heard.” Later, they prayed for boldness that they might speak the Word (Acts 4:17-20,29).
f. Observe also Daniel’s attitude in standing for his convictions. Notice:
1. His Courtesy.
a. He was polite, gracious, considerate toward others and well mannered.
b. “He requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself’ (Dan. 1:8).
c. He was not rude. He did not behave himself rudely (1 Cor. 13:5).
d. He was courageous, but he was also courteous. God’s people today need to be kind, tenderhearted, and always, as much as possible, do all we can to live peaceably with all men (1 Cor. 13:4; Eph. 4:32; Rom. 12:18).
e. Remember, you don’t have to be sarcastic to be sound.You don’t have to ridicule to be right. You don’t have to be hateful in order to be faithful. You can have conviction and courage and still be courteous.
2. His Challenge.
a. He was courteous, but his courtesy did not cause him to.compromise.
b. He challenged the one in charge to “prove thy servants…” Give us a chance to live like our God demands and see if we do not come out better than those who do not.
c. Faithful children of God will always fare better in the end than those in the world (Matt. 25:31-46; Ps. 73).
3. His Confidence.
a. Daniel was confident that the four would look better (Dan.1:13).
b. His confidence actually led to his conviction and courage.
c. God’s people today need confidence that God will provide if we have the conviction to do His will (1 John 5:14; Heb. 4:15-16; Phil. 4:19).
III. THEY HAD GOD.
A. They had a goal. They had grit. And they had God.
B. Daniel 1:9 says,“Now God…” and the book of Daniel teaches us a lot about Him.
C. In this first chapter we see:
1. The Power of God.
a. “The Lord gave Jehoiakim, king of Judah, into his hand…” (Dan. 1:2). Thus, we see God’s power over the nations and power over the false gods of Babylon.
b. This seems to be the theme of the book of Daniel (Dan. 4:25).
c. According to the Annual Lesson Commentary (1977-78, pages 87-88), “The prince of the eunuchs change the names of those men to names which contained as an element the name of a Babylonian god, and to names which specifically obliterated the name of the true God.” Paul Butler wrote “when the Babylonians changed their names it meant they intended to honor their gods for victory over the Hebrews who’s God the Babylonians believed they had vanquished”(C.D., p. 33).
d. This attitude on the part of the Babylonians, in thinking that their gods had defeated the God of Israel, explains one of the reasons God worked so many miracles in Babylon. The miracles served to show the Babylonians that the God of the Hebrews was responsible for the Hebrews being in Babylon —not the gods of Babylon.
2. Providence of God.
a.“Now God had brought Daniel into favor and tender love with the prince of the eunuch…” (Dan. 1:9).
b. God’s providence is also clearly seen in the life of Joseph (Gen. 37-50) and in the book of Esther.
c. He also works providentially in the lives of Christians today (Rom. 8:28).
3. Provision of God.
a. “As for these four children, God gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom…” (Dan. 1:17).
b. They were ten times better than all the rest (Dan. 1:18-20).
c. Where God guides, He always provides. If He leads, He will meet the needs.
These FOUR YOUNG MEN REFUSED TO SIN because they had a GOAL of remaining faithful to God. They had the GRIT, because of which, they made their convictions known. They were successful because they had GOD, who controls all things at all times. May the Lord help His people today have the same kind of dedication. Thank God for Jesus! (2 Cor. 9:15).