16th September 2023
JASON DEXTER says
When was the last time you faced peer pressure?
When was the last time society around you tried to squeeze you into its own mould?
When was the last time your friends or your family tried to influence you to do something you knew is wrong?
Daniel faced powerful forces trying to influence him.
He lived in a dark and pagan culture that had no respect for God. And he faced people who tried to force him to live in the same worldly way which they did.
Nebuchadnezzar's Plan. A group of Judean youths were taken. The word "youths" is normally viewed to denote young men between 14-18 or so. This makes sense because we know Daniel lived at least 75 or so years after this. Nebuchadnezzar wanted to take young men likely because he thought they would be easier to influence.
They were going to go through a three year assimilation program at the "University of Babylon." They were to learn the language, the history, the literature, and the religion of the Chaldeans. And they were also to develop the lifestyle and habits.
This plan was well thought and well executed and normally must have worked to perfection. This would have allowed the Babylonians to make use of not only the natural resources of other countries, but also the human resources, and turn the leaders of those countries slowly in favour of Babylon. It is information propaganda, brainwashing. If you can change their minds to accept you, then you don't have to fight them anymore.
This is the situation Daniel and his friends faced.
On the one side, you have the might and strength of the most powerful empire in the world. On the other side, you have a few teenage boys alone far from home and everything they are familiar with. It doesn't seem like they have much of a chance to resist the inevitable, does it?
We chose this book because it very practical to our lives today.
Daniel lived in a place that had no respect for God. There were temptations all around him. The education system was brainwashing people to believe in lies instead of the truth from God. There was great pressure to conform to society and be like everyone else.
We too live in a society like this. God is not honoured. The education system not only here, but around the world, brainwashes people to accept lies, lies of evolution and atheism. There is great pressure to conform and be like everyone else. We will see from Daniel how to face these pressures and live as a light in a dark place.
We see a teenage boy. He is far from home. He is lonely. He is surrounded by pagan culture. Temptations and sin are on every side. And when he is faced with a temptation, he draws a line in his mind, and resolves himself that he will not cross it.
He was commanded to eat food, that was technically forbidden in the Mosaic law. He did refuse to eat the food.
While wine was not expressly forbidden it was warned against in Proverbs 23:31-35.
So notice where Daniel draws his line in the sand. It is not based on his own opinion. It is based on tradition or customs or culture.
It is based on the Word of God.
God's Word clearly forbid him from eating this food and therefore he resolved not to. He made up his mind to do what was right without compromise and without offering excuses.
Even in the face of overwhelming pressure, he stood on the truth and wouldn't budge. Exodus 23:2 says, "Do not follow the crowd in doing wrong." So he didn't.
Was this an easy decision for Daniel?
I am sure he knew that the potential consequence of disobedience is death. What use would the king have for captives who wouldn't obey?
You know what would have happened if Daniel made an excuse and ate the food?
We wouldn't even have the book of Daniel. Eating the food would be the first foot going down the slippery slope.
What would you do if you were in Daniel's situation?
Many people would say, "I have to do it." "I have no choice." There is no choice, right?
Daniel had a choice. We always have a choice.
Are you listening?
You always have a choice!!!!
No one can make you sin.
No pressure can cause you to cross the line.
The world desperately needs believers like Daniel, believers who will refuse to give in to peer pressure.
Believers who will make up their minds and resolve in their hearts that they will not do the same sinful thing as those around them.
Un-edited version and Bible references avaiable, on request
The inductive Bible studies on our site were written by Jason Dexter
He was born in Austin, Texas in 1985. He has 7 brothers and sisters.
When he was ten, his family moved to Wilmington, NC where he grew up enjoying the beach . His parents are both faithful believers with a Navigator background and led him to have a strong appreciation for the truth in God's Word through daily devotions each weekday at 7 AM. He knew he wanted to serve the Lord so attended Moody Bible Institute in order to build up his understanding and foundation of the Word to prepare for a life of service. In 2003, he graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Biblical Studies.
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