How To Do Right When Everybody’s Doing Wrong

April 23, 2013

Daniel 1:1-21

“But everybody’s doing it!!” Anyone who has children or grandchildren has heard this many times. Because a large group, usually not everybody, is doing it kids want to justify themselves engaging in whatever the it is that “everybody is doing.” God has children as well and He hears this same comment often. It usually comes across to Him in “God, our preacher says it’s OK and so does Dr. Goodwords on the TV.” “Other denominations do it.” “It’s not clearly spelled out in the Bible so I’m going to join in with the rest of the people who say it is OK.” “I’ll be considered a weirdo if I don’t.” “The other preachers won’t like me if I don’t go along with them.” The words may change a little and the topics vary, but it all comes to do everybody’s doing it so don’t get mad at me God if I do it.
No matter what our age we experience peer pressure and we either cave in to that pressure or take a stand. We tend to have a very small “world” so if in that world a large number of people are doing something then we feel like everybody is doing it. If we work in an office with ten other people and they all cuss and carry on then we feel like we need to do so to fit in. If there are other professing Christians in the office we say, “See, they are doing it, so it must not be that bad.” We feel like it must not be a big thing and God does not concern Himself about little things. Does He?
Well, let’s look at some of God’s children in a strange land with what might seem like a small issue and see if this helps us to understand how to do right when everybody’s doing wrong.

Dan 1:1-21
1 In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem, and besieged it.
2 And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with part of the vessels of the house of God: which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his god; and he brought the vessels into the treasure house of his god.
3 And the king spake unto Ashpenaz the master of his eunuchs, that he should bring certain of the children of Israel, and of the king’s seed, and of the princes;
4 Children in whom was no blemish, but well favoured, and skilful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science, and such as had ability in them to stand in the king’s palace, and whom they might teach the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans.
5 And the king appointed them a daily provision of the king’s meat, and of the wine, which he drank: so nourishing them three years that at the end thereof they might stand before the king.
6 Now among these were of the children of Judah, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah:
7 Unto whom the prince of the eunuchs gave names: for he gave unto Daniel the name of Belteshazzar; and to Hananiah, of Shadrach; and to Mishael, of Meshach; and to Azariah, of Abednego.

Being taken captive in a war is not something that we aspire to experience. Being taken from our homeland makes it even worse and when you are young, good looking and capable of having a good future from man’s perspective it is a downright nightmare. This situation is where Daniel and his three friends find themselves.
As we see, they are better off then most of the people taken captive and transplanted. They were considered the cream of the crop and were to be trained for three years and eventually become courtiers and advisors to the King. Most of the people taken were made slaves, but these lads would receive fine food, education and even mingle among the children of the royalty. If ever there was a reason to go along to get along this was one. Why mess this up and end up in a field or even dead because of your resistance to assimilation? Because children of God are children of God no matter what situation they find themselves in and they are to act accordingly.
Daniel and his friends chose to do right because they had the right perspective. You have to know that where you are God put you there. Even as a prisoner of war in a foreign land, Daniel and the boys were where God wanted them to be. The nation went into captivity because they turned away from God and it appears that our four friends realized that staying in God’s will was the way to handle the situation rather than by further rebellion and sin.
You may not be happy with your current position in life. I am not happy with mine, but we have to remember that we are where God wants us to be at this time or maybe even for life. That being the case, we must listen to Paul and be content in whatever state we are in. (Phil 4:1) We have a mission where we are and when that mission is complete we may move on to another place or be given another mission where we are. Either way, we must submit to His loving Lordship and be content.
Daniel’s small group was aware of their gifts and abilities and knew that God prepared them for the place and time. We are not told how many other Hebrew children were selected for this management program. We are only told about the four that were about to take a stand for God. We may find ourselves among a lot of professing Christians that do not understand why we are different and won’t go along to get along. That does not matter. What matters is that we must maintain our own conscience before God and be ready to do what He has placed and prepared us to in our particular part of His field.

8 But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine, which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.

We often compliment a fine meal by calling it a meal fit for a King. Unfortunately, this pagan king was not serving kosher food and Daniel knew this. He was not asked to bow before any statues at this time or do anything like sleep with various women or curse his God. He would only have to eat food not prepared according to the law and drink wine that was not made or mingled according to the law. A small thing in itself according to men’s viewpoint, but important enough for God to go to the trouble of defining clean and unclean food. Yes his captors gave him a pagan name, but people can call us whatever they want and that will not defile us. Our enemies gave the name Christian to us and we wear it gladly.
What Daniel had was the right purpose to help him do right. In his heart he had already pondered the matter and weighed the risks and decided that his personal holiness was more important than being kicked out of this training program to become a common slave. He would not defile himself. To defile himself would also be to deny God. He would not do that.
When we have a choice between defiling ourselves and denying God what do we choose? Often the compromise starts out as small things that do not seem to matter. Then it progresses into larger issues that we find ways to justify ourselves. Ultimately we come to an opportunity to truly fulfill the mission that God prepared us for and we either fail to do it or we try and fail because our credibility is zero with the people to whom we are trying to minister. Don’t let the small foxes or ruin your harvest and reward. (SOS 2:15)

9 Now God had brought Daniel into favour and tender love with the prince of the eunuchs.
10 And the prince of the eunuchs said unto Daniel, I fear my lord the king, who hath appointed your meat and your drink: for why should he see your faces worse liking than the children which are of your sort? then shall ye make me endanger my head to the king.

Daniel’s group was also in the right position to do right. They were in favor with God and with man. When you find yourself in such a difficult situation as these lads you better be right with God. It will take God to move the hearts of the opposition. The eunuch was given charge of these lads and his head would be on a platter if it could be proven that he did not properly care for them. His goal would be to follow the king’s orders to the letter. God would handle this because of the hearts of the boys. Their desire was to do right, please Him and honor Him and He would give them the opportunity.
God moved upon this prince of the eunuchs and also their actions towards him made the caretaker love them like sons, which is conveyed by the tender love he had for them. He may well have been a devout man himself and understood their desire to maintain their right position before their God, as he desired to do before his own god, but it would take more than that to risk his head or at the least his position. If he did not have this love for them they would not have been able to even make such a request for this deviation from his orders.
God can do this same thing for us if we truly wish to maintain our personal holiness. We do not have to cave into peer pressure or do what everybody else is doing. We can do right. We just have to have the same faith and heart for obedience as Daniel and his friends. Do we have that? Let us pray for it!

11 Then said Daniel to Melzar, whom the prince of the eunuchs had set over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah,
12 Prove thy servants, I beseech thee, ten days; and let them give us pulse to eat, and water to drink.
13 Then let our countenances be looked upon before thee and the countenance of the children that eat of the portion of the king’s meat: and as thou seest, deal with thy servants.

Another thing that helped them to do right when everybody was doing wrong is that they had the right petition. They were humble or ’umble as we say here in Texas. They beseeched him or earnestly pled with him to give their plan a try. There is no arrogance or demand in their request. They are showing him proper respect. Too often we get into trouble because we do not know how to make a ’umble plea.
Then also sought to benefit the other person as well as themselves. They asked for a ten-day trial and then would allow the eunuch to compare them with the other lads. If they looked worse to him after the ten days then they would submit to the king’s food. They let him know that they were not trying to get him into trouble. They gave him a chance to back out of the thing if it went wrong. If we show people that we are concerned for their welfare also when we have to take our stands they will be more willing to listen to us and cooperate with us.
You also have to have the right persistence. Doing right is a lifestyle. The crew was not only willing to have this diet of vegetables and water for the 10-day short term, but they were in it for the long haul. Remember the training program was for three years and they may have had to do this for life or until they were in a position to get the right food.
Most of us would have a hard time adapting to a vegetable and water diet. We like RC’s, BBQ and various desserts. We like a lot of variety. There may have only been six local vegetables to choose from and if you hated five of them you are stuck with collards and water. I like collards just fine, but I like a change regularly. That is why we give up when doing right doesn’t give an immediate payoff. We do not have the right persistence like these boys.

14 So he consented to them in this matter, and proved them ten days.
15 And at the end of ten days their countenances appeared fairer and fatter in flesh than all the children which did eat the portion of the king’s meat.
16 Thus Melzar took away the portion of their meat, and the wine that they should drink; and gave them pulse.
17 As for these four children, God gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom: and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams.

To do right when all others are doing wrong you have to have the right produce. I don’t mean vegetables. I mean you have to produce the right fruit. When the tens days were up the boys looked better than anyone else in the class. They had a good countenance. That did not come from the food alone, but also from their attitude. They could have moaned the whole ten days about how rough they were having it eating collards and water when they could see the other folks having grand meals with all the fixin’s. Doing right is so hard they could have whined, but they didn’t do that. They were praising God that they weren’t being defiled and honoring God.
That produced what we might call the fruits of the spirit or the gifts of God being active in their life. The eunuch and the king wanted results. They would not have cared if the boys wanted to sleep standing up as long as they passed the training. God gave them all they needed for that course and then some. He rewarded their heart’s purpose and persistence with heavenly produce!!! We have crop failures because we do not prepare our hearts like these boys hindering God from producing in our life the harvest He desires to give us!

18 Now at the end of the days that the king had said he should bring them in, then the prince of the eunuchs brought them in before Nebuchadnezzar.
19 And the king communed with them; and among them all was found none like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: therefore stood they before the king.
20 And in all matters of wisdom and understanding, that the king inquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm.

In the end because the boys decided to do right and stick with it no matter who was doing what they had the right performance. They were able to stand before the king and amazed the fire out of him. They were ten times better than all the rest by doing right in the seemingly small thing. By doing right they were able to show the wisdom and knowledge God gave them and so will we be able to do the same if we follow their example. They were promoted and honored because they were faithful in the least so God gave them much more in which to be faithful. (Luke 6:10)

21 And Daniel continued even unto the first year of King Cyrus. (KJV)

Finally, by doing right when everybody else was doing wrong Daniel ended up with the right perpetuity. We are not told exactly how old Daniel and the lads were when they started their training in captivity. We do know that the captivity lasted seventy years and Daniel was still in power when Cyrus took over and the captives were allowed to return home. He was at least in his late seventies and more likely his late eighties or nineties.
In those seventy years, many people in the ruling body came and went but by doing right Daniel was able to withstand the changes of man. He was not going anywhere until God moved him no matter what man may say. He survived the lion’s den and many adversaries. His friends made it through the fiery furnace. Man thinks he is in control, but it is God who promotes and empowers His people and man cannot touch them until God changes the mission or calls home the one He has put into place.
During this time Daniel withheld nothing that God gave him to share. He interpreted all the king’s dreams and gave godly counsel. Most conquering kings purge the wise men of the old regime, but Cyrus saw something in Daniel that caused him to not only let him live but to return with the rest of his people to Israel. What he saw was the true God in a man that purposed to do right when everybody else was doing wrong. What do men see in us? May they see God in us like Daniel and his friends! Dr. Bob Jones had it right when he said, “Do right until the stars fall.” May Father grant us the heart to do it!!!!


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