When I get to heaven, I’m really looking forward to meeting Daniel – the Daniel, the one from the Bible. That guy was a STUD for the faith! His intelligence, capabilities, and character were world class. Of all the characters in the Bible—besides Jesus, that is—Daniel is the one I admire most.
And it all started with a “New Years” resolution.
Daniel 1:8 starts out, “But Daniel resolved not to defile himself…” Note that key word: resolved. He made up his mind. He was committed and determined.
If you know the story, you know that Daniel was probably a pre-teen or teenager when this happened. He was one of who knows how many wealthy and intelligent boys who are taken from their families, transported across the Fertile Crescent from Israel to Babylon, and put into a three-year crash course that would strip them of their Jewish identities and turn them into government employees.
“But Daniel resolved…”
Even though almost all the young Israeli guys were going along with the program, even though you can’t fault them for thinking that God had abandoned them, even though the price of going against the established order was high, Daniel resolved not to leave his faith back at home.
And God came through for him.
Daniel and his three roommates first asked the school Principal for permission to eat only kosher food, but he denied their request. So, they struck a deal with their homeroom teacher – a ten-day diet to prove that the teacher wouldn’t get in trouble with the authorities. I don’t know about you, but my experience with ten-day diets is that they don’t work. In this case, it did – in reverse. The four young men looked healthier than the rest of their school after the ten days were over. Plus, God gave them greater intelligence, and favor with others – and Daniel was given a supernatural ability.
And for three years, those guys were vegetarians. Three years!
So, here’s the reason I’m thinking about Daniel’s teenaged determination to remain faithful to God. It’s New Years, the time to make “resolutions” for positive change in the coming year. You know as well as I that New Years Resolutions rarely work. The reason is that they’re not resolutions. They’re hopes. They’re goals. They’re good intentions. But there is no “resolve” in those resolutions. There’s no determination