On Compromising

Daniel 1:8 (ESV)
"But Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the king’s food, or with the wine that he drank. Therefore he asked the chief of the eunuchs to allow him not to defile himself."

In this verse, we see a man who is resolute in staying faithful to God despite the extraordinary circumstances surrounding his being exiled to Babylon. Daniel provides an excellent example of what it means to not assimilate with the world around him and to remain as God called His people to be – holy; meaning to be separated for His purposes.

Despite his youth, Daniel was resolute in his desire to please the Lord. One can only imagine if any of us would pass this same test, given the culture surrounding us of “When in Rome, do as the Romans” or “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas”. We are a people comfortable with compromising to cultural popularity in lieu of God’s desire for our lives. Yet here was Daniel and his companions, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah (perhaps better known by their Babylonian names of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego), forced into exile, in bondage, in slavery, being forced to forget their God and worship instead King Nebuchadnezzar. To defy the king meant certain death, yet they held fast to a trust in faith in God many of us likely do not possess, if truth be told.

The Christian group Casting Crowns has a song called “Slow Fade” and in this song are the following lyrics: “It's the second glance that ties your hands, As darkness pulls the strings.” How often do the temptations of the world lure you in because of a lingering look? Once we’ve given in, the second temptation becomes that much more difficult to resist, and the slippery slope to ruin has begun. Daniel knew this—that if he took this seemingly insignificant step in eating the foods offered the Babylonian gods that were not kosher it would lead to further erosion and distance from the one true God.

The lesson for us in this verse is to reflect on our own lives and determine where we are when it comes to displaying moral courage. When we’re children, peer pressure was a constant presence and one we often succumbed to, but is it different for us now? Have we matured enough along the way to stand with God when our morality is tested?

We certainly see in today's political climate many Christians willing to compromise their moral beliefs to elect the "lesser of two evils". Compromise is center stage in the Alabama Senate race right now. Many are willing to overlook credible evidence of sexual immorality on the part of one candidate because the other candidate is deemed worse for the country.

Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah refused to bow down in the face of idolatry. With unwavering faith, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah faced the fiery furnace of Nebuchadnezzar rather than turn away from God. In their most difficult time, we see the Great Shepherd bringing them through without even the aroma of flames upon them. How great is our God and how weak is the devil! Satan cannot make a fire too hot for those who believe in Him.

Take your stand today. Stand with Christ when the circumstances surrounding you are telling you to compromise. Have faith in the One who will deliver you from temptation, trial, and darkness. When we refuse to compromise our morals, rest assured God will bless us.