September 27, 2009 – October 3, 2009
“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.” Daniel 1:8.
Study Help: The Sanctified Life, 18–24; Fundamentals of Christian Education, 95–99.
“As in the case of Daniel, in exact proportion as the spiritual character is developed, the intellectual capabilities are increased.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 4, 1168.
1 How was the prophecy of Jeremiah 25:8–11 fulfilled? II Kings 24:13–16; Daniel 1:1, 2. Why did this calamity come?
Note: “The children of Israel were taken captive to Babylon because they separated from God; they did not maintain his principles unadulterated with the sentiments of the nations around them. The people who should have been a light amid the surrounding darkness, disregarded the word of the Lord. They lived for themselves, and neglected to do the special work God had appointed them. And because of their failure to fulfill his purpose, he permitted them to be humbled by an idolatrous nation.” The Youth’s Instructor, May 14, 1903.
2 Describe some aspects of the discouraging scene. Psalm 137:1–4. How is this a warning for us? Proverbs 26:2.
Note: “The righteous with the unrighteous were taken away into a land where the name of Jehovah would not come to their ears; where songs of praise and thanksgiving to God would not be heard; where prophets with messages of warnings and reproof and counsel would be few and far between.” The Youth’s Instructor, August 18, 1898.
“If men refuse to receive the admonitions of the Lord, if they persist in walking contrary to his instruction, he cannot deliver them from the sure consequences of their own course.” Ibid., May 14, 1903.
3 What special command did the king give and for what purpose? Daniel 1:3–5. Discuss the value of early discipline. Proverbs 22:6.
Note: “When the Jews were dispersed from Jerusalem, there were among them young men and women who were firm as a rock to principle, men and women who had not pursued a course to make the Lord ashamed to call them His people. These were sad at heart for the backsliding which they could not prevent. These innocent ones must suffer with the guilty; but God would give them strength sufficient for their day.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 4, 1144.
“God commanded the Hebrews to teach their children His requirements, and to make them acquainted with all His dealings with their people. The home and the school were one. In the place of stranger lips, the loving hearts of the father and mother were to give instruction to their children. Thoughts of God were associated with all the events of daily life in the home dwelling. The mighty works of God in the deliverance of His people were recounted with eloquence and reverential awe.” Fundamentals of Christian Education, 95.
4 Who were included among the faithful? Daniel 1:6, 7. Why were their names changed?
Note: “[Daniel] was surrounded with influences calculated to subvert those who would vacillate between principle and inclination; yet the Word of God presents him as a faultless character. Daniel dared not trust to his own moral power. Prayer was to him a necessity. He made God his strength, and the fear of God was continually before him.” The Sanctified Life, 20.
“Anciently the name of a child stood for his character, and the names given to these children were characteristic of what it was expected they would become. They were young in years, and this change in their names it was believed would make an impression on their minds. In a little while, it was hoped, their former religion would be forgotten, and they would become in character and purpose like the Chaldean youth about them.” The Youth’s Instructor, October 29, 1907.
5 What did Daniel decide and why? Daniel 1:8, first part; Leviticus 10:1, 2, 8–11.
Note: “As Daniel and his fellows were brought to the test, they placed themselves fully on the side of righteousness and truth. They did not move capriciously, but intelligently. They decided that as flesh-meat had not composed their diet in the past, it should not come into their diet in the future, and as wine had been prohibited to all who should engage in the service of God, they determined that they would not partake of it. The fate of the sons of Aaron had been presented before them, and they knew that the use of wine would confuse their senses, that the indulgence of appetite would becloud their powers of discernment. These particulars were placed on record in the history of the children of Israel as a warning to every youth to avoid all customs and practises [sic] and indulgences that would in any way dishonor God.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 4, 1166, 1167.
“The approval of God was dearer to him [Daniel] than the favor of the most powerful earthly potentate—dearer than life itself.” Prophets and Kings, 483.
6 How should the example of Daniel and his companions be put into practice today? I Corinthians 10:31.
Note: “Amid the seductive influences of the luxurious courts of Babylon they [Daniel and his companions] stood firm. The youth of today are surrounded with allurements to self-indulgence. Especially in our large cities, every form of sensual gratification is made easy and inviting. Those who, like Daniel, refuse to defile themselves, will reap the reward of temperate habits.” Messages to Young People, 242.
“If, like Daniel, young men and young women will bring all their habits, appetites, and passions into conformity to the requirements of God, they will qualify themselves for higher work. They should put from their minds all that is cheap and frivolous. Nonsense and amusement-loving propensities should be discarded, as out of place in the life and experience of those who are living by faith in the Son of God.” Ibid., 41, 42.
7 What request did Daniel and his companions make that revealed their convictions? Daniel 1:8, last part, 9.
Note: “This request they [Daniel and his companions] did not prefer in a defiant spirit, but as if soliciting a great favor. The appearance of Daniel and his companions was like what every youth’s should be. They were courteous, kind, respectful, possessing the grace of meekness and modesty. And the good behavior of these youth obtained favor for them.” The Youth’s Instructor, August 18, 1898.
8 How did Daniel’s suggestion prevail over the concern of Melzar? Daniel 1:10–17. What can we learn from this experience?
Note: “The lesson here presented [of Daniel and his companions] is one which we would do well to ponder. Our danger is not from scarcity, but from abundance. We are constantly tempted to excess. Those who would preserve their powers unimpaired for the service of God must observe strict temperance in the use of His bounties, as well as total abstinence from every injurious or debasing indulgence.” Counsels on Diet and Foods, 29.
“There are many who feel that they cannot get along without flesh food; but if these would place themselves on the Lord’s side, resolutely resolved to walk in the way of His guidance, they would receive strength and wisdom as did Daniel and his fellows. They would find that the Lord would give them sound judgment.” Testimonies, vol. 9, 157.
9 What should we learn from Nebuchadnezzar’s intensive examination of the four Hebrew youth? Daniel 1:18–21.
Note: “Only by faithfulness in the little things can the soul be trained to act with fidelity under larger responsibilities. God brought Daniel and his fellows into connection with the great men of Babylon, that these heathen men might become acquainted with the principles of true religion. In the midst of a nation of idolaters, Daniel was to represent the character of God. How did he become fitted for a position of so great trust and honor? It was his faithfulness in the little things that gave complexion to his whole life. …
“As God called Daniel to witness for Him in Babylon, so He calls us to be His witnesses in the world today. In the smallest as well as the largest affairs of life He desires us to reveal to men the principles of His kingdom.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 356, 357.
10 How does the Word of God encourage the practice of health reform by men in high positions? Ecclesiastes 10:17.
Note: “What if Daniel and his companions had made a compromise with those heathen officers and had yielded to the pressure of the occasion by eating and drinking as was customary with the Babylonians? That single instance of departure from principle would have weakened their sense of right and their abhorrence of wrong. Indulgence of appetite would have involved the sacrifice of physical vigor, clearness of intellect, and spiritual power. One wrong step would probably have led to others, until, their connection with Heaven being severed, they would have been swept away by temptation.” The Sanctified Life, 23.
“The Christian is to be ‘rooted and grounded’ in the truth, that he may stand firm against the temptations of the enemy. He must have a continual renewal of strength, and he must hold firmly to Bible truth. Fables of every kind will be brought in to seduce the believer from his allegiance to God, but he is to look up, believe in God, and stand firmly rooted and grounded in the truth.
“Keep a firm hold upon the Lord Jesus, and never let go. Have firm convictions as to what you believe. Let the truths of God’s Word lead you to devote heart, mind, soul, and strength to the doing of his will. Lay hold resolutely upon a plain ‘Thus saith the Lord.’ Let your only argument be, ‘It is written.’ Thus we are to contend for the faith once delivered to the saints. That faith has not lost any of its sacred, holy character, however objectionable its opposers may think it to be.
“Those who follow their own mind and walk in their own way will form crooked characters. Vain doctrines and subtle sentiments will be introduced with plausible presentations, to deceive, if possible, the very elect. Are church-members building upon the Rock? The storm is coming, the storm that will try every man’s faith, of what sort it is. Believers must now be firmly rooted in Christ, or else they will be led astray by some phase of error. Let your faith be substantiated by the Word of God. Grasp firmly the living testimony of truth. Have faith in Christ as a personal Saviour. He has been and ever will be our Rock of Ages. The testimony of the Spirit of God is true. Change not your faith for any phase of doctrine, however pleasing it may appear, that will seduce the soul.
“The fallacies of Satan are now being multiplied, and those who swerve from the path of truth will lose their bearings. Having nothing to which to anchor, they will drift from one delusion to another, blown about by the winds of strange doctrines. Satan has come down with great power. Many will be deceived by his miracles. …
“I entreat every one to be clear and firm regarding the certain truths that we have heard and received and advocated. The statements of God’s Word are plain. Plant your feet firmly on the platform of eternal truth. Reject every phase of error, even though it be covered with a semblance of reality.” The Review and Herald, August 31, 1905.
“By earnest, Christlike efforts, men will be convicted and converted, and God will speak pardon to them. Let no one turn away a soul who leaves the service of Satan and asks Jesus for pardon. ‘Of some have compassion, making a difference.’ [Jude 22.] When they give evidence that the Spirit of God is striving with them present to them every encouragement for entering the Lord’s service. Do not discourage them by indifference, by drawing away from them with an air of, ‘I am holier than thou.’ [Isaiah. 65:5.]” Manuscript Releases, vol. 12, 97.
© Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.