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February 16, 2020 | Doug Sauder
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“Daniel then said to the guard whom the chief official had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, ‘Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food, and treat your servants in accordance with what you see.’ So he agreed to this and tested them for ten days.”—Daniel 1:11–14 (NIV)
Have you ever set out to prove yourself? To prove that you have what it takes? I’m reminded of the montage in Captain America: The First Avenger where Steve Rogers—before the super soldier serum physically turned him into Captain America—proves himself through grit, determination, and heart to be the right candidate for the serum. His pure heart and selflessness are what made him stand out as the perfect person to receive the power.
In today’s passage, we read how Daniel and his three friends—later known as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego—refused to compromise their convictions and defile themselves before the Lord. They put honoring God above all else, even their own lives and wellbeing. Why? Because He is worthy! And so, they approached the chief of the eunuchs with a proposition. They pretty much said, “Test us and see who rises to the top.”
They knew that when you honor the Lord without compromise, the Lord can do amazing things in, through, and around you. When you put Him above all, He blesses you and your works.
I can’t help but see an amazing confidence in Daniel and his friends throughout this powerful book. Every time we see these men faced with trials or put under pressure to compromise, they stood strong and demonstrated an uncanny boldness and assurance in the Lord. They said, “We’ll honor the Lord . . . now watch what happens!”
But here’s what I want you to know and understand: They didn’t and couldn’t do this on their own. There was no way that in their own power they could have accomplished what they did, proven themselves as they did, or produced such good works on their own. For them and for us, this is only possible by the power of God and the transforming, equipping, empowering, and emboldening power of the Holy Spirit. When we seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, when we walk in step with the Spirit and purpose in our hearts to honor the Lord, He works, He moves, He open doors, He makes ways, and He proves Himself!
So, friends, like Daniel and his friends, let us say to the world (to our coworkers, neighbors, friends, family, classmates, to anyone we encounter in public), “Test your servants.” And let the Holy Spirit do His thing! Here’s what will happen: “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:16 NIV).
DIG: What gave Daniel and his friends such confidence?
DISCOVER: How have you seen believers prove themselves and live in such a way that it draws people in and makes the gospel attractive? Think of examples!
DO: Be intentional this week about living in a way that makes the gospel attractive to the watching world.