Pastor James J. Barker

Text: DANIEL 1:8


  1. Young people, when ever you think of Daniel the prophet, think of these words, "But Daniel purposed in his heart…" (Dan.1:8). This means Daniel made up his mind he was going to serve God.
  2. Also, when you think about Daniel, remember he was very young when he was taken to Babylon as a captive. Verses 3-6 say he was a child. Most people think he was probably a teenager. That’s an important time in life.
  3. It is best to make up your mind when you are young. Daniel did not waver. He did not compromise. He purposed in his heart that he was going to do right. He would serve God. He would be faithful.
  4. Young people, be like Daniel. Do not wait till you’re old to get right with God. Too many young people lack conviction. They are pulled in every direction. One day they say they love God and want to serve Him. The next day they are out with their worldly friends listening to rock music.
  5. One day they say they want to go to a good Christian college and the next day they say that once they graduate from Bible Baptist Academy they want nothing to do with any more Christian schools.
  6. Daniel was different. He purposed in his heart. Read the book of Daniel and you will note that as far as we know Daniel never messed up. There are few people in the Bible like that. This was because from his childhood Daniel decided he was going to serve God with all his heart.



    1. Daniel was selected by the Babylonians. They wanted the cream of the crop. They wanted "children in whom was no blemish, but well favored…" (1:4).
    2. Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, wanted young men he could "teach the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans" (1:4b). He wanted these young men to develop into great leaders – governors and rulers over the many provinces controlled at that time by Babylon (practically the whole known world).
    3. So here is Daniel far from home in a foreign land. He does not know the customs, the language, nor the people. He has no relatives to help him, no priest or prophet to encourage him to do right. He is a stranger in a pagan land, all alone, enrolled in a worldly three-year college program (1:5).
    4. Suddenly Daniel is challenged to do something he was not prepared to do (1:8). He is told to break away from his childhood training, to forget all about his standards and convictions, and he is urged to compromise – to eat the king’s meat (probably offered to idols), and to drink the king’s wine (1:5-7).
    5. If he quietly goes along with the king’s program, he will eventually graduate and go on to become an important ruler serving under King Nebuchadnezzar. If he refuses he will probably be killed.
    6. Who can Daniel go to for advice? There is no mention of his parents. Perhaps they died. There are no priests or prophets around. He is surrounded by magicians, and astrologers, and sorcerers – men who worship devils, men who know nothing about the true God of the Bible (cf. Dan.2:2).
    7. This was not an easy decision for Daniel. If he refused to eat the king’s meat and refused to drink the king’s wine he could have been executed. King Nebuchadnezzar was cruel and vicious (cf. 2:5).
    8. It may seem like a minor problem to most teenagers. Not a big deal! But Daniel had strong character and strong convictions. To go along with the king’s program bothered his conscience. It was a hard decision for Daniel.
    9. And yet when we read our Bibles, we see that those who follow the Lord are always faced with tough decisions. Remember the three Hebrew children who refused to bow down to the image set up by Nebuchadnezzar and were thrown into the fiery furnace? Remember Joseph who would not allow Potiphar’s wife to seduce him?
    10. Mark it down: if you want to serve God you will be faced with some hard decisions in this life. How you deal with these challengers will determine the direction your life will take.
    11. Young people: start making the right decisions now. Otherwise you will find it even harder when you’re older (1:8).



    1. Daniel made up his mind that he would not defile himself (1:8). Young people are faced with this decision every day.
    2. You can defile yourself with cigarettes. Better make up your mind you are not going to do that.
    3. You can defile yourself with alcohol – beer, wine, whiskey, etc. Daniel would not drink the king’s wine (1:8).
    4. You can defile yourself with drugs – marijuana, pills, cocaine, etc. God will judge you if you defile your body (cf. I Cor.3:17).
    5. You can defile yourself by watching dirty TV shows or videos or movies. Many people have defiled their bodies and their minds by impurity.
    6. Now in Daniel’s case it was a little different. As a Jew he was brought up with a certain diet. We are not Jews and we do not follow the dietary laws proscribed by the law of Moses (Lev.11:44-47). But the same principle applies to us – we are not to defile ourselves. We are to be holy.
    7. Daniel was far from home but he made up his mind he would not become just another worldly Babylonian. He would stay close to God. He would stay separated from the world. He would stay separated from sin.



    1. When Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself, God honored that and God prepared a way for Daniel.
    2. It was God that "brought Daniel into favor and tender love with the prince of the eunuchs" (1:9). It was God that elevated Daniel into a position of leadership that lasted through the reigns of several kings.
    3. Daniel started out with Nebuchadnezzar and was still a leading statesman in Babylon more than 70 years later when the Persian King Cyrus took over the kingdom (1:21).
    4. That is amazing when you think about it. Through all the upheavals, changes of administration, wars, political intrigue, backbiting, double-crossing, and so on. Nebuchadnezzar died, but Daniel was still there. Belshazzar was slain and Darius the Mede took over the kingdom. But Daniel was still around. Cyrus and the Persians took over and Daniel was still in leadership.
    5. And he did it all without compromising. God blessed Daniel because Daniel obeyed God (1:10-21).


  1. P. P. Bliss wrote a song called "Dare to be a Daniel."
  2. The words of the chorus go like this:

Dare to be a Daniel, Dare to stand alone!
Dare to have a purpose firm! Dare to make it known!

| Customized by Jun Gapuz |