The first situation takes place in Daniel 1 just as Israel has been carried off into exile and captivity in Babylon. Daniel made a very clear decision in verse 8 that really jumped off the page at me: "But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself in this way." Daniel knew what he was committed to and what his standards were and he was willing to risk to take a stand for what he believed.
Daniel and his friends were captives in a foreign land. They probably felt as though God had abandoned them and probably no one would have blamed them if they chose to just do their best to fit in. It would have been easier for sure. "But Daniel RESOLVED . . ." Those three words are key. Resolve means "to come to a definite or earnest decision about; to determine to do something" among other things. Daniel was not going to give in. He was committed to a course of action and he was going to follow through on following what he knew was right and wrong - no matter what the cost may have been. Daniel stuck to his convictions.
The second situation can be found in Daniel 3. Shadrach, Meschach, and Abednego also took a stand against the king's directions to worship a statue of him. They also made their decision clear in what they said to the king in verses 17-18: "If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and He will rescue us from your hand, O King. But even if He does not, we want you to know, O King, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up." They knew what they were committed to and what their standards were and they were willing to risk to take a stand for what they believed.
Shadrach, Meschach, and Abednego had, like Daniel, the resolve to not cave in to the pressure to do evil as all that was surrounding them pressured them to. They had chosen to obey and serve God and nothing was going to stop them from that - not even the threat of a terrible death. They believed that God could save them and they acted on that. But they also knew that even if God did not save them, it was in His plan not to and they were okay with that as well.
As I read these two passages of Scripture I was challenged in my own life with a number of questions:
- What are those things that I need to resolve to do? Or not to do?
- When I find myself in a risky situation, do I believe that God is able?
- Am I willing to take a stand on things knowing that although God is able, He may choose not to step in and change the course of something?