Resolutions Worth Remembering
I was reading what this year’s most popular New Year’s resolutions were. The typical “Quit smoking” and “Get out of debt” were among the most popular, along with “Losing weight” and “Exercising”. As far as the Christian life is concerned, I believe there are a few resolutions that Daniel made in his day that could benefit us in the New Year.
Daniel made resolutions worth remembering. It’s easy for us to make a New Year’s resolution and forget about it before February rolls around. But in Daniel’s life, he was resolved to making a difference in his generation and for his generation.
1. Resolution to Restore Character
“And the king spake unto Ashpenaz the master of the eunuchs, that he should bring certain of the children of Israel, and of the king’s seed, and of princes; Children in whom was no blemish, but well favoured, and skillful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science, and such as had ability in them to stand in the king’s palace, and whom they might teach the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans.” (Daniel 1:3-4)
Society today is suffering from a lack in moral integrity. I can’t even turn on the sports’ channel without hearing about some scandal or type of cheating…in sports!
Remember, these young Israelites were more than six hundred miles from home, they could have gotten away with anything and their parents would have never known—but God would have known.
The twelfth president of the United States was David Rice Atchinson. Wait a minute, is that right? Technically, it is. At exactly noon on March 4, 1849, Zachary Taylor was scheduled to be sworn-in as President of the United States. But the fourth of March was on a Sunday that year and Taylor, a devout Christian, refused to take the oath of office on the Lord’s Day. Thus, under the succession Act of 1792, Missouri Senator David Rice Atchinson, as President Pro Tempore of the Senate, automatically became President! On Monday at noon, President Zachary Taylor took the oath of office and began serving as President.
2. Resolution to Resist Culture
“And the king appointed them a daily provision of the king’s meat, and of the wine which he drank: so nourishing them three years, that at the end thereof they might stand before the king. Now among these were of the children of Judah, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: Unto whom the prince of the eunuchs gave names: for he gave unto Daniel the name of Belteshazzar; and to Hananiah, of Shadrach; and to Mishael, of Meshach; and to Azariah, of Abednego.” (Daniel 1:5-7)
Culture isn’t easy to resist today. With billboards, television commercials, and mainstream music constantly on the attack, resisting culture is easier said than done. Culture wasn’t easy to resist in Daniel’s day either. The Babylonian powers were forcing their own gods, their own diets, and their own names on the Israelites. But Daniel made a resolution to resist culture.
Peter said, “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light” (I Peter 2:9) If we expect to do anything for God, we will have to resist culture!
3. Resolution to Refuse Conforming
“But 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)
I imagine it would have been fairly easy to “give-in” at this point. No parents, no pastor, no youth pastor; conforming to the wicked lifestyle of the Babylonians would have been simple. Swimming against the current only makes you a stronger swimmer.
Paul was an advocate of swimming against culture’s current. He wrote, “I beseech you, therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (Romans 12:1-2) Will you be conformed or transformed?
As we are just beginning 2013, what are your goals for this year? If you haven’t set any, I would suggest that we follow the example of Daniel as we strive to make a difference this year.