Daniel 1:8, “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.”
As a Christian we certainly want to live in victory, but as you have found out there are times of temptations which test your resolve in the Lord. From the moment Daniel and his friends are taken captive and exiled, they are required to immerse themselves in the language and literature of the Babylonians (1:4), with its focus on sorcery, astrology and polytheism. This was an alien atmosphere and culture to these displaced Hebrew boys.
Although they were in an ungodly, foreign land, this ungodly land was not in them. They were in Babylon but not of it. Daniel and his friends had their hearts resolved in Yahweh; therefore they refused to compromise with their actions. Before a public victory comes, a private victory must take place within the heart. This can clearly be seen in the life of these Hebrews as “Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat….” Daniel’s heart was set on Yahweh, his friends followed him in this desire as well, but now this desire certainly needed to be appropriated or fleshed out. Daniel didn’t just intend to keep himself pure for the Lord, he desired it.
In his book A Heart Ablaze, John Bevere points out the difference between an intention and a desire, showing they are not the same thing. Many have good and godly intentions, but when it comes time to implement that intention they don’t follow through, because it may not have been their true desire. He says, “Desire is the path that a person will take, no matter how good his intentions may be.” James 1:14 reads, “But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust (desire), and enticed.” This verse speaks about desire on the negative side. Psalm 37:4 shows us the positive side, “Delight thyself also in the LORD: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” Both verses show the power of desire. Our intentions are what we will do when it is convenient at the time, but our desires are what will drive us even when it’s not convenient.
Daniel’s true desire was stated when the Scripture reads, “But Daniel purposed [desired] in his heart…,” because he acted upon that desire in a time that was inconvenient for him. He made the request to the prince of the Eunuchs that he and his friends to be allowed to eat vegetables and water, and not be defiled by eating the king’s meat. Well at first the Eunuch didn’t go along with it because if the king saw the Hebrews looking worse (downtrodden) than the other young men their age, then the king would have had the Eunuchs head. However Daniel in his wisdom asked if perhaps the eunuch might allow them a test for only ten days to which it was agreed upon. Daniel true desire was to please not the king of Babylon but the King of Kings, the Lord.
Application: May you have your private victory today, to face the public challenge when tempted to sin. by Pastor Phil