Introduction: A key idea in today’s Sunday School material is God took care of Daniel and his companions, even though they remained in captivity. Prayerfully, we will be challenged to stay faithful to God, in spite of our captivity.
Read Daniel 1:8-10
I. Maintain Values. Daniel asked to have a special diet. The King’s official feared the results of the diet. In our Sunday School material, God gave favor to Daniel with regard to the official.
- Doing your best with what you have. Notice in vs. 8 that Daniel focused on the things that he could influence or control, instead of those things that were beyond his control.
First, many of us have somethings going on that compare to being in captivity (e.g., health, finances, relationships, etc.). Being saved doesn’t keep us out of captivity and troubles.
Second, we are often tempted to focus on how bad things are and all of the things that are beyond our control. For example, we cannot control people being mean. We don’t have complete control over how much money we will make.
Third, we should follow Daniel’s example and influence and control what we can. He resolved what he would not eat, but he also use diplomacy to avoid being killed. In like manner, we should work on looking at all of our options, including diplomacy, instead of just force.
For example, we have a great deal of influence over our mindset and our actions. Let’s work on doing the best that we can with what we have to work with.
- God’s favor. Notice in vs. 9 that God caused the official to show favor and compassion towards Daniel. In like manner, God is able to cause people to be a source of blessing in our lives. God can use family members, friends, co-workers, and even strangers to be sources of all kinds of blessings.
However, it is important for us to walk by faith, before, during, and after God causes people to show us favor. Sometimes, we can be so fearful and doubtful that we miss out on the favor that God wants to send our way. Let’s work on doing our parts and trusting God to send favor as He sees fit.
Read Daniel 1:11-16
II. Offer Solutions. In our Sunday School material Daniel asked for a 10-day experiment. For 10 days Daniel and his three companions were to eat vegetables and drink water. After the experiment, they looked so well that they were allowed to continue.
- Experiments. Notice in vs. 12 that Daniel proposed an experiment. He asked for a 10-day trial, instead of a permanent situation. In like manner, there are times when a trial is easier for people to see than a permanent change. And sometimes, the trial helps us to see more clearly what God wants us to do.
Think about how the idea of experiments applies to your mindset (e.g., affirmations), health (e.g., diet and exercise), financial (e.g., new job or business opportunity), and relational (e.g., trying out a new relationship and letting go of some bad relationships) needs. Let’s seek God’s wisdom and energy with regard to experiments.
- Diet. Notice in vs. 12 that Daniel and his companions ate vegetables and water. First, as people of God we should see taking care of our health as a part of our Christian duty. Diet, exercise, and stress management are key components of healthy living.
Second, vegetables and water may help a person in the short term to lose weight and get rid of some toxins in their body. However, most us would do well to have more than just a vegetable and water diet for the long term.
For example, there is a need for some protein (e.g., nuts, poultry, etc.). Let’s work on following a godly diet – one that helps us with our healthy living.
Read Daniel 1:17-21
III. Work Diligently. In our Sunday School material Daniel and company were given knowledge and understanding by God. Daniel understood dreams and visions. They were used in the king’s service.
- Called to serve beyond the church. Notice in vss. 17-20 that God used Daniel and his companions for governmental service. In like manner, God equips and uses His people today in so many ways outside of the church.
Every part of the church body should contribute to the church body, but we should also remember that we are the salt of Earth and light of the world. Let’s be open to God using us outside of the church’s ministries.
- Blessed in long term captivity. Notice in vs. 21 that Daniel was cared for, even though he stayed in captivity for a long time. In like manner, God doesn’t always bless us by moving us out of bad situations. Sometimes God blesses us in the midst of our bad situations and uses us to bring light to darkness. Let’s work on seeking God’s wisdom and energy to blossom wherever He plants us.
Conclusion: Let’s work on staying faithful to God, in spite of our captivity. God has much for those who obey His will.
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