Dare to be a Daniel and stand up for your King

Dare to be a Daniel and stand up for your King – a sermon on Daniel 1 by Reverend Colin Pretorius


Sue was a young believer who worked at a company that distributed medicines. During the Covid pandemic, she had the important job of making sure no vaccines were sent out if they hadn’t been stored at the right temperature. None of the trucks could leave without her go-ahead. One afternoon, when she was finalising the paperwork for a truckload of vaccines, she realised that most of the boxes hadn’t been stored in the cold-storage room and would no longer be effective. She refused to sign the release documents and reported the problem to her manager. He knew how much money the company would lose if they had to replace the vaccines, so he told her to sign the papers and get the truck out. Sue refused to do that because she knew that as a believer she was called to be honest in everything. When her boss couldn’t convince her, he called the owner of the business who in no uncertain terms told Sue if she didn’t sign the document within the next 5 minutes she’d be fired. What pressure that put on Sue! All sorts of thoughts rushed through her mind. What should she do? Her hubby John was training to be a missionary and her salary was their only income. How would they cope? How could John continue with his studies? What of their dreams to serve the Lord in the mission field? Signing the document would mean they could go on as normal, but it would also mean doing something that wasn’t God-honouring. How could she remain faithful to God’s commands and still provide for their family? We’ll return to Sue and her dilemma a bit later….

But Sue’s problem of coping with worldly pressures isn’t unique. At various times we are all faced with something similar: At work, when we meet our friends, in our homes and yes, at times even in our church lives or in the life of the denomination to which we belong. It’s also not a new problem. The reformers had to fight this disease in their time. Both Peter and Paul instruct believers to not become like the rest of the world but to follow the will of the Lord. God’s people have always needed to be reminded about not getting sucked into the things of the world. There has always been pressure to fit in, and there will always be pressure. That’s why today’s text is so valuable: In the foreground it paints a picture of the steadfastness of a young man under tremendous pressure, but in the background it tells us about God’s character and about living for Him in an unreceptive or hostile environment. We’re going to take a more topical approach this morning and concentrate on what this book tells us about

  • God’s character; and
  • living faithfully in a foreign land.

But before we look at these two things, let’s just briefly look at whether Daniel was a real person or whether this is more of a parable that paints a picture-story for us. We’re going to do this because how we interpret and apply this text depends on whether we believe the book is about a real person or if it’s just a parable-like-story designed to teach us moral values.