When we look at the Bible, we learn many things. One of the many lessons we learn is about convictions. A conviction is a firmly held belief or opinion. One of the best places to learn about the biblical principle of conviction is by looking at the story of Daniel, Hannaniah, Mishael, and Azariah. These men stuck to their convictions and God rewarded them for it.
The Jews ignored God’s covenant spelled out in Deuteronomy 28 and were punished accordingly (see Jer 7:30-31, 34:12-22). God chose Nebuchadnezzar as an instrument of discipline because God’s people had been disobedient. A key to Babylonian power was their ability to get the people they conquered assimilated to Babylonian lifestyle. For example, the Babylonians would get people to leave their God(s) and start worshiping the Babylonian gods. When Daniel, Hannaniah, Mishael and Azariah were taken by the Babylonians, it was expected that they would leave their Jewish culture and customs behind, taking on the new lifestyle that was in front of them.
What made these four young men different was that they did not cave to the Babylonian way. They knew God’s words and held it tight. They displayed mental and spiritual maturity that has not been seen throughout the land at that time. This is what Paul speaks about in Romans 1 when he spoke about being “transformed by a renewed mind.” What the four young men showed was that we must break free from, not just conforming to, the way of the world.
So how did this look for Daniel, Hannaniah, Mishael and Azariah? They denied themselves food from the king’s table because the food was considered an offering to the king. Basically, the Babylonian’s used food as a way to get people to defile God. Daniel, Hannaniah, Mishael and Azariah were not willing to defile themselves; they would only bow down to the one true God. Even when in the fire. Literally.
When the moment of tension comes (Daniel 3:12-18) for Hannaniah, Mishael and Azariah, we learn three things about their convictions (firmly held beliefs). First we learn that we do not have to defend ourselves because God will take care of us. Second, we learn God can do it. There is nothing too hard for the Lord! Third, the reward of faith and holding onto our convictions is not the outcome, the reward is that you are pleasing God.
Holding on to heavy convictions is where the battle is most fierce. Yet, holding true to those convictions through the battle is worth it! Convictions should not be open-handed. They need to be defended because these are things that bring us close to God.
To view the service & listen to the full sermon by Pastor Danny on 9/6/20 click here: Convictions