Moral Heroism
Daniel 1:5-21
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…

But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself (ver. 8).

I. THE VARYING CONDITIONS OF IMMORTALITY. The reference is to subjective immortality, i.e. in the memories of men. The principal stable condition seems to be the possession of soul-power (see Luke 1:80; Luke 2:40). But this may develop itself:

1. Evilly. The immortality then is one of infamy.

2. Continuously; e.g. Daniel, through a long life.

3. Specially at a crisis. These thoughts are suggested by the little we know of the three Hebrew children. One heroic resolve made them immortal. But how much in their antecedents did that heroism imply? Picture the parental culture of the Jerusalem home, etc. The lesson, Live not for fame; but to do that which God may think worthy of being held in everlasting remembrance.

II. THE ELEMENTS OF MORAL HEROISM Describe the offence in the king's portion.

(1) Food forbidden by the Mosaic Law.

(2) Food consecrated by presentation to idols. In moral heroism there will be one, or some, or all of these constituent elements.

1. Resistance; he. to strong and overwhelming temptation. In this case:

(1) The tempted were away from home.

(2) Early religious associations had been broken down. Note the change of names (ver. 7), and the significance of it.

(3) There was temptation to regard the matter as a trifle, of no account; but great principles are often involved in the trivialities of life.

(4) To regard the circumstances as peculiar.

(5) To be afraid of undue self-assertion. It might have seemed to Daniel that he was about to be righteous over-much.

(6) The heroic act was against their own interests.

(7) And imperilled the lives of others.

2. A certain obscurity of origin. "Purposed in his heart." The resolution took its rise in the depths of the soul, like a river in the hills far away.

3. Fortitude. Daniel thoroughly and irrevocably made up his mind.

4. Gentleness. No mock-heroics with him; but, having made up his mind, combined the suaviter in modo with the fortiter in re. "He requested," etc. (ver. 8).

5. Perseverance. Defeated temporarily with Ashpenaz, Daniel tried Melzar.

6. Wisdom. Proposed only an experiment for ten days.

7. Inspiration. Daniel's resolve seems to have stirred up the others.

III. THE PREVENTIONS OF GOD. (Ver. 9.) When men resolve on the right, they soon find that God has gone before them to prepare the way (Psalm 21:3). (See a grand and suggestive sermon from this verse in 'Westminster Chapel Pulpit,' 1st series, No. 2, by Rev. S. Martin.)

IV. THE SEQUENCES OF GOD. Very encouraging is it to know that God is alike our vanguard and our rearguard on our moral way. In this case (and always is it so more or less) the sequences were:

1. Physical health and vigour. Not miraculous.

2. Intellectual attainment and strength.

3. Moral and spiritual power. For proof, see after-history.

4. Continued prosperity and influence. (Ver. 21; Job 17:9.) - R.

Parallel Verses
KJV: 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.

WEB: The king appointed for them a daily portion of the king's dainties, and of the wine which he drank, and that they should be nourished three years; that at its end they should stand before the king.

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