"Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty." 2 Corinthians 6:17-18
In John 17:16-18 Jesus is talking to His Heavenly Father and He says these words, "They are not of the world just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. As you sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world."
These verses and many like them throughout the Word tell us that we belong to God! We belong to a different kingdom and while we are strangers, aliens, and foreigners of this place we are here for a purpose. We are to live in the world but not of it! We are supposed to live in such a way that it shows we are separate from it; again for a purpose! I love the example that Daniel and his friends provide. They were taken from their homes and brought to Babylon. They were now living in a land that was not their own. Did they loose sight of God or the fact that they ultimately belonged to Him? No!
In Daniel 1:9 we see the use of a word that gives us a key as to how they stayed faithful to God and how, in the process of things, they fulfilled the purpose we are all called to. They brought glory to God and souls to the kingdom! The verse tells us that, "Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king's delicacies, nor with the wine he drank;" So the word purposed is important. Purpose simply means; 'to put.' Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah put it in their hearts that they would not be defiled. They were children of the Most High God and they intended to stay that way!
They PUT it in their hearts that they would not defile themselves. The word defile(1351) means to soil or desecrate.; but the interesting thing here is that it goes back to the prim root word (1350) that means to redeem (according to the law of kinship) to be next of kin, to buy back property. This tells me that Daniel and his three friends had an understanding, an appreciation for the fact they they were a redeemed people! They put it in their hearts to not soil or desecrate that redemption?
They had purposed not to be defiled by food, wine, or the company they kept. The food and wine we see in the veggie test in chapter one. The fact that they separated themselves from the company they kept can be seen in chapter two. To sum up the king had a dream. It was a dream that scared him and it was a dream that he didn't understand. He called all the magicians, astrologers, sorcerers and Chaldeans to come and explain it to him.vs.2 They asked him to tell them the dream so they could give the interpretation. He said, "No, you tell me the dream and its interpretation." They stall for time, he figures it out and basically tells them to come up with it or die. They informed him that no one could do such a thing. He gives the command, Destroy all the wise men!" verses 3-12
As you read verses 13-15 you see that Daniel and his friends were not there. When the call came from the king they weren't there hanging out with the magicians, astrologers and sorcerers. They were obviously living separate from them and no one went to get them. When they went looking for them to kill them Daniel had to ask ..."Why is the decree from the king so urgent?" Then Arioch made the decision know to Daniel. So Daniel went in and asked the king to give him time, that he might tell the king the interpretation. Daniel 2:15-16
At this point you know the rest of the story. Daniel goes to his friends tells them what is going on and asks them to seek God with him for the interpretation. God gives him a dream that reveals the king's dream. He goes to the king and shares the dream and its interpretation. This encounter ends with ... then the king fell on his face, prostrate before Daniel, and commanded that they should present an offering and incense to him. The king answered Daniel and said, "Truly your God is the God of gods, the Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets, since you could reveal this secret." Daniel 2:46-47
Was this the last time they had to choose to not be defiled by the land they lived in? No! We know because we've read the book that they had other tests. We know that a lion's den and a fiery furnace still lay before them. These young men are such an excellent examples of what it takes to live a life separated and devoted to the glory of God in the midst of an ungodly land!
It takes a choice! It takes a choice every single day to 'put' in our hearts, "I've been redeemed! I've been redeemed at a price and I won't loose sight of that! I belong to Him!
I don't know about you, but I, like these young men, purpose in my heart to live my life as His child; redeemed for His will and purposes.
Lord, I pray that at the end of my days I could say as you did in John 17:4
"I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do."