Set of the Soul

Get your soul set before temptation comes, and you'll grow through it.

Daniel 1 (3)

Obedience to God begins within, with a set of the soul that desires above all else to please the Lord (Ps. 119.112). The heart is the heart of the matter, as Solomon knew, and Daniel made sure his heart was set just as it should be.

Read Proverbs 4.20-27.

Read Daniel 1.8, 9.
8But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s delicacies, nor with the wine which he drank; therefore he requested of the chief of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself. 9Now God had brought Daniel into the favor and goodwill of the chief of the eunuchs.

Think it Through
1.  Daniel believed that eating the king’s cuisine would defile him, and he wasn’t afraid to say so to the chief of the eunuchs. Why did he think this? Was there any risk involved in his refusing to eat what was offered? What does it mean to be defiled? How can we know when we have begun to be defiled? What kinds of things threaten to defile believers today?

2.  Daniel “purposed in his heart” not to defile himself. The reflexive form of the Hebrew verb “defile himself” indicates that only he could do this; no one else could defile him. That being the case, Daniel fixed his soul – heart, mind, and conscience (will) – not to defile himself. How does Solomon counsel us to keep our soul in shape for obedience in Proverbs 4.20-27? Note also that, Daniel had prepared the way for this objection by finding favor with the chief of the eunuchs. God had done this (v. 9). But how do you suppose that happened? How should we seek to find favor with people (Prov. 16.7; 1 Cor. 10.31-11.1)? Should we expect that God will help us in this? Explain.

“By this we may understand that if ever under pressing circumstances holy people are loved by unbelievers, it is a matter of the mercy of God, not of the goodness of perverted people.” Jerome (347-420AD)

When a man’s ways please the LORD,
He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him. Proverbs 16.7

Lord Jesus, I know I can serve You better if I set my soul for obedience, so today help me…

Remember this, that the enemy has reproached, O LORD,
And that a foolish people has blasphemed Your name.
Oh, do not deliver the life of Your turtledove to the wild beast!
Do not forget the life of Your poor forever.
Have respect to the covenant;
For the dark places of the earth are full of the haunts of cruelty.
Oh, do not let the oppressed return ashamed!
Let the poor and needy praise Your name.

Psalm 74.18-21

Psalm 74.18-21 (Rockingham Old: O Lord Most High, With All My Heart)
Remember this, O Lord, our God: a foolish people spurns Your Name;
Deliver not Your flock to them, nor leave Your holy ones to shame.

Your covenant recall, renew, for violence spreads throughout the earth;
The poor and needy rescue, Lord, and we shall sing Your matchless worth!

T. M Moore

For a better understanding of the book of Daniel, and all the books of the Bible, order a copy of the workbook, God’s Covenant, from our online store. The studies in this workbook will show you how the parts of the Bible connect with one another to tell the story of God’s redemption and glory (click here).

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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All psalms for singing adapted from The Ailbe Psalter. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT. 

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