We can do even hard things when we put God first!

Today I’m posting a devotional from the book Steve Baker wrote, O Taste and See. Each devotional is related to one or more of the core needs I teach about often and that are taught in my book, Five to Thrive. He has seen their importance and wanted devotionals as another way of helping parents and children meet their needs in healthy ways.

These are challenging days. This devotional is relevant – we can do even hard things when we put God first! After you read this, I encourage you to share it with your children.

DETERMINATION – the quality that makes you continue trying to do or achieve something that is difficult

I gave my back to those who strike, and my cheeks to those who pull out the beard; I hid not my face from disgrace and spitting. But the Lord God helps me; therefore I have not been disgraced; therefore I have set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be put to shame.” Isaiah 50:6-7

Scripture Text: Daniel 1:1-21

Approximately 600 years before Christ, during a time of political upheaval in a world controlled by the power of dominant kings, Daniel, his three friends Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, and many other young men were carried away as captives into a foreign land. Doomed to serve as slaves, Daniel and his three friends were given the opportunity to be taught and trained as advisors to the King of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar. This training was very difficult.

The first difficulty they faced during the training was eating the food that was provided for them. They were ordered to eat foods that were not clean according to Jewish religious custom. Daniel and his friends were devoted Jews and they did not eat certain meats or foods considered unclean. The King’s diet was full of these foreign delicacies.

Daniel refused to eat the King’s food and requested special permission from the King’s guard to eat only vegetables. He was determined to be obedient to his religion and please God. Reluctantly they were given permission to eat their diet of vegetables for 10 days, and at the end of that time they were judged. I am sure that during those 10 days they wondered what their outcome would be. If they failed would they be punished or put to death? Maybe some of the other slaves tried to talk them into eating the King’s food.

These 4 young men weighed the cost of their choice to honor God against the consequences of displeasing Nebuchadnezzar. They were determined that pleasing God was the right way to go. In the end Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah all passed the test with flying colors. They were in better strength and health than all the other slaves who had eaten the King’s food. God honored their determination to be true to Him.

Taste Test:

As Christians there are certain things we should be determined to do to please God. The Hebrews reminded their children of God’s requirements in the Shema, Deut. 6:4-9, whenever they entered or left their homes. Make a list of these things that would be good to follow as you try to live for Jesus every day. Make a decorative plaque or poster of these things and post it somewhere as a reminder.

Scraping the Plate:

Read 1 Corinthians 2:1-5 and compare it to the passage in Isaiah 50:6-7. In the same way the Messiah, Jesus Christ, was determined to obey and honor God’s plan to die on the cross, Paul was also determined to please God. He was determined to not present anything other than the gospel truth to those to whom he preached. His determination to please God caused him to fear and tremble.

  • Why do you think Paul was so fearful?
  • What was he afraid of? Compare his fear in verse 3 with their faith in verse 5.
  • Do you think that he was in awe of his responsibility to present the truth in an accurate way so others would genuinely believe?

Country Fried Chicken and Mashed Potatoes (a meal that makes us feel secure):

Because God makes us secure by proving His provision, we can remain determined to serve and be faithful to Him regardless of our situation.

Steve Baker and his wife, Joyce are two of Kathy’s thought-leaders. They work closely together. Steve has served in ministry for almost 40 years. With his heart for discipleship, he has worked as a senior pastor, associate pastor, teacher, coach, and hospice chaplain. Steve has a passion for families, mentoring believers, and discipling parents to walk in this world humbly and boldly as warriors sharing the powerful message of the gospel to all people.