Following God’s Way (Daniel 1:8-21)

But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way. 9 Now God had caused the official to show favor and sympathy to Daniel, 10 but the official told Daniel, “I am afraid of my lord the king, who has assigned your food and drink. Why should he see you looking worse than the other young men your age? The king would then have my head because of you.”

11 Daniel then said to the guard whom the chief official had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, 12 “Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. 13 Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food, and treat your servants in accordance with what you see.” 14 So he agreed to this and tested them for ten days. (Daniel 1:8-14)

19 The king talked with them, and he found none equal to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah; so they entered the king’s service. 20 In every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king questioned them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in his whole kingdom. (Daniel 1:19-20)

Learn it:

            Daniel is in a foreign land and he has been given a new name, a re-education, and he is being given food from the king’s table.  It is at this last change that Daniel protests and does not want to eat his food.  The reason he did this was because eating a meal with someone, or from their table, would imply that they are friends and they share similar beliefs.  Daniel wanted to keep himself separated, as much as he could, from embracing the kings points of view. 

            Daniel’s request shocks the official because refusing the kings food would be equal to treason and that would mean death!  We see God working behind the scenes and the official grants Daniel’s proposition.  After the trail period of ten days Daniel and his friends are in great health and surpassing everyone in wisdom as well!  We see God blessing their faithfulness to him and gives the good fortune and puts them in a place of influence and power. 

Live it:

            Living or working in a place that does not share your same beliefs is challenging.  It would have been very easy for Daniel and his friends to give in and eat food from the kings table.  They wanted to be faithful to God and they chose to resist doing what everyone else was doing.  This could have cost them greatly but because they wanted to be obedient to God and fear Him above man, God protected them. 

            This story challenges us as believers to look at our lives and see if there are any areas in our lives that we may be putting cultural norms ahead of God’s call to holiness.  How can you live a life that is sold out to God?  We should not be afraid of what others will say about us because we know God will be with us as long as we are doing it for His glory.  Just as God was with Daniel, God will be with us as well.

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