But Daniel was determined not to defile himself by eating the food and wine given to them by the king. He asked the chief of staff for permission not to eat these unacceptable foods. Daniel 1:8
Scripture teaches that when we give our lives to Christ, we are given a new life in Him. We do not belong to the world anymore; we belong to Him. This changes everything. As a result of our new lives in Christ, you and I are called to live differently. Specifically, we are called to live and look different than the world. We are to point others to Him through our words and actions and say "no" to things that are not of Him. This will often mean making decisions and choices that do not make sense to the rest of the world.
Daniel's life was suddenly upended when He was taken from His homeland, Judah, to Babylon to be a part of the king of Babylon's royal palace. As part of the king's royal palace, the king and his staff did their best to integrate Daniel and the rest of the Jewish men into Babylonian culture. One of the things different in Babylon was that Babylonians ate meat that was sacrificed to idols. For Daniel, who worshiped God, eating this meat violated his conscience and was deplorable. As a result, Daniel 1:8 tells us that "Daniel was determined not to defile himself by eating the food and wine given to them by the king." Instead of eating the food given by the king, Daniel asked permission for him and three of his friends to not eat these foods or drink the wine. Now, this was a risk for Daniel and his friends. After all, the king had instructed that they eat the food and drink the wine given to him. Despite all odds, Daniel and his friends were permitted by the king's chief of staff to eat only fruit and vegetables and drink water for ten days, and then the chief of staff would decide if they could continue only to eat vegetables. As a result of their faithfulness, God allowed these men to thrive only by eating fruits, vegetables, and water. The Bible teaches that "Daniel and his three friends looked healthier and better nourished than the young men who had been eating the food assigned by the king" (verse 15). These men refused to be changed by the culture around them and defile their faith, and God blessed them for it.
As followers of Christ, Daniel and his friends' example serves as a model for us. When we have given our lives to Him, we are no longer a part of this world. As a result, we are called to live differently and look different than the rest of the world. Sometimes this means making decisions that are different than the rest of the world. Sometimes this means saying "no" to what culture encourages you to say "yes" to. This is our calling as followers of Christ. One true thing is this: God will be with us and take care of us every step of the way.
Pull out your journal and evaluate your own life. Are you living for Christ, or are you living for the rest of the world? If you find that you are living for Christ, ask God to give you strength as you continue to live for Him. If you find yourself falling into living for this world, ask Him for boldness to help you take steps away from this world and toward Him. Pick one step you can take this week to move toward Him and away from the world.
Read Daniel 1:8-21 (NLT)
But Daniel was determined not to defile himself by eating the food and wine given to them by the king. He asked the chief of staff for permission not to eat these unacceptable foods. Now God had given the chief of staff both respect and affection for Daniel. But he responded, “I am afraid of my lord the king, who has ordered that you eat this food and wine. If you become pale and thin compared to the other youths your age, I am afraid the king will have me beheaded.”
Daniel spoke with the attendant who had been appointed by the chief of staff to look after Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. "Please test us for ten days on a diet of vegetables and water,” Daniel said. “At the end of the ten days, see how we look compared to the other young men who are eating the king’s food. Then make your decision in light of what you see.” The attendant agreed to Daniel’s suggestion and tested them for ten days.
At the end of the ten days, Daniel and his three friends looked healthier and better nourished than the young men who had been eating the food assigned by the king. 16 So after that, the attendant fed them only vegetables instead of the food and wine provided for the others.
God gave these four young men an unusual aptitude for understanding every aspect of literature and wisdom. And God gave Daniel the special ability to interpret the meanings of visions and dreams.
When the training period ordered by the king was completed, the chief of staff brought all the young men to King Nebuchadnezzar. The king talked with them, and no one impressed him as much as Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. So they entered the royal service. Whenever the king consulted them in any matter requiring wisdom and balanced judgment, he found them ten times more capable than any of the magicians and enchanters in his entire kingdom.
Daniel remained in the royal service until the first year of the reign of King Cyrus.