“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.” (Daniel 1:8)
What was Daniel’s problem? What was wrong with eating the best food in the country? Most people lived on a meagre diet. Daniel was going to have the opportunity to eat, literally, like a king. Why the hard line? When you dig down into the cultural realities of the situation, more seems to be at stake. A Babylonian feast was always eaten in honor of the gods. So whenever you sat down to a meal, it wasn’t just dining that you participated in, but an act of worship. This food had previously been sacrificed to a pagan god. For a Jewish teenager who took his faith in God seriously, participation would mean compromising who he was called to be. By eating their meal, he would be worshipping their god. And for Daniel, that was a bridge too far.
It was about compromising his character, and that he would not do. You don’t discover your convictions when the pressure is on; you decide them in advance. It’s during the good times that you determine what you will or won’t do during the hard times. The psalmist said: “How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word. I seek you with all my heart; do not let me stray from your commands. I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you” (Psalm 119:9-11). Victorious Christian living is encapsulated in these three statements:
- “By living according to your word.”
- “I seek you with all my heart.”
- “I have hidden your word in my heart.”
Heavenly Father, help me live according to Your will and Your standards and not compromise them for anything or anyone. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.