“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. Now God had caused the official to show favor and sympathy to Daniel, 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.’ Daniel then said to the guard whom the chief official had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, ‘Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. 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.’ So he agreed to this and tested them for ten days. At the end of the ten days they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food. So the guard took away their choice food and the wine they were to drink and gave them vegetables instead. To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds. At the end of the time set by the king to bring them in, the chief official presented them to Nebuchadnezzar. The king talked with them, and he found none equal to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah; so they entered the king’s service. 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 1:8-20
One of the best Bible studies I’ve completed to date was Beth Moore’s “Daniel.” I got so much out of God’s Word – I would highly recommend it. First, we see in verse 8 that Daniel RESOLVED not to DEFILE himself with food. In the beginning of Daniel (not posted here), the Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar, with permission from God, had taken some Israelites captive. These were good-looking, intelligent and royal young men (Daniel 1:4). They were to be trained in Babylonian culture (which was far different from the Israelite or God-worshipping culture these boys were used to) in preparation for service to the king. Daniel and his friends (who were re-named Babylonian names Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego by the king) chose not to defile themselves with royal food and wine and instead ate and drank healthy.
They were tested in this for 10 days and were better nourished and healthier than the others who ate whatever ‘choice’ foods were presented to them. And, God honored their resolve and gave them knowledge, understanding and wisdom. When questioned, they were ‘ten times better’ than the others throughout the kingdom.
In the next chapter, Daniel and his friends were put to their first test when the king had a disturbing dream and they not only had to interpret the dream, they also had to guess the dream first. They prayed, and God answered them. Most of the book of Daniel is about end-time events, and Daniel was given so much information on what was to come and wisdom for his present time. Beth Moore noted, and I wholeheartedly agree, that Daniel might have missed the important call on his life had he not chosen to walk in the way of the Lord from the very beginning. Instead of choosing to blend in with Babylonian culture, he RESOLVED. He chose not to defile himself. And, I think it no coincidence that the very first issue revolved around food. He had to say no to choice foods and wine and stick with water and vegetables. He had to keep his body and mind pure so the Lord could use him.
We know about Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego in the fiery furnace, and how the only thing burned up was the chains that bound them (Daniel 3:25). And, we’ve heard of Daniel and the lion’s den. Some of the other information was new to me, though. Had Daniel not been obedient in the ‘small’ things of life like his diet, God may not have used him for the bigger things.
If we are going to lose weight, it’s going to take RESOLVE. We are going to need to press on when the enemy is tempting us. We’re going to have to make up our minds to eat healthy. We are going to have to say no to choice food if we want to see the bigger things God has for us. How I pray that we can meet this challenge! Test yourself for 10 days and see what God can do!
Dear Heavenly Father, I am so honored to learn about You through Your holy Word. There is nothing I enjoy more than receiving new wisdom. We see in this Scripture that You gave knowledge and understanding to these men who resolved not to defile themselves with food. Help us do the same! Give us resolve! Help us withstand temptation. Help us say no to ‘choice’ food and eat and drink that which is healthy for us. And, may we bring glory to You in the process. We love You, Lord God, and we praise You! In Jesus’ name, AMEN!