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
Can you believe how movies and TV shows have changed in the last few years? They have so much graphic violence (killing, murder, bloodshed, suffering), nudity, sexual images, immorality, foul language, and gross and inappropriate displays of humor, that they are uncomfortable to watch. And sometimes we may even feel as if some of them go against our Christian values to do so, and we have to choose what we are willing or unwilling to watch. And we especially have to use discretion with our children and grandchildren!
I sometimes think we need the strength, determination, and commitment of Daniel! Talk about standing up for your beliefs – even in the face of a life-threatening situation! I am so humbled by his willingness to honor God.
We learn in the book of Daniel that Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, conquered Judah, and took into captivity several Israelite young men from royal families who had looked to be future leaders of that nation. He had great plans for them – to re-educate them and change who they were and what they believed in – so they might be used for the Babylonian Empire in Judah.
Among them were 4 young men named Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who were probably around 14 or 15 years old at the time of their capture, and even then, these young men had already made the commitment in their hearts that they would not defile themselves before God. When the royal food and wine was brought before them, Daniel asked the chief official to show favor and sympathy to them and not require them to partake of such foods. He asked him to give them nothing but vegetables and water for 10 days and then compare their appearance with the others, and the official agreed.
Surprisingly, they were found to be healthier than any of the other young men who were eating the royal food. We are told that God had caused the official to show kindness to him and agreed to this plan even though it endangered his own life. Daniel had valued God’s standards, for God had asked His people not to eat any unclean foods (possibly meats that had been offered as sacrifices, or foods that were considered too rich or unhealthy for their bodies. Thankfully, Jesus Christ fulfilled the old covenant of the laws of Moses and with His coming, a new covenant was established.)
These young men had valued their relationship with God more than anything, including their lives. They were not willing to compromise or give in, and in return, God honored and blessed them for it – with much wisdom and knowledge which became useful while they were held in the king’s service.
We too should set our standards and values – mind, body, and soul – for what we believe in and what we will and will not participate in, in the name of our faith.
In this day and age, our world culture seeks to change who we are and what we believe in. How much “the lines we draw in the sand” have been moved in the last few decades. May we be guided by His truths and strengthened by His Spirit as we strive to remain strong in our beliefs!
Dear God, what an uncertain time we live in, and how our “moral compass” is changing. May we be strong in standing up for our beliefs based on your truths. Help us to commit with our hearts and minds what we will and will not accept in your name. May our words, deeds, and lives always honor you. Amen