Daniel’s Diet (11-10-21)
Daniel and his friends were young men when Israel was conquered by the Babylonians. Along with many others of his people, they were taken of into captivity in Babylon. The story of Daniel speaks to us on many levels.
Bible Readings: Daniel 1:1-19 (selected verses)
Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon ordered Ashpenaz, chief of his court officials, to bring into the king's service some of the Israelites from the royal family and the nobility, young men without any physical defect, handsome, showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well informed, quick to understand, and qualified to serve in the king's palace.Among those who were chosen were some from Judah: Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah.
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 then said to the guard whom the chief official had appointed over them, "Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. 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.
To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. The king talked with them, and he found none equal to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah; so they entered the king's service.
As faithful Jews, Daniel and his friends would have avoided any foods that were not kosher, and so in a foreign land they were taking a significant to their lives by refusing, albeit tactfully, the rich and non-kosher food of the Babylonian court. God, though, was faithful to their stand. These young men would go on to rise to significant places of influence and also to bear witness to their faith in the one true God.
Along with the weight-loss programmes, there are many discussions today around the area of diet, covering issues such as obesity, vegetarianism, veganism and the carbon footprint. Views will differ from person to person, but there is little doubt that God expects us to look after our bodies and to look after our world, both of which he has entrusted to our care. What are the areas of diet that God might be speaking to you about today?
The choices that Daniel and his friends made were as much about lifestyle as they were about diet. In a secular culture the pressure to compromise our faith by the way we live can be great; money, language, alcohol and sexual morality are just a few of them. Where are you most under pressure to compromise the way you live and behave? Are there steps you can take to better handle the pressure?
God honoured Daniel and his friends in the decisions that they made and, rather than being ostracised, they rose to positions of influence. Where can you influence for good any discussions and decisions that are made? Who are the Christians you know who have influence in society? Pray for their protection and for God’s blessing on their work and witness.
For those who struggle today with dietary health; Lord have mercy.
For those who struggle against the pressure to compromise their faith; Christ have mercy.
For those who work as Christians in a secular culture; Lord have mercy.
May the mind of Christ my Saviour live in me from day to day