Daniel 1:8 states, “But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s delicacies, nor with the wine which he drank; therefore he requested of the chief of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.” On three different occasions the children of Israel were taken captive into Babylon. Daniel was captured during the first takeover. He would find himself in a strange country around strange people who were expecting him to change his lifestyle. Daniel was chosen to help serve in the king’s palace. Daniel was chosen because he was a young man who had no blemishes and was good-looking; he was gifted with knowledge and wisdom. The plan was to have him train in the way of the Chaldeans. With Daniel being chosen to receive this training, he would also be given that which would be given to the king to eat and drink. This so-called special treatment would occur over the next three years while he was trained. The problem that Daniel experienced, besides being a captive, was that he was a faithful Jew and not willing to compromise his faithfulness to God by doing that which was not holy. His mind was focused on living a life that was in accordance with God. If Daniel would have eaten or drunk of the King’s delicacies, it would be defilement for him.
Daniel finds himself in a position where decisions that he makes were matters of life and death; one simply did not refuse an order from the king. This was punishable in many ways, up to and including death. Not only could Daniel not refuse obedience, but those that were in charge of Daniel could not be seen as conspirators in any type of defiance to the king’s expectation. Daniel had found favor with the chief of the eunuchs and was permitted to eat only vegetables and drink water for ten days. Following this Daniel and his three friends were to have their appearances examined. After ten days of this special diet, Daniel and his friends had an appearance that was better than all the other men. God gave these four men—Daniel and his friends—knowledge and skill in all literature. Daniel also received the ability to understand visions and dreams. When the three years were up, the king interviewed all the men; there were none like Daniel and his three friends and they served before the King.
Great reward comes to those who put God first in their lives. We know there is a promise of eternal life for those that serve Him faithfully but I also contend that there is a great reward in the life that we live now. Daniel is an example to all who faithfully serve God. We, like Daniel, must purpose in our heart to serve Him and only Him. Daniel did not find himself in Babylon one day and then decided to follow the commands of God, but he made a decision before being taken captive that he would serve God no matter what was presented to him. Our lives must be the same. We cannot wait until we are in the heat of turmoil to serve God. Our success in our lives will be in faithfully serving God. In order to do that we must have committed in our hearts that we will do what is right according to the standard of God. This is a standard that is quite different than the standard of the world. I pray that you are studying your Bible and that you have purposed in your heart that you will know the truth and faithfully serve God.
Scott is the minister at the Elm Grove Church of Christ. Meeting times are Sunday at 9:30 am for bible class and 10:30 am and 6:30 pm for worship. Mid-week Bible study is on Wednesday at 6:30 pm. All are invited.