Live Like Daniel

But Daniel made up his mind that he would not defile himself with the king’s choice food or with the wine which he drank; so he sought permission from the commander of the officials that he might not defile himself.” (Daniel 1:8, NASB95)

The way you handle potentially contentious and difficult situations speaks volumes about your character and trust in God. Daniel was a teenager that was taken captive by an invading army and sent to a foreign land to live for the rest of his days. Upon his arrival, Daniel and 3 of his closest friends were confronted with a difficult moral choice that could cause them to violate their faith and conscience. Their moral choice was whether or not to eat royal food and wine from the house of Nebuchadnezzar. Some would say, “No big deal, just eat the food and save yourself.” Others might say, “just go with it and don’t rock the boat, you are a captive and now servant in this land.” Both actions would violate Daniel’s desire to remain holy unto God and keep God’s Word.

Daniel’s difficulty goes much deeper than just a compromise to get along. Historically, Jews always struggled in matters of diet when they were in a foreign land because covenant law forbids them from eating anything ceremonially unclean or meat offered to idols (Lev. 11 and Deut. 14). This perspective wouldn’t change until the grace of God was revealed through Jesus, who fulfilled the law. The New Testament church struggled with the concept that in Christ, all things are clean, and Paul addressed this in 1 Corinthians 10. N this passage, Daniel models for us how to negotiate this difficult path.

First, Daniel made up his mind not to defile himself in the foreign land. It was his conviction to be obedient to God’s Word regardless of the outcome, to do otherwise for Daniel would be sin (James 1:17). Second, Daniel shows great respect for leadership and “sought permission” not to defile himself. Note that Daniel doesn’t focus on the action but the principle of conscience. Third, Daniel offered a positive solution creating a “win-win” situation for both parties and based on his faith in God. Daniel demonstrated his faith in God to provide noticeably, exceptional health from a diet that honors His Word. The outcome was amazing! Because of Daniel’s obedience, God moved in the heart of the commander to accept the proposal, and ten days later, the four Hebrew youth were in better condition than anyone else.

May we follow Daniel’s example when we find ourselves in contentious and difficult situations. May we be resolved to obey God and remain holy. May we show respect and clearly communicate our perspective to others. And finally, may we trust in God for the results.

It is time to live like Daniel during these difficult days.

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