“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 NIV)
Daniel. A teenager. Yanked from home, family, and country of origin. Dropped into the capital city of the enemy.
Daniel had a choice. Assimilate or adapt. Assimilation meant adopting his country of exile and all that came with it. Adapting meant staying faithful to God and His covenant in enemy territory.
Daniel 1:8 shows only one of many stands Daniel must have taken. In this case, the issue was food and whether to follow the law given by Moses. Can you imagine the peer pressure? This is a teenage boy, and the other kids are eating bacon. Bacon! And Daniel chooses obedience with a side of broccoli.
Let’s take a look at his commitment.
Daniel was devoted. He kept God first, even in Babylon. But I guarantee he had put God first in Israel before he was taken. His commitment to God didn’t depend on circumstance.
Teenage boys are all about food. This diet thing may seem like no big deal to you, but I promise, it was. Veggies and water? My boys would have starved to death. Daniel willingly disciplined himself because of his devotion to God.
When Nebuchadnezzar brought the first group of exiles in from Judah, Daniel was one of many. Yet only four are mentioned by name: Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Not only did their choices set them apart from their peers, their resulting blessing set them apart before the king.
“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 (Hebrew names of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego); 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 1:17-20)
So, what does defilement look like for you? And what are you missing because of it?
For me, it’s usually poor entertainment choices and fried food. Are you sensitive to the check of the Holy Spirit? Any and every check warrants our attention. Let’s get before God and do some soul searching, ask Him to reveal areas of defilement, and get His help to clean it up.
Dare to be devoted, disciplined, and different.
And watch God’s response.
What does the word defilement mean to you?
Does a particular area of your life come to mind?
How does our devotion level affect our discipline?
Is peer pressure a factor? Even among believers?
If you were captured and sent to a foreign country without your family, what things would you hold on to?
What would you be feeling?
Would you be afraid to go against the flow in a new place?
What if your life was in danger? Would you compromise your values or beliefs in the face of danger?
Daniel had a choice. Assimilate or adapt. Click to tweet.
Daniel chooses obedience with a side of broccoli. Click to tweet.
Choices set them apart from their peers. Click to tweet.
Blessing set them apart before the king. Click to tweet.
What does defilement look like for you? What are you missing because of it? Click to tweet.