8 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. 9 Now God granted Daniel favor and compassion in the sight of the commander of the officials, 10 and the commander of the officials said to Daniel, “I am afraid of my lord the king, who has appointed your food and your drink; for why should he see your faces looking more haggard than the youths who are your own age? Then you would make me forfeit my head to the king.” 11 But Daniel said to the overseer whom the commander of the officials had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, 12 “Please test your servants for ten days, and let us be given some vegetables to eat and water to drink. 13 Then let our appearance be observed in your presence and the appearance of the youths who are eating the king’s choice food; and deal with your servants according to what you see.”
In the beginning of the book of Daniel we see that Judah was taken over by Nebuchadnezzar. He took the people of Judah into captivity and they were taken to Babylon. This had to be a strenuous time for God’s people. God’s people were now under the control of an earthly king that had no fear of God. This king did not respect Yahweh. Life as the Jews knew it was not going to be the same.
Nebuchadnezzar sent his chief of officials to find the best men. He was looking for men from the royal families. He wanted men that had no issues, were good looking, intelligent, had knowledge, and had the ability to serve in the royal court. Times were bleak and this might appear to be a great opportunity for these men. They would likely be suffering under the oppression of this king; however, these men would enjoy some luxuries.
There might be times when we things look bad but then we have something shiny waving in our faces. We might be tempted to take that shiny object because we are in a dark place. The problem is there might be a heavy price to pay for the object. We might think this will completely change our situation. What you have to remember is that it might not be from God.
Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were among the chosen for the king. The king was going to provide them the best food and wine. They were to be trained for three years, and then they would enter the king’s personal service. They were even given new names. They were now called Belshazzar, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego. These names were given to make them forget their God. These names had Babylonian idolatry meanings. Belshazzar means the keeper of hidden treasures of Bel. Shadrach means the inspiration of the sun. Meshach is of the goddess Shach. Abed-nego is the serpent of the shining fire.
These four young men have an opportunity to live like the king. They could eat what they wanted and have their choice of wine. It is coming at a cost though because they would be losing their identity in Christ. These four men chose to live for God. They resolved to do the right thing in the eyes of God. They decided they would not compromise their faith for what the world had to offer. We are tempted to take what the world says is great and glorious, but it might not be God’s plan. If the world says do something that is against God’s word we must have the resolve not to do it.
Daniel convinced the commander of the officials to not make them eat of the king’s food for ten days. This was a risky move for the commander because if Daniel and the others did not look the same as the others in the end, the commander would have been killed. The reason Daniel did not want to eat this food was because of what the food was. They knew that there would be food that was sinful to eat. He knew that there would be pork placed before them, which was forbidden by law. They were also afraid that there would be meat placed before them that were offered in sacrifices to idols. They wanted to live for God and chose not to put themselves in a situation where they would have to compromise their belief.
After ten days the four were healthier than the others. They did not compromise their beliefs in God and God was taking care of them. As time went on God gave them the knowledge they needed. They resolved to live for Yahweh and He provided for their needs.
- Resolve to live for God no matter how bad your situation seems.
- Do not compromise your salvation for what the world has to offer.