Photo by Randy Fath on Unsplash
A life crisis can shake the foundation of our faith. We are forced to re-think our concept of God and reconsider our relationship with Him. This is especially true if these crises affect us personally.
Where is God? Why does He let this happen? Why doesn’t He do anything about it? Why me?
There are times when we find ourselves in the same situation as Daniel and his friends in the Bible.
They were captured and deported to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar in 605 AD. They found themselves in a new world – one that was idolatrous, worldly and evil. The Babylonians had no reverence for the God whom Daniel and his friends worshipped.
Nebuchadnezzar had a clear purpose in bringing them into his court: He was going to turn them into Babylonians – in their thinking, values, worldview and allegiance.
But Daniel purposed to stay faithful to God in this new environment (Daniel 1:1-7). So, when Daniel was offered royal food and wine, he humbly made a request to the chief officer for a simple diet of vegetables and water instead.
Daniel’s resolve revealed his inner life – the depth of his relationship with God and his commitment and dedication to Him.
Why wouldn’t he want to eat the good food and wine that the king offered?
Food is the most basic of our needs. Accepting the lavish food and exotic wine signalled the beginning of compromise. Daniel knew, once he had a taste and began to like – and desire – it, it would soon cause him to compromise other areas of his life, including his relationship with God.
Daniel knew his true identity in God and even though he had been given a new name and a new country to live in, he knew to whom he belonged. He was committed to his relationship with God.
Daniel made a bold and courageous decision: He resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine (Daniel 1:8).
Instead of compromising, Daniel remained faithful to God and found a practical, creative solution and trusted God for the results. He refused to be led down the slippery road of assimilating into their way of life.
He asked the chief officer to give them only vegetables and water for 10 days and then compare their appearance to that of the young men who eat the royal food. The chief officer agreed. At the end of the 10 days, Daniel and his friends looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food. So, the chief officer gave them what Daniel asked for (Daniel 1:9-16).
We live in a changing world that is constantly calling out to us to change with it.
Don’t be left behind.
Everyone’s doing it. Why are you so different?
This is the way to the top in the new world order. Get real.
Our thinking, values and worldview are constantly being challenged.
God has given us clear guidelines on how to operate in this world and we will do well to follow them: “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:2)
God rewarded Daniel and his friends with knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams. There was none in Babylon that was equal to the wisdom of Daniel and his friends who made a stand for God (Daniel 1:17-20).
When we are faithful to God, He will equip and give us what we need to remain faithful and to stay true to Him, to our calling and destiny.
Daniel was in captivity. The king wanted to make him one of his own by changing his name, his diet, his way of life and his thinking. Daniel’s resolve revealed his inner life – it showed that Daniel knew whose He was – His identity is secure in the Lord. It also showed the depth of his relationship with God and his commitment and dedication to Him.
We too, have to make a resolution today: To follow God and live and act by his principles rather than the principles of the world. We must also resolve to be faithful to God and in our commitment and dedication to Him.
Reflection and Discussion
- In what ways may you have compromised with the ways of the world – its culture and its influence or in your thinking and behaviour?
- What bold and courageous decision do you have to make because you belong to God, and not to the world?
- Think of someone whom you can encourage with the knowledge of this truth and consider how you may build that person up.