by Rev Jason Phua
Bible Readings: Daniel 1:1-2:23; Proverbs 26:14
READ (Verse chosen for reflection)
Daniel 1:8 “But Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the king’s food, or with the wine that he drank. Therefore he asked the chief of the eunuchs to allow him not to defile himself.”
Why would Daniel think it a defilement if he were to eat of the king’s food and drink of his wine? Why did Daniel not consider the offering of education, changing of names and being allocated government positions by the Babylonian king forms of defilement as well? The passage is not clear as to why Daniel was particularly sensitive to the king’s food and wine. One explanation could be Daniel’s faithfulness to God’s laws on food as the Babylonians would have no qualms serving unclean animals as well as serving food offered to idols. However, this does not explain why Daniel refused the wine.
Perhaps a more viable explanation could be that Daniel and his three friends wish to preserve a sense of loyalty to God without indulging in the fellowship of the king. They wanted vegetables and water to remind themselves that they are the children of God, and not loyalists of Nebuchadnezzar. As we shall read in the later chapters of the book of Daniel; it is more than a matter of food laws but allegiance to the only King of all kings.
Daniel’s loyalty to God in a hostile environment made me question my own loyalty to Him. Have I been loyal to the King? Or am I more loyal to the things provided by the prince of this world? If I say that I am loyal to the King, then how is my life reflecting such loyalties? Am I actually more loyal to myself than to Jesus Christ?
At one time, my friends and I discussed about being in fellowship of people who are powerful and wealthy but are morally corrupt. Would we still been fellowship with them? I thought then that it all depends on why we truly want to be in fellowship with them. Is it really to witness to them the Gospel? Then we also need to pray that in the midst of doing so, we stay strong in the Lord to resist the subtle but powerful temptations they might offer. Or are we really deceiving ourselves for the truth is that we want to get more resources from these people? The heart is deceitful but the Word of God is clear as day. May the Lord help us to choose wisely and be brutally honest to at least ourselves.
Lord, may You help me to stay loyal to You; even in the midst of temptations and challenges that are ever so present in this world. Amen.