Daniel: Introduction (5)
Israel’s captivity in Babylon was meant to humble the people of God, to remind them of their calling as His covenant people, and to prepare their hearts to serve Him as they should once their captivity had come to an end. And God would glorify Himself throughout this 70-year period by daily reminding His people of their sin and His gracious and unfailing Word. Ezekiel explained how that would happen.
Read Daniel 1.8-14.
But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s delicacies, nor with the wine which he drank; therefore he requested of the chief of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself. Now God had brought Daniel into the favor and goodwill of the chief of the eunuchs. And the chief of the eunuchs said to Daniel, “I fear my lord the king, who has appointed your food and drink. For why should he see your faces looking worse than the young men who are your age? Then you would endanger my head before the king.” So Daniel said to the steward whom the chief of the eunuchs had set over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, “Please test your servants for ten days, and let them give us vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then let our appearance be examined before you, and the appearance of the young men who eat the portion of the king’s delicacies; and as you see fit, so deal with your servants.” So he consented with them in this matter, and tested them ten days.
Think it Through
1. What an opportunity this posed for Daniel and his friends! While the rest of God’s people languished in conditions of captivity and deprivation, they would eat like kings. Except that Daniel knew the wisdom of God, what Ezekiel had written, and why God intended this. He determined to submit to God’s Word. He may not have been able to make bread, or to bake it over his own dung, but he could refuse the king’s portions and get as close to what God commanded as possible. Why would Daniel do this? What do we learn from this about Daniel’s view of God’s Word? How should we be encouraged by this?
2. Meditate on Jeremiah 15.16, Matthew 4.1-4, and 1 Corinthians 10.31. How would God be glorified in Daniel’s choice of cuisine? In what ways is reading and meditation in Scripture like eating (check out this great poem by C. S. Lewis)? How do you expect God to be glorified in your eating and drinking today?
“For those who love God do not seek after the God of all in just one place, but even in the midst of this misfortune they worshiped as if in the house of the Creator.” Theodoret of Cyr (393-466 AD)
I have not departed from the commandment of His lips;
I have treasured the words of His mouth
More than my necessary food. Job 23.12
Father, I want to be true of me what was true of Daniel, Jeremiah, Jesus, and Job – I want Your Word to be to me…
How shall we sing the LORD’s song
In a foreign land?
If I forget you, O Jerusalem,
Let my right hand forget its skill!
If I do not remember you,
Let my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth—
If I do not exalt Jerusalem
Above my chief joy.
Psalm 137.4-6 (The Gift of Love: Though I May Speak)
How can we sing, exalt Your Name, or praises bring amid our shame?
If we forget Your Church’s fame, O Lord, then let our hands grow lame.
If ever praise forsake my tongue, if Zion’s ways no more be sung,
If greater joy by me be found, my lips destroy, no more to sound.
T. M Moore
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All psalms for singing adapted from The Ailbe Psalter. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006.