This Is Only a Test

Daniel was not one to go-along-to-get-along.

Daniel 1 (4)

The chief of the eunuchs is not surprisingly a little concerned about telling Nebuchadnezzar Daniel’s objection to his “generous” plan. Takes a Babylonian to know one, I suppose. But Daniel – who may be anywhere from 12 to 16 years old or so – has a practical suggestion to allay his fears. He reminds me a bit of Gideon, seeking the Lord’s will in a rather risky situation.

Read Judges 6.36-40.

Read Daniel 1.10-14.
10And 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.” 11So Daniel said to the steward whom the chief of the eunuchs had set over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, 12“Please test your servants for ten days, and let them give us vegetables to eat and water to drink. 13Then 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.” 14So he consented with them in this matter, and tested them ten days.

Think it through
1.  I don’t sense that Daniel was testing God, to see if God wanted him to join this effort. Rather, I think Daniel was trying to balance his own objections with the understandable hesitation of the chief of eunuchs. Daniel might have simply given in to Nebuchadnezzar’s plan, but he knew that would be to defile himself. Rather than just go-along-to-get-along, Daniel proposed a different tack, and a courageous one at that. How can you see the grace and wisdom of God at work in this situation, superintending and moving events forward? Is there wise counsel for us here in communicating our beliefs and worldview with those who do not know the Lord?

2.  We’ve already mentioned that Daniel’s choice of diets resonates with what he would have known from Proverbs and the prophet Ezekiel. But Daniel could not be sure what the outcome of this test would be. The consequences might not be as he hoped. Yet he was willing to take the risk, to do what he could to fulfill God’s will for him (Prov. 23.1-3; Ezek. 4.9-13, Jer. 29.7; Prov. 15.1, 2). Sometimes doing the right thing entails risk. We can’t always know the outcome from the beginning; but we can always know what obedience to God requires in the moment. We know Daniel was familiar with the prophetic ministries of Jeremiah and Ezekiel, and it’s not unlikely he knew the Proverbs, too. What does this suggest about how to make wise decisions? Is this an example of Daniel, thinking with the mind of Christ (1 Cor. 2.16)? Explain. From what we’ve seen so far in Daniel 1, how can you see that God is working in the midst of this very difficult situation?

“…do not become a cause for scandal to those to whom you wish to set an example by encouragement and by proof of a good life.” Leander of Seville (545-600 AD)

For the LORD gives wisdom;
From His mouth come knowledge and understanding… Proverbs 2.6

I need Your wisdom every day, O Lord, to guide and sustain me as I…

For God is my King from of old,
Working salvation in the midst of the earth…
Arise, O God, plead Your own cause…

Psalm 74.12, 22

Psalm 74.12-14, 22, 23 (Rockingham Old: O Lord Most High, With All My Heart)
Our God is King from long ago, Who works deliv’rance in the land;
He split the sea, He crushed His foes; against Him none can ever stand.

Arise O God, and plead Your cause! See how the fools reproach Your Name.
Their voices quell, their uproar still, who Your majestic grace defame.

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.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT. 

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