What's worth fighting for.

Daniel 1:8–16

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.

And at the end of ten days their features appeared better and fatter in flesh than all the young men who ate the portion of the king’s delicacies. Thus the steward took away their portion of delicacies and the wine that they were to drink, and gave them vegetables.

Bang. Daniel’s already throwing down. He’s just fine being called Belteshazzar, but eat the king’s food? No way. It’s perfectly good food, the best even. What’s the problem?

It’s not kosher. The Torah doesn’t have regulations about names, but it has plenty of regulations about what’s OK to eat. Daniel isn’t “flexible” on this.

And notice that Daniel has apparently picked a serious fight. The steward doesn’t just think that Daniel could lose his head over this; the steward is worried that he’ll lose his own head.

But Daniel isn’t looking to pick a fight; his goal is just to not be defiled. So, he proposes a compromise, which should make everyone happy. It works and, at least for now, there’s no conflict.

But two vastly different world views are in opposition. This is sure to come to a head.

In any conflict, the more serious side usually wins. There are some exceptions, particularly in a military conflict when one side has better weapons, but for opposing ideologies the less serious side usually folds.

This applies today. If one ideology is serious enough to include an unlimited supply of suicide bombers, while the other side is populated by couch potatoes, the outcome is rather predictable.

It doesn’t matter if the couch potatoes have logic on their side.

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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. ESV stands for the English Standard Version. © Copyright 2001 by Crossway. Used by permission. All rights reserved. NIV stands for The Holy Bible, New International Version®. © Copyright 1973 by International Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. KJV stands for the King James Version.

But it can matter if the couch potatoes have better prayers,

if they’re serious.

Mike Slay

As a mathematician, inventor, and ruling elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Mike Slay brings an analytical, conversational, and even whimsical approach to the daily study of God's Word.