Happy Friday Restored Orchard Family!
It is human nature to be fluid. What I mean by that is that things change and we have to be willing to go with the flow or we will often be left behind. Even in our everyday lives, we make plans that change and we have to adjust and unexpected things happen and we have to cope. I remember a couple weeks ago it was my last day before school started this semester and I had a grocery list of things to do. But, I got a call from my child’s daycare saying he had gotten hurt and my day took an instant shift. The things that were most important became insignificant and my entire focus shifted. There is a hierarchy of things that are important in our life, for some its work, or home life, or children, or relationships and whatever that thing is, often takes precedence over the others. There is one thing though, in the life of believers, that should never waver and that is the standard that we hold for the word of God.
I have stated a few times that I am doing the Bible in a year plan and I have just reached the book of Daniel. This book starts with two of my favorite Bible stories and they have so much to glean from each of these stories that a good preacher could do multiple sermons off of Daniel in the lion’s den and the Hebrew boys in the fiery furnace. There is one thing that stood out to me though that happens as soon as these characters are introduced. In Daniel Chapter 1 and verse 8 it says:
“But Daniel was determined not to defile himself by eating the food and wine given to them by the king…”
A little context is that Daniel and Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were taken captive when king Nebuchadnezzer conquered Judah during the third year of Jehoakim’s reign. They were to be taught the ways of Babylonia and to be well versed in learning, gifted with knowledge, and suited to serve in the royal palace (Ch.1 v.4) they were given a ration of food for each day to get them to, or to keep them at, a certain physical level. The significance of all of this is that the king was trying his best to assimilate the Hebrew boys into the customs of the Babylonians. They tried to teach them, and build a rapport with the goods of Babylon which included the rations of food. The king knew that if he could get their dependance to be on him, he would have their loyalty. Daniel knew, however, that his God would provide everything that he needed as well as protect him from whatever the king might throw his way as punishment for his rebellion. Even up until this point God was already making a way for them by allowing them to be protected by being chosen to serve in the royal palace, but also, by the knowledge they were receiving and the proximity that they would be, to the most powerful men in the country.
How often are we willing to lower our standards whether it be because of the norms happening around us or for comfort and not to seem out of place? Maybe there is a need that you have and the only way you can see to obtain it or fulfill it is something that challenges your morals. Are your standards such that you are willing to go without? The food that the King was trying to give Daniel was necessary for his physical survival but it would have compromised his spiritual connection.
To wrap up, Daniel and the others ate vegetables and things specially prepared for them (more favor) but the stipulation was that they had ten days to eat this way and they would be assessed to see if they looked as healthy as the other captives. This was important because their physique was the key to their position. The Lord provided and they looked even better than the captives eating the Kings food. This week I challenge you to see what areas you can fully trust God in and when a situation arises that makes you choose between having what you want/need and doing what is pleasing to God, take a moment and reassess your standards and try to do what is pleasing into the Lord.