Verse of the Day Devotion. Daniel 1:8
“But Daniel made up his mind that he would not defile himself with the king’s choice food or with the wine which he drank; so he sought permission from the commander of the officials that he might not defile himself.” – Daniel 1:8
There are going to be times that we are commanded to do something wrong, that does not please the Lord. This is what we see in the Book of Daniel. At this time, Babylon had grown in power to a level that no other kingdom could overtake them, however, they could take over anyone they wanted. Thus, in the third year of Jehoiakim as king of Judah, Babylon besieged Jerusalem and appointed a king to be put in Jehoiakim’s place. We read in verse two this takeover was a work of God. “And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, along with some of the vessels of the house of God; and he brought them to the land of Shinar, to the house of his god, and he brought the vessels into the treasury of his god.” Daniel 1:2. And then in the next verse, we see that King Nebuchadnezzar ordered young men from Israel to be brought to Babylon. “Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, the chief of his officials, to bring in some of the sons of Israel, including some of the royal family and of the nobles, youths in whom was no defect, who were good-looking, showing intelligence in every branch of wisdom, endowed with understanding, and discerning knowledge, and who had ability for serving in the king’s court; and he ordered him to teach them the literature and language of the Chaldeans.” Daniel 1:3-4. And among these were four young men from Judah; Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah whose names were changed to, in the same order, Belteshazzar, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego.
Then we read in verse five that they were to be trained and given a daily ration of food. “And the king appointed for them a daily ration from the king’s choice food and from the wine which he drank, and appointed that they should be educated three years, at the end of which they were to enter the king’s personal service.” Daniel 1:5. However, the food they were assigned would defile them; be a sin for them to eat. The we see in our focus verse, “But Daniel made up his mind that he would not defile himself with the king’s choice food or with the wine which he drank; so he sought permission from the commander of the officials that he might not defile himself.” Daniel 1:8. Now Daniel had made the decision he was not going to defile himself with this, but he did not demand anything else, but simply asked permission from the commander of the officials not to require him to eat food that was defiling to him but to give him food acceptable to him and his God. This could cause Daniel problems, but he was trusting God to protect him.
Notice what happened. “Now God granted Daniel favor and compassion in the sight of the commander of the officials, and the commander of the officials said to Daniel, I am afraid of my lord the king, who has appointed your food and your drink; for why should he see your faces looking more haggard than the youths who are your own age? Then you would make me forfeit my head to the king.” Daniel 1:10-11. It appears here that the commander was OK with what Daniel requested, but he feared what the king would do to him if he started looking like a starving, malnourished man. Daniel then asked “Please test your servants for ten days, and let us be given some vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then let our appearance be observed in your presence, and the appearance of the youths who are eating the king’s choice food; and deal with your servants according to what you see.” Daniel 1:12-13.
What was the result of this test? “And at the end of ten days their appearance seemed better and they were fatter than all the youths who had been eating the king’s choice food. So the overseer continued to withhold their choice food and the wine they were to drink and kept giving them vegetables.” Daniel 1:15-16. And the king liked what he saw. “And the king talked with them, and out of them all not one was found like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah; so they entered the king’s personal service. And as for every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king consulted them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and conjurers who were in all his realm.” Daniel 1:19-20.
We see in these verses Daniel’s faith in God and how he trusted Him to stay true to what was right, even when it could have cost him his life. And I believe God worked through the overseer and the commander of the officials to allow them to turn aside from the food that went against what God had told Israel not to eat. We see this same faith exhibited by Peter and the Apostles when they were in front of the Jewish leadership when they said, “We must obey God rather than men.” Acts 5:29b. And this should be our response when we are ordered to do something that God has declared as unacceptable or is outright sin. Let us trust God in all things and declare as Peter did, ‘We must obey God rather than men.’
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.