Year 3 Day 9
Read - Daniel 1v8-21
Message - Scott Woodburn
What advice would you have given to Daniel as he started life in Babylon? Honestly I would have probably told him to keep the head down, work hard and say nothing. When you are a small minority it is probably best not to provoke the majority. Do you agree? Regardless of your opinion, Daniel took a different road.
The young man resolved that he would not defile himself with any of the king's food or drink and asked one of the king's servants for permission to carry out his plan (v8). What was Daniel's problem? I'm sure you are familiar with Jewish dietary requirements which certainly would have made the king's food "unclean". Daniel could not in good conscience eat food that the Word of God declared to be off-limits. Later the Lord would lift the dietary restrictions (Acts 10v9-16) but in Daniel's day the food from the King's table was unacceptable.
Yet dietary restrictions were not the only issue. Imagine Nebuchadnezzar held a feast and dedicated it to his god Nebo. Perhaps at this feast the king praised Nebo for the food and declared Nebo to be the source of every good thing. At such a feast how could an individual like Daniel tuck into his meat and drink? He could not. Years later the church would address similar concerns. The Jerusalem Council urged Christians to abstain from things polluted by idols (Acts 15v20) and Paul stressed that in such matters we must be mindful of our weaker brothers and sisters (1 Corinthians 8). Daniel eating Nebo's food would look like Daniel was giving honour to the false god Nebo...perish the thought!
One more issue was at stake. For Daniel to eat the food from the king's table would be a declaration on Daniel's part that Nebuchadnezzar was his lord. Just as you and I come to the Lord's Supper and declare our communion with Christ, so too would Daniel be declaring a relationship with Nebuchadnezzar by feasting at his table. It goes without saying that Daniel could not countenance such a declaration - Nebuchadnezzar was Daniel's boss but not his lord.
So the young man didn't keep his head down. He asked that he and his friends be tested for ten days by eating only vegetables and drinking only water (v12) and just as Daniel was obedient, the Lord was faithful. The Lord God gave Daniel favour in the sight of Nebuchadnezzar's servant (v9). The Lord God blessed Daniel and his friends physically despite their vegetable and water diet (v15). The Lord God equipped the boys with gifts so that they were found to be ten times better than the magicians and enchanters in Babylon (v19-20). The Lord God gave Daniel a seventy year career in the pagan governments of Babylonian and Persia (v21).
We are to live in this world as exiles and strangers. This place is not our home and we do not recognise the rulers of this world as lord. We can honour the authorities and act as good citizens of the land we are in - this is the will of God and it will silence the ignorance of foolish people (1 Peter 2v15). But we must never compromise our precious faith.
Consider the obedience of Christ Jesus who despite being God was still obedient to death on a cross (Philippians 2v8). The obedience of Christ was perfect and ours will always fall short, but if we love Christ then we will keep His commandments (John 14v15). In this pagan world it is easier to keep the head down, work hard and say nothing but even if we are not looking for trouble it will always find us. Brothers and sisters, fear God and honour Him each day. When it comes to our obedience there can be no compromise.
Q16 Did all mankind fall in Adam’s first transgression? The covenant being made with Adam, not only for himself, but for his posterity; all mankind, descending from him by ordinary generation, sinned in him, and fell with him in his first transgression.