“But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank…” (Dan.1:8)
In around 606 B.C. Daniel was taken into Babylonian captivity. He was a young man, having a full future and a successful career ahead of him. He was one of the “selected” few who was not only having the ability to serve, but also possessing the skills and wisdom in understanding all things.
In preparation to serve the king, he and his friends were appointed to eat of the king’s table and drink of the wine which was set before the king. Imagine the privilege which is set before a stranger in a foreign land to be treated to great food and wine which is equal to that of the king.
But, Daniel was different. He refused to take part in the king’s delicacies, maybe because they were offered to other gods/idols. He didn’t know for sure, but he didn’t want to take a chance. He didn’t want to compromise his worship to the only true and living God. He wanted to give his 100% to God. Do we compromise on God’s commands for things of the earth?
His striking quality which is to be noted here is that he “purposed” in his heart that he would not defile himself. The meaning of the word “purpose” is “a person’s sense of resolve or determination”. He was determined that he would not sin. He had made up his mind, even to the point of stubborn resolve that he would not let his body sin against the God who created him.Unfortunately, we are persistent for many other things rather than for things of God. Have we made a resolution that we will not let sin come in the way of our relationship with God?
The consequences of disobeying the king could have been disastrous – he could lose favour with the king, he could lose his upcoming job, or worse – he could even lose his life. And for what? Just over some food and drink, one would think. But Daniel didn’t take it lightly. One slippage here would mean many more slippages later. Do we take sin casually?
In the later chapters, we see how Daniel’s friends – Shadrach Meshach and Abednego – also got an opportunity to show their loyalty towards God. They did not go with the flow and did not bow down to the idol even if it meant the threat of losing their lives. Of course, in today’s day and age, we may not face such a situation, but we can fall into the subtle trap of having “idols” in our life. The idols could be anything – job, money, house, and a person- whom you place higher than God. Do we give more importance to God or to the “idols” of our life?
What I personally like about Daniel is that, just like us, God had placed him within the secular world. We can totally relate to him, his position, his circumstances. He was a man who is trying to live a godly life in the midst of a pagan society. Jesus said that we are in the world, but not of the world. Darius the king later passes a decree that no one should pray to anyone except the king. Daniel continued to pray to God. His one purpose was to please God, even if that means displeasing the king or anyone. The question is, do we get carried away by the things of the world or do we sternly decide to stand against the tide?
This incident of Daniel is an example of how we need to apply God’s principles to small details in our daily life. It all begins in our heart. Jesus said that it was out of the heart that the issues of life proceed. We must guard our hearts as diligently as a soldier guards his country – to not let any sign of infiltrators in – that is the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life. Romans 12:2says, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind”.
Let us be committed to God and surrender our hearts to Him so that there may be no evil ways found in us. Let us bravely purpose in our hearts each day that we would not defile ourselves by the things of this world. God bless you!
– Anagha Robby
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