I too often find it easy to compromise what God is leading me to do because of the circumstances I am in. Instead of fighting for what God wants, I just lay down and accept what the world is telling me to do…that isn’t what Daniel (and Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego) did in Daniel Ch. 1.
The setting for this time is that king Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon had besieged Jerusalem. Though this seemed like such an awful thing, God used these circumstances as a means to bring the hearts of the Israelites back to Him. During this time, king Nebuchadnezzer ordered to bring back with them to Babylon some of the young Israelites from the royal family and nobility…Daniel, Hananiah (Shadrach), Mishael (Meshach), and Azariah (Abednego) happened to be some of these young men. All that were chosen had to be without any physical defect, handsome, showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well informed, quick to understand, and qualified to serve in the king’s palace. They were to learn the language and literature of the Babylonians.
That is where Daniel 1:5-14 picks up:
5 The king assigned them [the young men from Israel] a daily amount of food and wine from the king’s table. They were to be trained for three years, and after that they were to enter the king’s service.6 Among these were some from Judah: Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. 7 The chief official gave them new names: to Daniel, the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abednego.
8 But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way. 9 Now God had caused the official to show favor and sympathy to Daniel, 10 but the official told Daniel, “I am afraid of my lord the king, who has assigned your[c] food and drink. Why should he see you looking worse than the other young men your age? The king would then have my head because of you.”
11 Daniel then said to the guard whom the chief official had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, 12 “Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. 13 Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food, and treat your servants in accordance with what you see.” 14 So he agreed to this and tested them for ten days.
As you can see, it would have been really easy for Daniel and the others to just eat the food offered to them…to me, it would seem like such a small compromise…but I believe Daniel knew that if he compromised there, where would he stop? So instead, He (and the others) had faith that if they did their part, God would do His…and as we can see in the rest of Ch. 1, that is exactly what God did:
15 At the end of the ten days they [Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego] looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food. 16 So the guard took away their choice food and the wine they were to drink and gave them vegetables instead.
17 To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds.
18 At the end of the time set by the king to bring them in, the chief official presented them to Nebuchadnezzar. 19 The king talked with them, and he found none equal to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah; so they entered the king’s service. 20 In every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king questioned them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in his whole kingdom.
21 And Daniel remained there until the first year of King Cyrus.
We need to learn to follow God, despite the circumstances. Whether the compromise is big or small, we need to stand firm, and have faith in God’s provision. Just like Daniel, we need to go out on the limb and do our part, and have the faith that God will do His.
In God’s Love and Grace,