DETERMINED IN PURPOSE
"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."
Resolve, according to Encarta Dictionaries, means "to come to a firm decision about something, or cause somebody to do this". It is a strong conviction. While the word resolved means "determined in purpose". So Daniel has a strong conviction or firm decision. He was determined in purpose. What purpose? The purpose of not to defile himself with the royal food and wine. Why? What about the royal food and wine? What's wrong with it?
Before answering these questions, let's have a little background about Daniel Chapter 1. What happened here?
"In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. And the LORD delivered Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand..." (Daniel 1:1-2) "The king Nebuchadnezzar then ordered Ashpenaz, chief of his court officials, to bring in some of the Israelites from the royal family and the nobility--- young men without any physical defect, handsome, showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well informed, quick to understand, and qualified to serve the king's palace. He was to teach them the language and literature of the Babylonians. The king assigned them 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. Among these were some from Judah: Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. " (Daniel 1:3-6) "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. " (v.8)
Imagine all the expensive food in the world served in front of you; food cooked only for a king. It must be very tempting- the color, how it was prepared and set on the table, the smell. Even the plates, spoons or fork, it must be made of gold and silver. Who would want to refuse such privilege? To eat what the king eat, the very same food only fit to be eaten by the highest ruler in the kingdom, could make you feel you are the king himself or equal to the king when it comes to food at least. Maybe the other young men thought that way. Did it not ever occur to Daniel to taste the food by dipping his finger in order to know how delicious it was? Maybe those thoughts did enter their minds but Daniel and his friends did not compromise.
Daniel resolved. It was not just any ordinary or simple decision but a firm decision -a difficult decision to come up with and that cannot be broken.
If you were in Daniel’s shoes, will you decline? Will you refuse the offer? Think about it. You are from the noble family. You are used to eat delicious food. You are used to fine dining with chandelier above your head. But not this grand. Not the food for the king, the food at the king’s table. It’s a great privilege.
But look what Daniel and his friends did! They exchange such privilege for vegetable and water! The food for the poor! The food for the servants and the slaves! So ordinary.
I remember when my older sister Jovy was still a child and I was only eight (if I’m not mistaken), our mother cooked “guinisang kangkong.” It was our first time to eat kangkong. My sister asked our mother what will be our viand and when she heard Mama’s answer, she was astonished and somehow a bit disgusted. “Kangkong? Isn’t that food for pigs?!” I no longer remember if my sister ate that “ginisang kangkong” or not. She really thought that kangkong are only for pigs and not for humans. We had pigs and we fed them kangkong from Lolo’s (Grandpa’s) “kangkongan” –a marsh or something where kangkong are planted- so we cannot blame her for thinking that way.
Well, maybe you think the same way. “Eww! Green leafy vegetable? Am I a goat?!” I know many people who do not eat vegetable. When I was a child, the only vegetable I was able to put inside my mouth was squash. So I believe most if not all of us can relate to this story. You know how difficult it was for Daniel to decide to eat the grass called vegetable and the tasteless and colorless liquid called water.
Some of you may be thinking, “Why not eat BOTH the ‘vegetable and water’ and ‘the royal food and wine’? You can eat the delicious royal food, drink the wine, and eat the vegetable (as a side dish) to keep you healthy. Why not indeed!
Daniel DID NOT compromise. He knew what the royal food and wine can do to him. It will defile him. It will make him unclean.
Unclean food in the Old Testament:
· Food sacrificed to idols
· Foods written in Leviticus 11
I cannot be certain what food exactly is the royal food. I am not a historian. ^__^ All I am certain of is that it will surely make them unclean and eating such food that could make them unclean is a violation to the Law of God- the Law Daniel so determined not to violate! He is an Israelite, the chosen people of God. He is from a royal/noble family. He was one of the young men chosen to serve the king Nebuchadnezzar. He passed all the qualifications e.g. without physical defect, handsome, etc. And he wants to keep that! He did not want to degrade himself. He knows the law and he abides in it. He knows what pleases God. He knows the heart of God. In fact, Daniel had a very close relationship with God and is even called today as the most prayerful man. Again, he didn’t want to defile himself.
So what does this chapter has to do with us?
Just like Daniel, we Christians are part of a royal/noble family- the family of God. God is our Heavenly Father and we are His children. Though we were imperfect because of SIN, He restored us and healed all our defects. We are now beautiful in His eyes because we are now cloth in Christ's righteousness and God who fearfully and wonderfully made us (Psalm 139:14) has wash away the mud that clung to us through the blood of Christ. And because we are God's children, we are meant to excel(show aptitude).
You are no ordinary man or woman. You are above average for you are a child of God. Therefore, just like Daniel and his friends, we must also resolve not to defile ourselves, who we are, by what we do or eat (not just literally). We should not feed our mind or soul things that could make us unclean by what we read, hear or see.
GOD doesn't want us to be like Jehoiakim, king of Judah who "...did evil in the eyes of the LORD, just as his fathers had done." (2 Kings 23:37). God does not want to deliver us into the hands of the enemy just like what He did to Jehoiakim. For three years, Jehoiakim became Nebuchadnezzar's vassal. Jehoiakim who was king became a vassal or a slave, a bondman. He was king but he became subordinate to king Nebuchadnezzar. He used to be the superior or the boss but became lower than somebody in rank or status. All because of SIN.
(We've come to the end of part 1 of this two-part blog post. In the next part, we'll be studying further the ROYAL FOOD of today, the devil's tactic called deception, what the Vegetable and Water symbolizes, compromising/conforming to the world and holiness. By the way, I don't own the picture. No copyright infringement intended. God bless! )