Lines In the Sand While Considering Others

Often times in our walk with the Lord, much of our thoughts are about how the Lord will work in our lives as believers. Our prayers, reflections, devotions, and biblical studies are focused on how the Lord will bless, endow, empower, and opportune us, as believers.

In a conversation between Daniel and the lead guard, Daniel takes the guard’s fear and concern into consideration in his efforts to sustain his focus, appetite, and disciplined life towards God (1).

The guard was instructed by Nebuchadnezzer to identify “royal descendants and members of the ruling class from the Isralites”. The requirements for the position were “good-looking, young men without defects, skilled in all wisdom, possessing knowledge, conversant with learning, and capable of serving in the king’s palace”. After being recognized for these requirements, the guard had the responsibility to train and teach them the language, literature, culture, and customs of the land (2).

These four young men complied with everything that was asked of them. However, there was one more thing that the Chaldean king required of them. He required them to consume what he consumed and have an appetite parallel to his appetite. The Chaldean king wanted them to have a king’s palate (4).

Carlo Nico Capuana

Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were of Israeli royal descent, taken into bondage, to work for the enemy as government officials, and were forced into a systematic conversion from being identified as Israelites to being identified as Chaldeans. They no longer had their land, their heritage, their family, their identity, and and were on the verge of losing their appetite.

Out of all of the changes and challenges, they drew lines in the sand regarding their their appetites (5). These four young men made a conscious decision to attend Chaldean university, learn Chaldean philosophy, and look like Chaldean aristocracy. But, they refused to surrender their God given appetites and sacrifice their thirst and hunger for God. At such a young age, they had a clear understanding about what they ought and ought not to consume.

Amidst all of this, Daniel was understanding and compassionate towards the guard (6) knowing the guard could lose his life if Daniel was not ready when it was time for them to go before the king. Daniel put his faith on the line for the chief guard and asked him to trust him as he refused to sacrifice his appetite.

Daniel suggested he put the four of them on a soup meal plan for ten days and check them out afterwards. Compare them to everyone else and determine if they have to consume the king’s meat or not (7). Daniel put his faith in God on the line for the sake of the very person who represented the institution that took everything from them.

Faith in Christ ought to drive us to live out both the convictions and the compassion of His Word in the face of good and grim times.

1. Daniel 1:11-12
2. Daniel 1:3-4
3. Daniel 1:6
4. Daniel 1:5
5. Daniel 1:8
6. Daniel 1:9
7. Daniel 1:10-13

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