Our choices matter.
Reading Daniel chapter 1 this morning, I saw that Daniel and his friends made some significant choices. Taken captive by the Babylonians at probably the ages of 15 or 16, Daniel and his friends chose only to eat vegetables and drink water.
If you have ever just eaten vegetables and had only water for an extended amount of time, then you might think this was pretty courageous!
The closer I looked at this story I find that their refusal to eat the Babylonian King’s food and drink even more courageous. I mean after all the king’s food was the best in the land. Why would these men choose not to eat it?
They knew their purpose!
It would distract them from God’s will for their life. They also knew the Law of Moses. They were well aware that to eat this food and drink their drink would dishonor Him. Likewise, it would make them ceremonially unclean before their God.
After all, the Babylonian’s sacrificed their food to their idols before consuming it. It was a form of worship. This form of worship was the greatest reason to refuse the best food of the land.
It all boiled down to, who would these young men follow?
Daniel and his friends’ refusal to eat this food and drink their wine was a test of their loyalty to their God. Their refusal was an example of their devotion to the Lord and not to the cultural influences that threatened them. Their focus was not pleasing the Babylonians but pleasing the One True God!
Nothing else mattered!
Their choice to not have the king’s food was no light decision. This choice wasn’t a casual offer to have a cup of tea or brownie if you’d like. They were assigned to eat and drink. And the chief official was there to oversee that they did. Thankfully, God had granted them favor and compassion from this official. And he allowed them to choose to refuse.
Just as God promised in 1 Samuel 2:30, “I will honor those who honor Me,” He honored Daniel and his friends. Their choice to refuse unlocked the door to great wisdom and understanding for them. When the time came for their presentation to the king, they were ten times better than any of their competitors within the kingdom. No one could compare to their physique or gifting.
I do not think that God’s favor came to them just by what they chose to do, but also by what they refused to do.
Like their example, we can also choose to do good and noble things in our life. And there are many things to choose! We can choose to do evil too. However, I would project that more of us, who call ourselves Christians, fight the battle of choosing to do too many good things not evil. But if the good distracts us from God’s purpose in our life, then I would venture to say that the choice is essentially evil.
I find that my refusal to do certain things teaches me to make the better choice. It actually helps me focus, narrows my purpose, and keeps me loyal to the Lord’s specific calling in my life.
So, I ask you, what are you choosing to do today? Better yet, what are you refusing?
What you choose to do is important, but what you refuse to do can bring even greater blessing in your life.