Devoted Or Defiled

Daily Reading: Daniel 1; 1 Peter 5

Now God granted Daniel favor and compassion in the sight of the commander of the officials, (Daniel 1:9, NASB95)

Daniel and his three friends sought to do God’s will by not defiling themselves with the king’s food and drink. There are three reasons why the food and drink might defile them.

  1. It may violate the food laws of clean and unclean (Lev. 11:1–47).
  2. The meat may have had blood in it (Gen. 9:4; Lev. 17:10–13; Deut. 12:23–24).
  3. It may have been involved in the worship of idols (Exod. 34:15; Deut. 32:38; Acts 15:29; 21:25; 1 Cor. 8–10).

While all of them may be possible, it is this last suggestion that is most likely the key. Both the meat and wine were likely first offered to the Babylonian gods before being sent to the king and therefore associated with idolatrous worship. This conflict results in three events:

  1. Daniel and his friends refused to defile themselves (Dan. 1:8).
  2. God grants them favor and compassion in the sight of unbelievers (Dan. 1:9).
  3. Obedience to God results in a better appearance than the youth who had been eating the king’s choice food (Dan. 1:15).

These OT believers made a choice to be faithful to God rather than man. The Corinthian believers were similarly admonished not to participate in idolatry by eating meat sacrificed to idols (1 Cor. 10:25-28). This issue is still relevant for Christians today, not where the focus is on food (Mk. 7:18-23), but rather that we don’t allow any form of idolatry to take God’s rightful place. Do we have any idols in our hearts that are defiling us and separating us from God? Do our actions convey our worship of the living God to others?

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