Volume. XXV, No. 24
God Preserves His Own
“But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.” (Daniel 1:8).
Having defeated King Jehoikim in 605BC, King Nebuchadnezzar made Judah his vassal state. Since the destruction of Nineveh seven years earlier, the Babylonian Empire had grown so fast that they did not have enough of their own educated men needed to fill the government. King Nebuchadnezzar had to conscript wise and talented young captives to train for his service. Hence, King Nebuchadnezzar took some of the choice princes from Judah to Babylon in order to teach them the culture and language of the Chaldeans. King Nebuchadnezzar wanted to make them useful in the king’s royal service.
As a young boy, Daniel was taken to a foreign land with many other young Israelites. In the court of the king, Daniel and his friends were given Babylonian names and fed with special food prepared for the king in the hope that these young men would become smarter during the final examination and be assimilated into the Babylonian culture.
As much as this great king had desired to assimilate these young men, it did not happen. These young men did not give in to the king’s desire. They refused to obey the king. They did not eat the food chosen for them by the king. To refuse food from the king was akin to rejecting his sovereignty. This was punishable by death. What was wrong in consuming food that was given to them by the king?
Babylonian’s moral climate was totally heathen. The Babylonians were heathens. They worshipped a different god. These included idols and statues. They were involved in pagan worship. They have been known to make human sacrifices. The same food and wine served to King Nebuchadnezzar was served to them. Food and wine that might have been offered to idols, or might not have been prepared according to Jewish law.
Daniel and his friends refused to eat the food and drink the wine that was given to him by the king. “But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself” (Daniel 1:8).
They preferred to live on other food. Daniel found favour with the chief of the eunuchs who fed them with the food they wanted. Daniel and his three friends subsisted on a diet of pulse and perhaps vegetables.
Daniel and his friends were Israelites. They loved their God. They worshipped the one and only true God. From the onset of their captivity, Daniel and his three friends had committed not to defile themselves. They never left their first love. They loved and honoured their one true God.
In return for their commitment, God blessed them in stature as well as in wisdom. At the final examination, Daniel and his three friends were found to be ten times wiser than all the magicians and astrologers that were in the kingdom (Daniel1:20b). As such, they were appointed to positions of high places by King Nebuchadnezzar which incidentally incurred the envy, wrath and jealousies of the Babylonian courtiers.
Scripture tells us that the Babylonian courtiers were thinking of ways to get rid of these four men. The Babylonian courtiers knew that these young men were very religious. They had lived exemplary all the time they had been in exile. These wicked men used Daniel and his three fiend’s religious conviction to expose and condemn them.
Scripture also tells us that Daniel’s three friends Shadrach, Meschah and Abed-nego were thrown into the fiery furnace for disobeying King Nebuchadnezzar’s decree to bow to his golden statue. The fourth men in the furnace delivered them. God delivered them from the fiery furnace.
Daniel too had his share of trial when he refused to obey the king’s decree not to pray to his God. Daniel refused to compromise his stance and kept on praying in spite of the threat of imminent death. For refusing to stop praying, Daniel was thrown into the lion’s den. Like his three friends, Daniel was also delivered by God. God sent his angel to shut up the lion’s mouth.
Without compromising themselves, Daniel and his three friends found a way to live by God’s standards. They honoured God in the way they lived and conducted themselves in a God honouring manner amongst a nation of idol worshippers. They did not compromise themselves in an ungodly society.
For honouring God, God blessed Daniel and his three friends throughout their stay in a foreign land. The Bible tells us that Daniel served in a foreign land that was hostile to God for 70 years. God sustained him throughout his captivity because Daniel never departed from his first love.
Our world today is no different from the world of Daniel and his three friends. Satan’s fiery darts are everywhere. Neon lights lure men to their death and destruction. Let us learn from Daniel and his three friends that God’s hand is working in our lives too. God is always in control. Be reminded that if we honour Him, He will honour us and He will bring all things to pass (Psalm 37b).
He will sustain us in times of difficulties. God does not create us, save us and then leave us on our own. He sends us the comforter who preserves and sanctifies us. He has told us in the Gospel of Matthew chapter 28:20b, “I am with you alway, even to the end of the world, Amen.” This is the assurance we can depend on for God will always fulfil His promise.
We have a part to play too. On our part, just like Daniel and his three friends we have to make a conscious effort to remain committed to Godly living. To remain committed and focus we need spiritual strength not our own human strength. We need to draw nigh to God. We need the sanctification of the Holy Spirit. Most of all, we need His everlasting grace to remain committed. Who can be against us if God is with us?
Let us also have a clear purpose in our spiritual lives. Pray to God to give us the conviction to live a righteous life. At all times, let us draw nigh to God. Unless we walk close to God, Satan will succeed in planting the seed of complacency in us. If we remain faithful and put our trust in God, He will preserve and sustain us. We must expect to face trials and tribulations just like the four young men did. Whatever difficult times we face, we must always remain faithful and trust in Him completely. Trusting God demonstrates our faith.
Also, be reminded that to live Godly in an Ungodly society, all of us must put on the whole armour of God (Ephesians 6:13-17). As a soldier of God we must always be ready to move forward and be prepared for the onslaughts of Satan’s fiery darts. Not forgetting too Ephesians 6:18 exhorts us “Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.”
Psalm 37:5 reads, “Commit thyself unto the Lord, trust in him and he shall bring it to pass.” Who is more qualified than King David when he wrote this Psalm? He was a man with many roles. He had lots of life experiences. He had experienced immense wealth, lust and pride that this temporal world had to offer. Indeed, such a valuable teaching and exultation must be well heeded from a man after God’s heart.
King David was urging the readers to rely on God. King David was also urging us to bind ourselves to God. We must also entrust everything to God and to allow God to take control of their lives. To trust in a God who will deliver at all times. Also to make a conscious effort to abide in Him and remain faithful to Him at all times. By not compromising and remaining faithful to God, we can live Godly in an ungodly society.
God is faithful and He will grant grace to the faithfuls in times of need. God will preserve His own.
“The Lord will preserve him, and keep him alive; and he shall be blessed upon the earth: and thou wilt not deliver him unto the will of his enemies.” (Psalm 41:2).
Dn Tony Law.