Focal Passages: Daniel 1:3-6, 8-9, 11-21
A father once told his son not to swim in the creek near their house. The son said he understood. A couple of nights later the boy came home wearing a pair of soaking wet swim trunks. “Where have you been?” asked his father. “Swimming down at the creek,” replied the boy. “The same creek I told you not to swim in?” asked his father, incredulously.
“Yes sir,” said the boy. “Why would you swim there after I told you not to?” asked his father, his impatience growing by the minute. “Well,” said the boy, “I was walking down there with my swim trunks, and I just couldn’t resist the temptation.” The father asked, “Why did you have your swim trunks with you?” “Well,” said the boy, “I figured I better have them along just in case I was tempted to swim and, sure enough, I was!”
Too often Christians are like that young boy. We know our areas of spiritual weakness, but we have our swim trunks along, just in case. If we are on vacation or a long way from home, the inclination is even stronger.
Daniel was a long way from home when he was asked to violate the dietary restrictions God had established (Daniel 1:3-5). Rather than reason that he was far from home or that God had abandoned him, Daniel evaluated the request of his captors in light of the Word of God. He quickly realized that obedience to his captors would mean disobedience to God (v. 8-10).
Daniel boldly offered an alternative (v. 12-15) that would allow Daniel to remain obedient, though it would not be easy. Daniel proposed to eat only vegetables and water for 10 days. Afterwards, the official could determine whether Daniel and his companions were healthy. Sure enough, they were. God rewarded their obedience with wisdom and understanding beyond the other “wise men” in the king’s court (v. 17-19).
Christians need to determine to honor God daily. Doing so is a moment-by-moment decision to yield to the Holy Spirit rather than to temptation. As a result we will experience a spiritual discipline that keeps us from spiritual compromise.