Not Defile Himself
Daniel 1:8 (ESV) -- But Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the king’s food, or with the wine that he drank. Therefore he asked the chief of the eunuchs to allow him not to defile himself.
We have many situations each day where we are acting spontaneously on things that happen. A car pulls out in front of us and we slam the brakes. Someone at work says something snarky and we have to make a split-second decision on how to respond. These things and more happen all the time.
But our passage today shows the importance of predetermining our response to certain circumstances. We read in Daniel 1:8, “But Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the king’s food, or with the wine that he drank. Therefore he asked the chief of the eunuchs to allow him not to defile himself.”
This passage is set in the context of the Babylonian invasion of Israel. People in Israel lost their freedom. Many of the best and brightest youth were taken from their families and sent away to Babylon. They received new names, had to learn new languages, and were expected to follow new norms of living. But notice that Daniel, an Israelite, makes a different decision.
Instead of conforming to the culture around him, Daniel resolves to not defile himself with the king’s food. He determined to follow God’s dietary restrictions for Israel. But this was a decision made in advance. When the pressure to eat restricted food came, it was a spontaneous call for him. He had already determined his actions.
Christians need to do this in our lives as well. We must resolve to follow God’s Word on issues of our day rather than waiting until the moment a decision is presented. We must choose how to use money, approach marriage, view sexuality, and many other things based on what Scripture teaches, not a moment’s whim.
Have you resolved to follow Scripture’s teaching in advance? True believers don’t leave obedience to God to how we feel in the moment when a decision is presented to us. We determine in our hearts before situations arise how we are going to respond to those situations. Daniel gives us a wonderful example to follow.
Reflection & Journal:
- Why is Daniel in this situation he is in? Did he have any control over that?
- What decision does Daniel make in light of his situation?
- How does this passage and devotional help us think about our own lives?
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