Thursday, October 1, 2015

Eating Vegetables to Get Fat (Daniel 1)

Last week, I announced that I was going to start a series with the book of Daniel. This is the least-thought through decision I have had in a while, but it seems pretty exciting to me right now, so let's go for this.

After detailing clearly that the book of Daniel seems to be about the question of God's sovereignty at a time when His sovereignty can be specifically challenged and questioned because it appears that the gods of Babylonian have bested Him. The book looks at how that God has given Israel into the hand of Israel. No need to fret about Babylonian control - God knows what He's doing.

So how does this work from the very beginning of the book? The very first chapter details one of the more popular events of this time period in the Bible. The fact that a few teenagers refused to eat drink and wine from the king, and instead opted for vegetables. What in the world does this have to do with the power of God exactly?

Well, let's take the text from the beginning. So in verses 3-4, the king is bringing up a whole bunch of skillful Israelites to serve as advisers for the king. This is a common practice at the time, where conquering nations will just take advantage of the young crop of skills that they just conquered.

Verse 5 though mentions a very specific regimen of food that has been specifically designed to prepare them to come before the king. This is the very regimen that "Daniel and his fellows" would not agree to eat because they had purposed in their hearts not to defile themselves with the portion of the king's meat (verse 8).

The reason why this would be defiling is unclear. It seems unlikely that it was because it went against Levitical laws as there was never a prohibition against wine. Sacrificing to idols is possible because in some instances wine was actually sacrificed to idols. It could have been as simple as allegiance to the king. Really, our answers are all kinda speculative, which means that our answer is not actually important. If this detail mattered the Lord would have made it clear what He wanted us to see.

But when Daniel and his fellows reject the food, there is a very specific response. The eunuch seems a bit afraid. Daniel 1:10 explains,
"And the prince of the eunuchs said unto Daniel, I fear my lord the king, who hath appointed your meat and your drink: for why should he see your faces worse liking than the children which are of your sort? then shall ye make me endanger my head to the king."

Hey, apparently, Daniel's suggestions about eating pulse and water is not a very favorable position. It is supposed to leave them to be thin and sickly after this time. That seems to be an indication that maybe this isn't a health plan, guys! It's not a recommendation for our diets!

But what is more important about this, is that when Daniel and his fellows are actually healthier, or more specifically, "fairer and fatter in all flesh" after ten days, then there must be something supernatural about this particular occasion. Maybe the Lord just blessed His servants for their obedience to Him. Hmmmm... Strange.

And then we get a brief overview of the success that Daniel and his fellows have in Babylon. Because God is not done blessing His people. And you know, He has the power to do that.

Maybe we shouldn't be concerned that we're under Babylonian control. Or put in your own life, God is in control, regardless of whatever situation you are in. You have no need to fret, God will continue to bless you, though not always in circumstance. Just trust the Lord.

Apparently I forgot to schedule this to get posted. Which stinks. 

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