“But Daniel was determined not to defile himself by eating the food and wine given to them by the king. He asked the chief of staff for permission not to eat these unacceptable foods. Now God had given the chief of staff both respect and affection for Daniel. But he responded, “I am afraid of my lord the king, who has ordered that you eat this food and wine. If you become pale and thin compared to the other youths your age, I am afraid the king will have me beheaded.” Daniel 1:8-10
Surely the king’s food was the best in the land, so why should these four Hebrew students refuse it? They refused it because it would defile them and make them ceremonially unclean before their God. It was important to the Jews that they eat only animals approved by God and prepared in such a way that the blood was drained from the flesh; for eating blood was strictly prohibited (Lev. 11; 17:10–16). But even more, the king’s food would first be offered to idols, and no faithful Jew would eat such defiled food. The early church faced this same problem. We saw this in our study of Corinthians.
Even through, Daniel and his three companions were a long way from Jerusalem and the Sacrifices, they remained faithful to God. This is a problem that we each face every day. As a child of God, and therefore, a representative of the Lord on earth, there are certain things that we should not do. To take a stand can be costly, but God tells us that we are not part of the world and we must not conform to the world. “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” (Romans 12:2)