A Sermon by Rev Frederick M ChapinJuly 24, 1994
Daniel and his friends were taken into Babylon as captives, through no fault of their own. Even though they were faithful and devote to the Lord’s commandments, they had to pay the price for Judah’s disobedience to the Lord’s commandments. Daniel was chosen to be specially trained to eventually serve as a counselor or advisor. Therefore, he and his friends were given special treatment and offered the fines food.
Daniel could have been bitter for being taken from his homeland through no direct fault of his own. Yet he remained faithful and obedient to the Lord’s law, despite the hardship and the adversity that he was called upon to do. When he was offered the king’s meat and wine, he requested that he would just eat vegetables and water. Many scholars believe that Daniel refused the king’s meat because it could have been forbidden food like swine, or it could have been dedicated to the Babylonian gods. Whatever the reason, we can see that Daniel remained faithful to the worship of Jehovah, even in a strange land like Babylon.
Daniel was in high esteem with the keeper of the eunuchs, whom Daniel was responsible for. He was afraid that if Daniel was weaker because he did not eat the king’s food, that it could cost the keeper’s life. Daniel showed compassion and understanding to the concern of the keeper. His devotion to the Law of Moses did not remove concern for others. Daniel suggested that they have a ten day trial period to see how he would look after eating vegetables for ten days. They tried this, and Daniel looked healthier and better than the others who ate the king’s food. Daniel also distinguished himself with the king as the wisest and most able of all his advisors.
In the same manner, we are to distinguish ourselves before others we come in contact with. We are to stand out for what we are capable of doing and that we will produce positive results. The wonderful thing is that we do not need to force distinguishing ourselves before others. As long as we have the simple devotion of simply obeying the Lord’s Word, we will stand out and distinguish ourselves for what we are able to accomplish. We will be regarded as honest and faithful in the performance of our duties. We will also show forth that from within we have a deeper and more orderly perspective on life that will leave an impression upon others. If we are honest, forthright, and productive we will stand out and be regarded in high esteem, just as Daniel was with the keeper of the eunuchs. Such was also the case with Joseph and the keeper of the prison.
Like Daniel, to distinguish ourselves in the right and positive way, we must properly nourish ourselves with the right food. We must desire that which will invigorate and refresh our minds. We will look for something to stimulate our mental and spiritual activities. If we hold to the belief that selfish pleasures will bringing refreshment, we will be like those who partook of the kings’s food. The king’s food, in the original language refers to delicacies or dainty dishes. This food was primarily designed just to please the sense of taste. The focus was not on the effects it would have on the health of the body. The taste was good, but it did not produce a healthy body. Likewise, if we indulge in just what pleases our senses, we will not have a healthy mind, but one that is unhealthy and being undernourished.
We must partake of spiritually healthy food if we are to have a healthy mind and a strong spiritual body. This requires that we focus on the Lord’s teachings about life. This is the thought and guidance that we receive from the Word that teaches us how we are to love, think, and act. Externally, this may not seem as stimulating as selfish pleasures are to the senses. But like the vegetables that Daniel ate, the spiritual food that is received and provided from the Lord, is designed to provide what our interior loves need to become spiritually strong. The vegetables that Daniel ate was not as tasty as the delicacies others feasted on, but Daniel’s food was designed to service the interiors of his natural body. Just for our natural bodies, healthy food like vegetables, are not as exciting to our sense of taste as is unhealthy food that can be sensually pleasing. But over time, if we have our main diet of the foods that are healthy, our natural bodies will be invigorated, strong, and energetic. The same holds true for our minds and spirits as well.