Daniel 1:8 But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s delicacies, nor with the wine which he drank; therefore he requested of the chief of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.
We are told that Daniel continued in his position in Babylon for approximately 60 years, until the first year of Cyrus which means he was probably a teenager at the beginning of the book of Daniel. Yet even at so early an age, his desire to obey and please God overruled even his desire for a life of ease in Babylon.
This food that the captives were being provided would have been quality food, for it came from the king’s own table. But it almost certainly would have been offered to pagan deities and may have been animals considered unclean to an Israelite. It would have been so easy to just go along with the other captives and eat what was set before him. There were so many justifications, not the least of which was the fact that he was now basically a prisoner in a foreign land with no ability to direct the course of his own life any longer. What choice did he have?
But he wanted to live a life that was pure and holy before God, even if that meant depriving himself of the flesh pleasing delicacies that others enjoyed. But wouldn’t he lack? Wouldn’t his health suffer by so restrictive a diet? Did it really even require all that?
Don’t we ask similar questions of ourselves when the Holy Spirit begins touching on a part of our lives that is defiling us?
Other Christians are doing it. Why can’t I?
It isn’t a sinful thing, so what’s it hurting?
Doesn’t it seem a bit fanatical to lay this thing aside?
I have found that the Holy Spirit will have me lay something aside mainly for this one reason – it hinders intimacy with Jesus. Friend, if you have cried out to the Lord in your desire to draw near to Him, one inevitable outcome of such prayers is that you will become aware of things in your life that you will need to let go of to allow more room for Him.
Daniel didn’t know when he was making decisions to live in purity as a teenager that the Lord would elevate and prosper him in the kingdom the way He did. That wasn’t Daniel’s goal. He just wanted to live pure before God.
Oh that we would have that same heart and desire to cast away everything that defiles our life. We might actually see God do amazing things in our lives if our greatest desire was to be pleasing to Him.