But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way. Daniel 1:8
Nebuchadnezzar confiscated more than the holy things from the temple.
He brought to Babylon the young and brightest minds of Judah. Daniel, and his three friends were among these slaves who were brought back to Babylon. They were put under the care of Ashpenaz, to be groomed for civil service.
Indoctrination was the simple purpose of grooming. The young Jewish men were to leave behind their Hebrew God and culture and look to Nebuchadnezzar for all their needs. But Daniel and his friends refused, insisting that they would look to God alone.
Daniel did not object to the change of name. He knew who he was in the Lord, so it didn’t matter what others called him. Daniel also knew what he believed in and hence he did not object to the foreign education.
But Daniel and his friends objected to the food and wine, on at least three counts. The food served did not follow the requirements of the Jewish law. The food was probably sacrificed to idols. And eating the king’s food implied fellowship with the Babylonian culture.
Daniel and his friends were committed to obedience at all costs. Refusing the king’s order could mean punishment, even death. The food itself was a much better alternative to a vegetarian diet and water for three years. Being separated from family and home would have made it only more difficult not to compromise.
It took courage for Daniel to choose to honour God. Would you dare to be a Daniel?
Lord, give me the courage to obey you against all odds, I pray.