Are you prepared to take a stand?
Week beginning: 7th July, 2019 | By Laurence Wilkinson | London
Daniel then said to the guard whom the chief official had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, "Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food, and treat your servants in accordance with what you see". So he agreed to this and tested them for ten days.
At the end of the ten days they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food. So the guard took away their choice food and the wine they were to drink and gave them vegetables instead.Daniel 1:11-16 (NIV)
What would your response be if you were asked to do something that you knew went against your beliefs? Would you risk speaking up to challenge the status quo?
In this passage, Daniel faced one of these tough situations where the stakes were very high. Serving in the Babylonian king's court would have required Daniel to be involved in many activities that he might have disagreed with. He was given a new name connecting him with a Babylonian god, and had to study Babylonian literature, but he drew a line where it came to defiling himself with the king's food.
Daniel risked life and limb by asking for an exception to the rule, but notice how he approached the situation in a winsome and tactful way. He knew that honouring God had objectively positive consequences, and in taking a stand he influenced the way in which the hostile Babylonian court operated.
The passage also shows that we might be required to choose where we draw our lines. While we can't always expect to see our objections handled as smoothly as this (NB Chapter 6 and Daniel's trip to the Lion's Den!) we shouldn't let our fear of the consequences stop us from speaking up where God calls us to do so. And when we do speak up, we need to be sensitive and wise about how we present our arguments.
1. Praise God that He is with us through whatever trials and tribulations we find ourselves in.
2. Ask the Lord to strengthen our resolve ahead of any storms we might find ourselves in.
3. Pray that we would conduct ourselves with the wisdom and integrity of Daniel in the face of testing circumstances.
4. Pray for opportunities to lead others to God through our obedience to Him.