Daniel 1:8 “But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine….”
To compromise or not to compromise….
It’s a question faced continually by politicians, parents and just about anyone facing a tough decision. To what length do we go in standing up for our principles? When is it ok to entertain ideas contrary to our own? What marks going too far? Not all compromise is wrong. I can’t imagine a successful marriage without compromise. Unwillingness to compromise creates stalled government and fosters broken friendships. No one has the full picture…well, maybe Daniel did.
Daniel knew the difference between healthy compromise and the deadly kind.
Daniel, along with other Israelites, had been exiled from Jerusalem to Babylon. Chosen to undergo training for an elite position with the Babylonian king, he faced one caveat. His training included a diet requiring him to violate standards God had set for his people. It posed a compromise he was unwilling to make. Daniel “resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine.”
Years later when Daniel had to choose whether to bow to Babylonian gods or be thrown in the lions’ den, his resolve surfaced again. This time, he faced a potential life or death situation. Nonetheless, he refused to compromise. Better to be eaten by lions than dishonor God. You know the story…God rescued him and entrusted him with visions of the future we still study today.
Daniel possessed a keen awareness of when compromise required him to violate his identity in God. Eating the king’s food may sound like a small thing to our modern ears but Daniel knew it might as well be poison. He didn’t play around with it. He simply said “No.”
I’ve been wondering lately if there might be some “royal food” in my life I need to be resolute in refusing. It’s the kind of food that tempts me to fudge holiness for my own gain. Food that whispers I might destroy any hope of exerting influence if I reject it. Food that is deadly because it contradicts God’s standard and increases my appetite to be my own god.
How about you? How’s your diet? Does it include “food” that entices you to compromise the things that really matter? Be encouraged by Daniel’s example. It’s far better to ruin your menu than your mission.