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. Daniel 1:11-15 (NIV).
Gist of the story: the prison guard agrees to Daniel’s terms. Daniel asks the guard to let he and his three friends become vegans for 10 days (which seemed preposterous in the moment), then the guard can judge for himself whether or not the food has nourished the four Judaites.
That’s the gist. The moral of the story, however, is that with God all things are possible.
You can be a vegetarian if you want to. It’s a dedicated lifestyle. It’s Biblical; in fact, until the time of the Flood, people were vegetarians. I know quite a few vegetarians and, to be honest, they’re in better health than yours truly. They eat cleaner; they eat healthier; they generally eat better quality food. Just ask them: they’ll tell you all of this. Repeatedly. Know what else about them? I am betting that, if they were compared against we meat-eaters, after a 10 day period, they would look just as healthy.
My friend, Raymond, is fond of saying, “every day a pig must die so that I may eat.” I’m with him on that, because I love pork and I love all kinds of meat. But, if God told me that I had to become vegetarian to save my life, I’d enthusiastically do it and I’d be just as healthy.
That was Daniel’s proposition. He was given a choice to (maybe) live by faith or die. Live by eating the forbidden foods, but forsake your adherence to God’s commands. Or chance death by rejecting the Babylonian-commanded foods while staying true to the Lord. It wasn’t just an argument over the menu: it was literally a king-defying question of life or death. Even more, if Daniel had eaten the Babylonian diet, who’s to say the king wouldn’t have found him lacking and rejected him anyway?
Daniel surely contemplated all this and put his trust in the Lord. He was a bold man of faith who understood that God would provide a way through whatever was about to happen, even if it meant becoming a vegetarian and defying the king’s will. There’s a lesson in that for us as well, and the lesson isn’t about vegetables.
But today, even though tofu is great, because God eventually commanded all food to be good, for my breakfast I’ll have sausage and eggs.
For further reading: Genesis 2:16, Exodus 23:25, Acts 10:9-29, Revelation 2:10, Daniel 1:16
Lord let me follow only Your commands.
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