Daniel made up his mind to eat and drink only what God had approved for his people to eat. And he asked the king’s chief official for permission not to eat the food and wine served in the royal palace. God had made the official friendly and kind to Daniel. But the man still told him, “The king has decided what you must eat and drink. And I am afraid he will kill me, if you eat something else and end up looking worse than the other young men.”
The king’s official had put a guard in charge of Daniel and his three friends. So Daniel said to the guard, “For the next ten days, let us have only vegetables and water at mealtime. When the ten days are up, compare how we look with the other young men, and decide what to do with us.” The guard agreed to do what Daniel had asked.
Ten days later, Daniel and his friends looked healthier and better than the young men who had been served food from the royal palace. After this, the guard let them eat vegetables instead of the rich food and wine.
God made the four young men smart and wise. They read a lot of books and became well educated. Daniel could also tell the meaning of dreams and visions. [Daniel 1:8-17]
The ‘Daniel Fast’ has become a bit of a Christian diet-fad that many have gone through. And while I love the idea of people getting healthier, I think it can be easy to gloss over some of the other things that are going on in this passage. Daniel isn’t trying to lose weight in this passage (though I wouldn’t be surprised if he did). He was trying to stay holy and pure before God.
Our culture is one that doesn’t really do well depriving itself. We’re the culture that invented ‘super sizing’, monster trucks, and have entire TV channels dedicated to our hobbies. We spend all of our time chasing these bigger and better things that we can wind up accidentally burying God underneath the fry cartons and TV remotes.
It’s easy for us as Christians ‘exiled in the host nation’ to buy into the culture around us. Daniel’s example shows us that we can benefit from depriving ourselves, even just a little. Carving out space in our schedules, diets, or wallets for God can have a profound impact in other areas of our lives.
What is one thing you could give up, even for just ten days, in order to make room for God?