Thriving on an “Obedience” Diet
A quick internet search reveals the names of many, many kinds of diets that people have used. I found the Acai berry diet, the cabbage soup diet, the Mayo Clinic diet, the HCG diet, the Negative calorie diet, the Hollywood diet, the apple cider vinegar diet, the sacred heart diet, the Beverly Hills diet, etc…. The list goes on and on. However, one diet I did not find was the “obedience diet”; yet this diet served the prophet Daniel well many, many years ago. I’ve begun reading Daniel in my Bible reading and thought I’d talk about Daniel’s “obedience diet”.
Daniel was an Israelite taken into captivity by Babylon. He was one of a select group of young men who were selected by the king to enroll in a “training program” to become wise men in Babylon. One part of the training program was to feed these young men wine and the king’s delicacies. Daniel did not believe this was what God wanted for him so he had an alternative. We read about this diet and its results in Daniel chapter 1, verses 8-17: 8 But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s delicacies, nor with the wine which he drank; therefore he requested of the chief of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself. 9 Now God had brought Daniel into the favor and goodwill of the chief of the eunuchs. 10 And the chief of the eunuchs said to Daniel, “I fear my lord the king, who has appointed your food and drink. For why should he see your faces looking worse than the young men who are your age? Then you would endanger my head before the king.” 11 So Daniel said to the steward whom the chief of the eunuchs had set over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, 12 “Please test your servants for ten days, and let them give us vegetables to eat and water to drink. 13 Then let our appearance be examined before you, and the appearance of the young men who eat the portion of the king’s delicacies; and as you see fit, so deal with your servants.” 14 So he consented with them in this matter, and tested them ten days. 15 And at the end of ten days their features appeared better and fatter in flesh than all the young men who ate the portion of the king’s delicacies.16 Thus the steward took away their portion of delicacies and the wine that they were to drink, and gave them vegetables. 17 As for these four young men, God gave them knowledge and skill in all literature and wisdom; and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams.
Daniel and his three friends went on an obedience diet. It just so happened that their diet consisted of vegetables but I don’t think that the vegetables were the key to their “success”. This was not a diet to lose weight but rather to gain wisdom. God gave these young men “knowledge and skill in all literature and wisdom; and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams”. You don’t get this kind of benefit from vegetables; only from God. God blessed Daniel and his friends because they obeyed God. They did what God desired and God rewarded them. If you are familiar with the book of Daniel you will know that in the next chapter Daniel’s ability from God to understand visions and dreams allows Daniel to save his life and the lives of many (go ahead and read chapter 2 if you’re not familiar with it)
So what’s the lesson for us? I think there are many applications from this chapter but the one I want to focus on is that in every case, we should obey what God says; even if there is opposition from others. When we begin and continue in an “obedience diet” we put ourselves in a position to be enriched by God; to be used for our benefit, the benefit of others and for His glory. So let’s all ask God for His individual menus for our “obedience diet”. Some staples of this diet are prayer, bible reading and study and involvement in a local church which glorifies Jesus Christ. From there, God will give us additional “entrees” and “appetizers” to complete our daily intake of obedience….so let’s take a cue from Daniel and get started or continue on the “Obedience Diet”. You might not lose any weight but you will surely gain wisdom and whatever else God desires to give you.