And the king appointed them a daily provision of the king's meat, and of the wine which he drank: and so nourishing them three years, that at the end thereof they might stand before the king. Daniel 1:5
Sounds like an excellent idea, right? Who wouldn't like to be fed like a king? So why did Daniel ask to be exempted...?
When I read this verse, my mind went straight to thinking that the verse was going to be a picture type for how God would have us come daily to his table of spiritual blessings and be fed. *But when I read the story, (read the verse in context,) I recognized it immediately. In this story, Daniel risked a great deal not to risk his health.
- Know the source of your provision:
This is the story of the four children of Judah who, when brought into captivity, were chosen to be served the best the king had to offer, so they would be capable of serving this king. As it turnied out, Daniel chose not to take the King's bountiful food, which might include pigs and exotic meats that were against the Jewish law, and chose instead to eat only a porridge made of veggies. After a 10 day test, they were allowed to continue their chosen diet. Also they drank water, for 3 years! All while they were being groomed to serve the king. (Almost like going to college for an official job.) The result was they were clear minded and healthier looking (which by the way was FATTER) than the others who ate the meat. These 4 men, were Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego. You might remember the childhood Bible stories of Daniel in the Lion's Den and The 3 Men Who Wouldn't Burn.
The king, who only wanted them to look like they were being well fed, since they would appear in his court on his behalf, was none the wiser. They were not trusting in the food, but in God for their health. In any exercise to find healthy boundaries, don't fall into trusting the food. Remember the source of your health is faith in God and in choosing to live by his word. Choosing what and how you eat is a commitment to live in your faith, standing on your faith. It's a choice to do whatever, even if sacrificial in nature, to give God reigns in your life.
- Imagine yourself....
Note that these young men, having been taken into captivity, were probably too thin, just as we see of people, possessed by other countries on the news today -starving or hungry. Living a Godly life doesn't guarantee you will have the food you would choose to eat. If they became captive as young men, what occurred in their lives was an incredible shake up of their expectations of life. Perhaps all their dreams had come crashing down. Perhaps, they had gone through a trauma unlike many of us will ever experience - taken from their homes into a foreign environment against their will. If so, asking permission to take control of their eating habits was a small battle Daniel hoped he could win. It was a step in a direction to their own healing process, and step one to finding a new way of life. But understand that there could have been a period of time in their lives that they could not make a healthy choice, and could not eat what they would have chosen to eat due to their captivity. They were at the mercy of their circumstances, as many budget conscious persons are today. But when given opportunity, they were faithful to prepare themselves for the task presented them. There are times in our lives that we will be in the "could not" stage. It is then that our faith will be all that can sustain us.