Daniel chapter 1 in the Old Testament sets the stage for how God would accomplish His purposes through a young man named Daniel. Here is some background: God’s people in Jerusalem were rebelling against Him. Their worship of things, blatant immorality, and injustice toward the poor were all in direct conflict with God’s instructions and standards. A century before, the prophet Isaiah predicted where this disobedience would lead: God would allow Jerusalem to be overtaken by Babylon and its king. That prediction was spot on.
In ancient culture, victorious kings would regularly capture and force competent and talented people from the conquered nation to be trained for work in their government. Daniel’s exceptional abilities, given to him by God, were noticed by the king. We shouldn’t miss how devastating it would be for Daniel to serve the godless, Babylonian king. In fact, Daniel was even stripped of his name and given a new one. In Jewish culture, names were synonymous with heritage and identity. Although he could have converted to and profited from the ways of the pagan society he now served, he remained faithful, even refusing to eat the abundant food and wine the king offered because the food violated Jewish eating restrictions established by God. Daniel 1:8 says, Daniel was determined not to defile himself by eating the food and wine given to them by the king.
Sunday’s message in The Extra Mile series was about discipline. Daniel learned that the wisdom to know when to say yes and when to say no came from the Father.
Although indoctrinated and trained to serve the Babylonian king, Daniel said no to the godless culture. With God’s help, he did not allow it to change him. Read Romans 12:2 (above) again. What is promised when you let God transform your thinking?