Prophecies of Daniel 1, Part 4
In our last installment of this series – Prophecies of Daniel 1, Part 3 – we covered Daniel 1:11-13. We want to move on from there, so without further ado, let’s discuss Daniel 1:14.
“So he listened to them in this matter and tested them for ten days.”
You’ll recall that Daniel had requested that he and his friends (Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego), be given only vegetables and water for food and drink. He didn’t want to eat the king’s “unclean” food. We noted how God granted Daniel favor and compassion with the guards.
The “he” in the above verse is referring to the “overseer” mentioned in Daniel 1:11, who was immediately in charge of their welfare. Daniel had reasoned with him to put it to the test for ten days and if after that time, Daniel and his friends looked bad and they started looking thinner, then he would have the option at that time to put them on the king’s food and drink. If they looked healthy and fine, then he could keep them on the vegetables and water. It seemed reasonable enough and because God had granted Daniel favor in the eyes of his captors, the overseer went along with it.
“At the end of ten days their appearance seemed better and they were fatter than all the youths who had been eating the king’s choice food,” Daniel 1:15
Interesting, isn’t it? Scientifically, we know now why eating vegetables would have provided a healthier look to Daniel and his friends. This is certainly not God’s way of ordaining a vegan or vegetable only diet as we know from the Mosaic Law, the Israelites were allowed to eat certain meats though clearly, from the Creation to Noah, man was vegetarian. During the time of Noah – Genesis 9 – God commanded that man could eat anything, except blood. God eventually created the Jewish nation and the Mosaic Law, which prohibited Jews from eating certain meats (Leviticus 10:10, 11:4-7; Deuteronomy 14:7-8), though they were still allowed to eat some meats. This was altered after the resurrection of Jesus as we read in parts of the New Testament (Acts 11:8-9; Romans 14:14).
However, under the existing conditions of Nebuchadnezzar’s “choice” food, who really knows how healthy that food was to eat? It’s a bit like today with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) or the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) telling Americans what these agencies have declared to be healthy, yet it has been changed over the years numerous times. Now we’re being told that a low-to-no-fat diet is best. Unfortunately, doctors like William Davis, David Perlmutter, and Mark Hyman (among others) noting that our brains actually need fat to work well. To hear the government tell it, nearly all fat is bad for us. These aforementioned doctors and other healthcare professionals tell us that the proper fats (Omega 3) are necessarily for proper brain function. Without those fats, our brains starve. The problem is manifold and has more to do with all the preservatives and garbage worked into the processed foods that most Americans eat today, coupled with the fact that people (kids to old folks) lead much more sedentary lives than when I was a kid. The combination of garbage in our processed foods (high fructose corn syrup, fillers, preservatives, etc.), and lack of exercise is creating terrible health in millions of people. Simply being on a “low-fat” diet will accomplish nothing and in some cases, make things worse since it is becoming clear that our brains need fat to work properly.
Regarding Nebuchadnezzar’s food, it is doubtful that it was truly healthy, though it was probably very tasty. Of course, there’s a huge difference, isn’t there? Think of all the things you like the taste of and consider what the ingredients are in those things. You could probably do without them and gain in health.
In Daniel’s case (and his friends), they received proper nutrition from the vegetables they ate. This included the all-important enzymes that naturally occur in many raw foods, so that their bodies benefited. The enzymes break our foods down and allow far better nutritional absorption. We actually end up eating less because we don’t need as much since our body’s digestive systems are working better. Because of these truths, the appearances in Daniel and friends were reflected, and it was an easy choice for the overseer to allow them to continue their vegetable/water diet. That fact is noted in the next verse, Daniel 1:16.
“So the overseer continued to withhold their choice food and the wine they were to drink, and kept giving them vegetables.”
The overseer – even though he was not following Nebuchadnezzar’s instructions – felt no concern for his own safety because it was very clear that Daniel and his friends were not suffering negatively from the food they ate. In fact, they appeared to excel because of it, while the other men on the king’s diet did not.
As for me, I just wonder how quickly I would have grown tired of vegetables and water, like most of us would have. However, for Daniel, it was extremely important to obey God regardless of the results. God blessed them because of it.
“As for these four youths, God gave them knowledge and intelligence in every branch of literature and wisdom; Daniel even understood all kinds of visions and dreams,” Daniel 1:17.
Please don’t skim past the above information. Let’s break it down and unpack it. God blessed Daniel and friends because of their desire to obey God in the small things. God blessed them by…
- giving them knowledge and intelligence with respect to literature and wisdom, and
- Daniel himself gained the ability to understand all types of visions and dreams
This is huge! These men were God-given the knowledge and intelligence in “every branch” of literature and wisdom! Imagine that. They came to possess the ability to gather facts (knowledge) and through discernment and what became native ability, they could then take that knowledge and understand not only what it meant, but how best to apply it in various circumstances and situations (wisdom).
Let’s also note here that it becomes clear that God gave Daniel this particular ability because God had plans to use Daniel to bring hidden knowledge to us in what would become the twelve chapters of the book of Daniel. Without the ability to receive and discern visions and dreams, we would not have the book of Daniel. We need to comprehend that God gives this type of gift when He sees fit and for His purposes, not for ours.
Discernment is so lacking today among Christians. Too many tend to flit from this latest theological fad (usually connected with Eschatology or prophecy), to that fad, or to that one over there. Instead of studying the Bible for themselves, too many Christians read books about the Bible, attend conferences where other Christians excitedly talk about books they’ve written about the Bible, but those same Christians do not simply study the Bible for themselves.
I’m not saying it’s wrong to read books by Christians or to go to conferences any more than it is wrong to go to church or Bible studies. It’s certainly fine to do those things and in the case of attending church, that is really a must for Christians. The problem though is that too many Christians refuse to do the “hard lifting” of Scripture themselves and prefer to be spoon fed by other people; told what the Bible says, instead of seeking that knowledge themselves by studying God’s Word.
Because of this, we have come to a point in society where discernment – true discernment that comes from God – to not only rightly divide His Word, but understand how to apply it to our lives, is tragically at such a low point. Today’s Christian is more concerned with being “happy” and “content” and experiencing their “best life” now, etc., etc., blah, blah, blah. This is why so many Christians become so easily enamored with the latest prophecy book or conference. While they think, “Oh, the Lord is coming soon!” the truth of the matter is that every day brings us one day closer to His return and our marching orders never change. We should be all about fulfilling the Great Commission, not endeavoring to figure out which day the Lord’s returning or what the “signs” in the heavens mean. The Great Commission is something that does not depend upon any specific day or “times and seasons,” but should be undertaken by all Christians at all times. Instead, we focus on the latest and greatest theological fad. What a bunch of hogwash. Be a witness! Be a light! Be prepared to always give an answer for the hope that you have in Jesus! (cf. 1 Peter 3:15)
Daniel and his friends were concerned about obedience. They wanted to obey God. They were being held captive by a foreign government, a foreign nation, and a foreign people. Yet, it is clear that God worked among them in spite of the odds they faced. It started and ended with their desire to obey.
God rewarded them because of it but notice that He did not release them from their captivity. God simply made the best for them in spite of that captivity. We are, in essence, being held captive behind enemy lines. God has people here with us whom He wants saved. How will they know unless they are told? Tell them.
Daniel and his friends wanted to obey God above all things. Do you want to obey God? If you say “yes,” that means that you are willing to obey Jesus’ own commands regarding the Great Commission. Are you willing to tell people about Jesus even if it costs you something?
Are you willing to obey God regardless of the consequences? Lives hang in the balance.
Entry filed under: christianity, Emotional virtue, israel, Religious - Christian - End Times, Religious - Christian - Prophecy, Religious - Christian - Theology, salvation. Tags: daniel, daniel 1, nebuchadnezzar, shadrach meshach abed-nego.