Daniel and his three friends were Hebrews living in a foreign land, Babylon. Endowed by the Almighty God with exceptional “aptitude for learning”, they were hand-picked to serve in the king’s court. They were to be taught “the language and literature of the Babylonians” (Daniel 1:4). With this honor came certain privileges, such as to eat from the king’s table.
But Daniel and his friends humbly rejected this privilege because it would cause them to be “defiled”. In my other post “Did Daniel fast or not?“, I posited that Daniel did not actually fast but rather abstained from food that was considered “unclean” according to the Law of Moses. And to partake of them would be to trespass the precepts of God; something that Daniel and his friends were not prepared to do.
God honored the decision of Daniel and his friends. He caused them to look “healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food” (verse 15).
This story is a classic example (or should be a classic example) of what it means to be IN the world and not OF the world.
Daniel could have rationalized that it was God’s blessing that placed him in that position of honor. And so, then all the benefits and privileges that come with it must be part of God’s blessing too. Daniel could have thought this way, but thankfully he didn’t. God may have blessed Daniel, but Daniel still had the responsibility of walking in obedience to God’s precepts and commandments daily. Any act of disobedience would result in the cessation of the blessing.