Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

Do We Defile Ourselves?

Daniel 1:8-9

But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way.

IMG_0301OK – who is trying to eat a healthy diet these days?  It is not easy – that is a fact jack!  I mean all the good things in life – like ice cream – chips – soda – bacon – Big Macs – pizza – and more – are on someone’s DO NOT EAT list!  Some plans allow you to eat loads of meat – others loads of vegetables – others say you can eat carbs – others say no carbs at all or very little.  Some plans say you will lose weight quickly – if you buy their pre-fabricated and packaged foods or drink their shakes or take their pills.  Trying to eat healthy is not easy – I am trying it right now – a large portion of broccoli and grilled chicken with water to wash it down just doesn’t sound too appetizing.

The story today’s passage comes from is found in the start of the book of Daniel.  Here it is in partial context.  Daniel 1:1-14 – 1 In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. 2 And the Lord delivered Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, along with some of the articles from the temple of God. These he carried off to the temple of his god in Babylonia and put in the treasure house of his god. 3 Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, chief of his court officials, to bring in some of the Israelites from the royal family and the nobility— 4 young men without any physical defect, handsome, showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well informed, quick to understand, and qualified to serve in the king’s palace. He was to teach them the language and literature of the Babylonians.  5 The king assigned them a daily amount of food and wine from the king’s table. They were to be trained for three years, and after that they were to enter the king’s service. 6 Among these were some from Judah: Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. 7 The chief official gave them new names: to Daniel, the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abednego. 8 But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way. 9 Now God had caused the official to show favor and sympathy to Daniel, 10 but the official told Daniel, “I am afraid of my lord the king, who has assigned your food and drink. Why should he see you looking worse than the other young men your age? The king would then have my head because of you.” 11 Daniel then said to the guard whom the chief official had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, 12 “Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. 13 Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food, and treat your servants in accordance with what you see.” 14 So he agreed to this and tested them for ten days.

bibleDaniel wanted to be faithful to God.  He did not want to defile himself with any unclean food.  He was willing to go to great lengths to keep from defiling himself – even the threat of death would not deter him (see some of the other stories in the book of Daniel).

What are we willing to do to not defile ourselves?  Not just with eating – but what about what we look at on the computer screen or the TV?  What about our language and the jokes we tell or listen to at work or elsewhere?  How about what we eat or drink?  Some would say that taking a drink is not sinful – but drunkenness surely is and most all people who have taken a drink have been impaired – drunk – at one time or the other.  One does not have to be in the ditch to be drunk dear readers – anything that impairs our judgment or changes our behavior would be considered drunk or under the influence.

What are we willing to do to keep from defiling ourselves?  How faithful are we willing to be to God and His commands in our lives?  How hard do we run from sin and run toward godliness?  Daniel’s example would be a good one to follow dear readers.  What do you think?

I am starting to pray now for General Conference 2016 – as delegates of the United Methodist Church gather to determine our course for the next 4 years and beyond.  I pray that the Holy Spirit will guide the discussions and the votes on all issues before them and that the church will continue to stand for Biblical and moral values – even when the culture around us fails to do so.  Who will pray with me?

I am also praying that we will not defile ourselves in any way – but that we will cling to God’s Word and the leading of the Holy Spirit – in all ways.  Stand – even when others around you will not.  Be counted among those who will be faithful to God’s Word and truth.

Just something to think about today as you go on your way.

July 14, 2015 - Posted by | Community, Daily Devotion, Daily Prayer, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Theology | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. We would do well to daily check whether we are aligning well with God’s purposes. Do our eyes seek out the Bible or worldly media? Do our ears bend toward the off color joke or raunchy lyrics or godly counsel and wisdom? Do we let our taste-buds and nostrils crave the junk foods over healthy foods which guard our health? Do we wag our tongues to criticize or to encourage and support? Do we focus our thoughts on the negative or the positive? Are we using our time, talent, and treasure to support worldly pleasures or the advancement of God’s purpose and mission?


    Comment by Favorite Son | July 14, 2015 | Reply

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