Daniel had been selected to be trained for a position of importance in Nebuchadnezzar’s kingdom. He had been chosen to “stand in the king’s palace” (Dan. 1:4).
He was surrounded with wealth and beauty almost beyond comprehension.
The inhabitants of Nebuchadnezzar’s palace could satisfy every desire of the fallen heart. The very name “Babylon” was a byword for sensual pleasure.
“We can picture him alone in his room, that first night there in Babylon. He is overwhelmed with impressions. The grandeur and splendor of that capital city, paganism on every hand. He and his friends had been chosen by the king. Their obvious intelligence, high rank, and attractive persons had secured for them impressive prospects. They were to be groomed for high office. The world lay at their feet. Daniel was to go to school in Babylon, to be trained for an important position in the administration. He was to mix with the intelligentsia, the nobility, the social elite of Babylon--at a price. The price was the compromise of his convictions” (John Phillips, commentary on Psalm 119).
Daniel was living the reality of which most young men can only dream. He was living in the palace of the greatest king on earth. He was far from home. His parents were probably dead. He was under no spiritual authority.
A pragmatist would have advised him to keep his mouth shut and do as he was told and learn the ways of Babylon.
A New Evangelical would have advised him to honor the moral “essentials” of God’s Word but not to worry about the “non-essentials” such as the dietary laws.
But he honored God and His Word above all things.
“Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank” (Dan. 1:8).
We can be sure that Daniel has never regretted that decision!
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