Daniel determined that he would not defile himself with the king’s food or with the wine he drank. So he asked permission from the chief official not to defile himself. Daniel 1:8 HCSB
All of God’s laws and restrictions are designed to benefit us rather than to keep us from having fun and enjoying life. Jesus said, “I have come that you might have life and have it more abundantly.” God’s guidelines are always best. The Jewish dietary laws were designed to set God’s people apart from the pagan world. These laws were simple: animals that had cleft hooves and chewed the cud were suitable for food. Only birds that did not eat carrion (decaying flesh) or carry communicable diseases were approved for eating. Also, only fish that had fins and scales could be eaten. Scavenger birds and fish were not considered clean. Meat that had been offered as a sacrifice to a pagan idol was considered unclean. There are differing opinions on God’s purpose for the laws and regulations. Some believe that God’s purpose was to provide healthy foods, while others believe that it was to keep the Jewish people from eating animals used in pagan worship and rituals. For more information
on the Jewish dietary laws, read Leviticus 3:17; 7:26; 17:10-14 and 19:26.
Daniel did not want to defile himself by disobeying God and eating items that He had established as being unclean. Daniel was in exile under the Babylonian rule. It would have been much easier to go along with the crowd and eat the king’s food, but Daniel was willing to take a stand and go against the officials by requesting a different diet.
Challenge: How many times do we defile ourselves by giving into peer pressure and disobeying God? Would you be willing to take a stand and go against popular opinion knowing that what you are doing may cause others to reject you? Pray for strength to do whatever is right and keeps you from defiling yourself.