I think it is safe to say that most of us have a battle with something we are failing to win in our own strength. It is difficult to faithfully wait out God to come to our aid, so we often decide to help Him out with our own ideas and schemes. As a good friend once asked me when I tried this, “How did that work out for you?” Pretty poorly, to be honest.
One speaker I heard had some good advice on the topic:
“If you are willing to choose God’s way, God will make a way.” B Gallatin
The young, future-prophet Daniel was in this type of predicament. He and his friends were carried off against their will from Jerusalem to Babylon as part of a mass deportation by King Nebuchadnezzar. But unlike the vast majority of exiles, Daniel’s group was hand-picked to live in the king’s palace to be trained and educated for leadership in their new home. They were definitely getting a first-class treatment in a situation that was otherwise anything but.
Realizing their exclusive opportunity, the obvious choice was to not make any waves or raise any objections that might end their special treatment.
But Daniel and his friends had a deep faith in God and first and foremost wanted to walk in a right relationship with Him. For a young Jewish person in Daniel’s time, this meant keeping a kosher diet in accordance with the law of Moses. The luxurious food from Nebuchadnezzar’s table that was to be put before them came into direct conflict with the will of the Lord for them.
Rather than compromise to get along, Daniel followed his conscience and did the risky thing: speak up.
8 But Daniel made up his mind that he would not defile himself with the king’s choice food or with the wine which he drank; so he sought permission from the commander of the officials that he might not defile himself. Daniel 1:8 (NASB)
Life offers no shortage of temptations to compromise with God’s will. Sometimes there are gray areas where we are not sure exactly what God’s will is for us. Other times, we know exactly what it is, but are tempted to just put it out of our minds and move forward anyway. For Daniel, it was clear what he needed to do, and he bravely declined the temptation to ignore God’s wishes. Because of his faithfulness, God granted Daniel favor with his commander and overseer. But the overseer then had some concerns of his own.
9 Now God granted Daniel favor and compassion in the sight of the commander of the officials.
10 The commander of the officials said to Daniel, “I am afraid of my lord the king, who has allotted your food and your drink; for why should he see your faces looking gaunt in comparison to the youths who are your own age? Then you would make me forfeit my head to the king.” Daniel 1:9-10 (NASB)
Now the overseer of the commander was also at risk. If Daniel ever had an excuse to back out of what he knew to be right, this was his chance. But he would not.
11 But Daniel said to the overseer whom the commander of the officials had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, 12 “Please put your servants to the test for ten days, and let us be given some vegetables to eat and water to drink. 13 Then let our appearance be examined in your presence and the appearance of the youths who are eating the king’s choice food; and deal with your servants according to what you see.”
14 So he listened to them in this matter, and put them to the test for ten days. 15 And 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. 16 So the overseer continued to withhold their choice food and the wine they were to drink, and kept giving them vegetables. Daniel 1:11-16 (NASB)
God rewarded the faithfulness of Daniel and his friends by providing for them (and their overseer) in an unexpected way. If we are willing to do things God’s way, He will never let us down. Things may not happen as quickly as we would like to ease our concerns, but if we will be faithful, He will be too. As someone has said:
God is never too late, but rarely early. Anonymous
The New Testament makes clear that Christians are free to enjoy all foods, but many Jesus- (Jeshua-) worshippers of Jewish descent continue to follow kosher dietary laws to honor their original calling.
What ongoing battle in your life has a hold over your thoughts and emotions? Most of us have something negative going on that is beyond our ability to control.
Let us take this moment to turn them over to God and ask Him to help us honor and wait upon Him rather than to do something reactionary and foolish that will only end up making things worse.
Lord, we are powerless over certain negative things in our lives that are coming against us. We ask You to step in and help resolve these situations. Grant us Your peace and serenity by the power of the Holy Spirit as we wait for Your action. Help us to resist the temptation to take things into our own hands. We ask this in Jesus’ name, Amen.