Hananiah pulled his chair up to the table. “So, what do you guys think of our accommodations so far?”
Mishael sat next to him. “We have better arrangements than I thought we’d have. I pictured us as slave laborers, or something.”
Azariah looked down the table. “I hope they feed as well as they’ve been treating us so far.”
The plates of food were brought out and sat in front of the young men chosen as the best of the best from the captives of Judah.
Daniel looked at the plates of meat and vegetables. “Excuse me, what is this meat?”
The server leaned over the table. “You have the camel. Your friends have the finest pork in all of Babylon. And your very fortunate friend has a desert mandrake. These are all from the king’s delicacies as is the wine.” The server walked away.
Daniel pushed his plate away and sat back. “We can’t eat these. They’re not kosher.”
Jacob sliced a piece of meat and ate it. “Look, it’s not poison. It tastes pretty good, actually. What’s so bad about it anyway?”
Daniel looked at him. “Camels chew their cud, but they don’t have a split hoof. Yahweh’s word forbids us to eat it.”
Mishael pointed at his plate. “Pigs have a split hoof, but they don’t chew their cud. So, its off-limits to Jews.”
Azariah pushed his plate away and frowned. “If I learn what this is I’m sure I won’t want to eat it.”
Jacob grabbed the plate. “You’re so secluded. Desert mandrake is a private part of a camel. It’s supposed to be an aphrodisiac. If you aren’t going to eat it I will.”
Ashpenaz walked around inspecting his prize captives. He stopped when he saw the four teens not eating. “Is there something wrong with your food?”
Daniel stood. “If it please my lord, our God doesn’t allow us to eat this meat. Is there anyway we can get some goat, or lamb, instead?”
Ashpenaz walked up to Daniel. “You know I like you, Belteshazzar, but, what you’re asking is unreasonable. Nebuchadnezzar specifically laid out this meal for this group. You’ve been hand-picked to learn our culture so you can serve the king directly. He insists that you share in his delicacies. If I feed you less than the others and you look worse than them he’ll cut off my head and feed it to you. I’m sure. You must now become Babylonian and assimilate into our culture. Enjoy your meal.” Ashpenaz walked away.
Mishael picked a carrot off his plate and crunched into it. The server came around filling everyone else’s cups.
Daniel got the attention of the attendant in charge of their group. “I’ve come up with an idea that I think will be workable here. Feed the four of us only vegetables and water for ten days. After the ten days if we look worse than the others you can do to us as you see fit. Either way we’re not eating this meat or drinking this wine. I don’t care who made the menu.”
The attendant looked at the four young men, then, at the others finishing their meals. “If you guys are going to starve yourselves anyway what have I got to lose? Eat what you can off your plates and give your meat to those around you. I’ll give you vegetables and water for the next ten days as you request. May your God show you mercy when the king’s men find out about this.”
The results are recorded in the last half of the first chapter of the book of Daniel. Not only did the four teens look better than their counterparts at the end of the week and a half, but, they also tested smarter than all of them at the end of the three years of study. God honored their voracity for standing up for Him by placing them in high places of the new government they now found themselves in.
I’m sure if we found some politicians willing to take such a stance today they’d surprise everybody with the number of votes they’d receive.
The easy road for Daniel and his friends would have been to simply go with the flow of events and do as their captors told them to do. Everybody else did.
God often has a stand-off willing to be a caste-off of their society to show how He honors those He chooses. The spine these young men grew that day gave them the will to take more stands for God later in their lives.
They chose to be thermostats not thermometers. Thermometers merely tell us what the temperature is around us. They don’t do anything to effect a change.
Thermostats set the temperature of the setting they’re in. They don’t simply go with the flow in an effort to fit in. They make a difference by their influence. Even though they’re small they have a huge impact on those around them.
I dare you to make a difference for God. Be willing to do what you know pleases God instead of your peers. Don’t give in to the pressure to have sex, in any form, just because ‘everybody’ else is doing it. Others will look up to you for taking that stand they wish they would have.
Before long others will gather around you. Others who want to be known as one who won’t follow the crowd that leads to Dead End Street.
By not following the crowd you’ll become a leader. Don’t let that scare you. God honors leaders willing to take a stand for Him. He’ll equip you for whatever He has planned for you and those who choose to follow you.
Another from your group may become the one God uses to take that stand in the political arena. You can boost them along by supporting them in some way, even if it’s prayer.
Prayer is one of God’s favorite methods of being a thermostat.
Be God’s thermostat, today.
I’ll see you later. Wade