March 28 I Thursday
“The king talked with them, and he found none equal to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah; so they entered the king’s service.” —Daniel 1:19
When Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, the chief official would have happily complied, but he said to 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 of your age? The king would then have my head because of you” (Daniel 1:10). Daniel then suggested a test. He asked that he and his friends be served only vegetables and water and that after 10 days, their health be compared with the rest of the young men in training. When these 10 days were over, Daniel and his friends were the healthiest and best nourished of the bunch. When the guard in charge of them saw this, he took away the royal food and continued to give them only vegetables.
This protest was not a campaign designed to inspire disunity or uproar. Daniel and his friends did not separate themselves from the education system of Babylon or critique it from the outside. Instead, they protested as participants within the system. They spoke tactfully and carefully with those in charge. They learned the
language and history of Babylon, and when God caused them to excel, they used their newfound wisdom to transform Babylon from within.
Rather than becoming intoxicated by Babylon, God worked through the resolve of Daniel and his friends to make them a redemptive force to Babylon. They maintained their resolve even when it meant being thrown into a fiery furnace and a lion’s den. God did not prepare Daniel and his friends with promises that He would save them, though He did, if they remained faithful. They merely predetermined not to defile themselves, whatever the outcome. And because of this resolve, we read that both King Nebuchadnezzar and King Darius came to experience varying degrees of belief in God.
Sometimes as Christians we are concerned with what is happening in our culture. Some parents worry about what their kids are learning in school and how it will transform them. In some cases, we might be tempted to distance ourselves from these worldviews different with our own, but Jesus calls believers the salt and light of the world. We are not to retreat from culture but to be influencers of it in our neighbourhoods, schools and workplaces. Taking the message of Christ to our culture will test our resolve, but He who has placed us here as missionaries to our culture will also empower us by His Spirit to share Him and His transformative power within that culture.
Prayer: Sovereign Lord, You call us to transform culture, not to run from it. Help me to stand firm in Your truth, and equip me to be a transformer of culture here and now.