Friday, October 18, 2013

Daniel 1: Being Godly in Ungodly Places

Dan 1:8-20 But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way. Now God had caused the official to show favor and sympathy to Daniel, but the official told 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 your age? The king would then have my head because of you." Daniel then said to the guard whom the chief official had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, "Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink.  Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food, and treat your servants in accordance with what you see." So he agreed to this and tested them for ten days. At the end of the ten days they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food. So the guard took away their choice food and the wine they were to drink and gave them vegetables instead. To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds. At the end of the time set by the king to bring them in, the chief official presented them to Nebuchadnezzar.  The king talked with them, and he found none equal to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah; so they entered the king's service. In every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king questioned them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in his whole kingdom.

Daniel and his four friends are examples of true believers who refuse to compromise their faith in order to climb the ladder of promotion and success. Though they were required to eat royal food and wine as part of their training and preparation for the king's service, they refused to eat what was assigned from the king's kitchen because the food contains meats that were considered unclean. Instead of just refusing the royal portion, and thus creating problem for the chief official, they offered a win-win solution by asking to be put on vegetables diet with plain water for ten days. At the end of ten days, they actually looked healthier and better nourished than the rest in the class.

When we are committed to obey God's commands no matter what unethical pressures we may get from the ungodly environment where we work, we should offer better solutions that will not undermine the the company mission and objectives. Like Daniel and his three friends, they did not just raise a problem but provide an alternative solution that was able to achieve the objective of the royal diet, viz., a healthy countenance.

When we have God's favour because we are committed to honour Him, He will grant us wisdom to come up with godly alternatives to ungodly and unethical ones being forced upon us. This is especially so for those who us who are now in the marketplace of commercial business. The temptations to take unethical shortcuts are always there. But God wants us to abide by His laws and not make compromises to save ourselves from trouble. Divine favour means divine wisdom to do what is right, not what is expedient.

Father, may Your Spirit grant us daily the wisdom and revelation to offer godly alternatives that will achieve our goals without compromising our ethical principles. Amen. 

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