I have two main types of sin in my life. One is the white-knuckle kind of sin that requires gritting my teeth through every second of the temptation, and still, I often fall victim to it in the end. Because if I’m honest, deep down I don’t want to not do this type of sin.
The other type of sin is the kind I sort of breeze by, compared to the white-knuckle version. This is the kind of sin I hate most. I’ve been there, done that! I know what it does to my relationship with God, and I simply don’t want it this time. God has entered my heart on this issue and given me motive to obey. I have a conviction stronger than my own resolve—I have godly determination.
This is what Daniel had when King Nebuchadnezzar ordered him to eat a diet that went against Jewish law, including non-Kosher meats and wine that was used as an offering to Babylonian gods.
Scripture says, “Daniel determined that he would not defile himself” (Daniel 1:8). So he asked a guard watching over him and his three pals to feed them vegetables and water instead, and the guard agreed. After only ten days, it was apparent that Daniel and his friends were stronger and in better shape than the men who had fed on the king’s rich diet.
Let’s not get side-tracked here. These verses in scripture are not a diet plan for you. They are not an argument for vegetarianism. They are much richer than that. So before you clean out your fridge, let’s feed off of some deeper truth found here.
Verse eight says Daniel was “determined.” The translation of “determined” in this context means “set upon his heart.” This was not a white-knuckle resolve. This determination of Daniel’s was a godly conviction. It was not Daniel’s remarkable willpower (I mean, I would take a burger over vegetables any day) that allowed him to stand strong; it was God working in him and through him.
This is good news for us. I think we can often look at the story of Daniel and compare ourselves to him. Wow, I would never be brave enough to stand up for my convictions like that. I wish I could be as strong as he was. Then we hang our heads and sulk away.
But Daniel is not the point of the book of Daniel. Look at verse nine: “God had granted Daniel favor and compassion from the guard.”
Who granted Daniel favor and compassion from the guard? God. God did!
And that is the point. God had a plan that he accomplished through his faithful servant Daniel. Because of God, Daniel remained true to his faith and was set apart in the kingdom, even in captivity.
I don’t think Daniel would have ever survived Babylon if he had tried to white-knuckle his way through those years. And I don’t think our souls can survive if we’re trying to white-knuckle our way through own lives. Just as Daniel lived, so do we: by God’s strength, by God’s grace and for God’s plan.