Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Good Eatin'

Glad you’re back! Let’s keep moving. Daniel 1

Remembering yesterday, let’s go to the Word humbly and ready to learn some great stuff.

Look at Daniel 1:3-5.

Daniel and his friends are in the king’s court now, and he and his boys show some pretty incredible characteristics. So much so, that they are noticed by the top of the tippy top in the chain of command. They were strapping young men who belonged to the higher-ups of the Israelite people and they were just stepping into the ride of their lives.

In verse 5, the king wanted these boys looking good so he gave them the king’s food. Problem was, this food was used to worship idols, something Daniel was not willing to eat. It says in verse 8, “But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine (I wouldn’t have gone that far…) and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way.”

They asked for a vegetarian diet. For just ten days they wanted nothing but veggies and water. And, wouldn’t you know it, at the end of the ten days “they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food.”

I wonder if this means we should go vegetarian? I don’t know. Not willing to say it’s a proof text for it! And besides, I don’t do very good vegetarian!

So let’s back up. King Nebby had in mind what he thought would be best for his new groupies. Daniel, however, knew this was not the best. Even though, you and I wouldn’t say that all that food was bad it simply was not the best for Daniel. That food represented everything he wasn’t, and he was not going to be swayed by it.

Let me say this, not everything the world offers us is wicked and evil. But, if we do not know how to discern the world’s good from our Father’s best, we will get fat on the wrong thing.

For example, I like Dr. Phil. I might no always agree with him, but for the most part I give him a whoop-whoop when he’s on the right track. Now, too much Dr. Phil and I start to act and think like him. Thankfully, I don’t look like him.

He’s not necessarily evil and wrong, but it’s not the best for me as a follower of Christ. I’m getting fat on Dr. Phil and not the Word of God.

If you are reading or watching more self-help entertainment than you are studying the Word of God, you are feasting and training on the world’s provisions. You have become obedient to the world’s standards.

Just as King Nebby had a vision for these men, so did God. And the same is true for us.
Our society wants to tell us what is best and right for us to have a strong, independent life. It even sounds good! But, our God demands a higher standard; a life dependent upon Him and Him alone.

Our King has assigned us a daily portion of food and wine from His table. He calls us to feast with Him.

But, we have to chose to do so.

Daniel, in verse 8, said he chose not to defile himself. The King James Version says that Daniel “purposed in his heart” for the word chose.

I looked it up:
Purposed: to put, place, set, appoint, make; to put, set, lay, put or lay upon,

But this is the one I want us to bury in our hearts: lay (violent) upon

We have to have a sense of laying violently our hands upon the things of God and refusing the “feasts” of the world. What are some of these “feasts”?
-be skinny to feel good
-breathe right to relieve stress
-take a drug for everything
-read self-help books
-feel-good about yourself workshops

I don’t even think these things are bad, but are they the BEST? Or can we use them coupled with the authority of God over our lives. Do they come second to what God ahs already provided for us in Christ? Have we relied too much on the things of the world to relieve our stress, calm our nerves, provide for our sanity, and tell us we’re valuable? How much do we eat of the world and not the Word?

I’m just posing some questions for all of us. What does it look like in the end to eat of that which God assigns?

Here’s a clue: Daniel 1:17 “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.” 1:20 “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.”

We too will be giving wisdom and understanding- James 1:5
We too will have knowledge – Colossians 2:3
We too will have discernment – Philippians 1:9-10
We too will have influence – Ephesians 3:10

The list goes on and on! We will be eternally affected by feasting on God’s Word, His provision and His standards.

This is a diet you can really get fat on and not feel guilty about!


Kim Heinecke said...

Getting fat on the wrong thing...perfect analogy.

Thanks for your wisdom in sharing this stuff.

I'm off to the gym. but I'm telling you it's for my heart..for my HEART I say!

Anonymous said...

but how much easier does it seem to turn to a step by step guide to get us through our problem, something that's tried and true (i mean you can read it in the advertisements, so it must be so)to "become obedient to the world’s standards" i mean the bar isn't set all that high and if it's good enough for them, then, well...

it seems so much more difficult, at least initially, to step out in faith, to trust God, to let him take control (oh, how i love to be in control.) to remember we're supposed to be set apart, in the world but not of it.

Anonymous said...

Thanks...great analogy. Puts lots of things in a different light.
Gosh, I know you just started yesterday but it feels I am already behind!

Chelsey said...

Yes! And unfortunately, the world has so infiltrated Christianity that TRUTH has become blurred. And where we think we are standing so far from that "line", we've actually crossed it and not even realized it until we are knee deep into the "feasts".

Allyson said...

I love "not everything the world offers us is wicked and evil. But, if we do not know how to discern the world’s good from our Father’s best, we will get fat on the wrong thing." That is good stuff.
You know, not just the worldly self help stuff, but even great Christian authors. Many times I find myself running to Mardel for a great book about how to raise my teen, when really I just need to be in the Word and pray what God lays on my heart. I don't really need a book about praying for my teen. Does that make sense? Yes, I understand that we are to seek wise counsel-much like this blog. I love it and I still read my Power of a Praying Parent book, but when those become the ONLY thing I'm doing, I'm probably not where I need to be. Thanks Natalie

Natalie Witcher said...

Allyson, I've done the same thing! There is plenty of good, Godly counsel out there, I just have to be sure I am feasting on the Word more than those couselors. That's how they'd want it anyway!

Theresa said...

You are teaching me good. :) Thanks. I love your outlook and how you put things.