Daily Devotional – I’m Normal.™ I AM Ministries
“To promote Godly living in a culture committed to destroying it”
Saturday, April 16, 2016
On Bread Alone
When King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon made his first siege of Jerusalem, he took the best of everything. He removed not only gold from the LORD’s temple, but the best of the inhabitants as well. Among these human resources were Daniel and his companions Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. These young men were of the house of Judah, David’s royal line, and were chosen on the basis of their exemplary physical and mental prowess.
Captives of a conquering king are typically subjected to prison, torture, or death, but this was not Nebuchadnezzar’s intent for Daniel and his friends. Wisely, the king recognized the potential of these young men and wished to further his kingdom by employing them to his advantage. Instead of starving the youths as most prisoners suffer, the king made available the best foods of the kingdom in order to prosper his investment in them. They were afforded the daily provision of the king’s meat, the wine he drank, and all other choice foods available to him.
What more could a prisoner want? The choice foods, the finest education, and the most luxurious living accommodations were theirs to enjoy. Instead of taking advantage of the auspicious circumstances, however, Daniel and the others refused to partake of the bounty that was proffered. From a worldly perspective, it would have been easy and politically correct to savor the choice foods with which Nebuchadnezzar tempted them. In his devotion, God’s servant Daniel was motivated by a higher calling and could not have enjoyed consuming the delicacies. He had no heart to drink the king’s wine or feast on the choice meats; instead he had a heart for things that brought him closer to God.
Daniel refused to defile himself with corrupt things or items considered wicked according to the Law. This included the succulent pork, shellfish, and other meats the king’s chef’s prepared in grand fashion. Moreover, some of these delicacies had been sacrificed to idols. Daniel knew it was much greater to avoid polluting himself with forbidden foods than to enjoy them and lose his fellowship with God.
Daniel succeeded in showing Nebuchadnezzar how to live a normal life for God. Moreover, he shows us how we, too, should fear more the loss of our righteous standing before God than cashing in on the fleeting, worldly pleasures that come our way, whether they be food, monetary reward, physical pleasure, or other temptation. Daniel knew Scripture and he walked the walk as well.
“Man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.” (Deuteronomy 8:3). Daniel had taken this passage of scripture to heart and refused to eat anything except vegetables and water. Despite the fears of his captors, Daniel and his friends were healthier and more nourished after the ten-day trial period than the other captives who had enjoyed the full measure of Nebuchadnezzar’s bounty.
Daniel’s superior physical state did not seem normal to the Babylonians. People have trouble believing that a restrictive diet actually contributes to the health and well-being of the body. Yet Daniel’s deprivation brought not only a physical increase, but a spiritual benefit as well. These attributes are a normal and natural consequence of temperance, a special blessing from God. Through Daniel, God shows us He has the power to make a little go a great way. It is normal for Him to make what appear to be deficits and disadvantages transform themselves into glorious abundances.
Daniel chose to live on bread and vegetables alone in obedience to God’s commands. God shows us how He rewards those who follow His normal ways, even when others consider us foolish. We all have the choice today to follow His ways and receive great blessing or to follow the ways of the world and receive less. Jesus Christ is our Bread of Life. Are you ready to be fully fed by the Bread of Life alone?
In His love and service,
A servant of Jesus Christ
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