READ : Daniel 1:8-21
Daniel would not defile himself . . . (v. 8)
Daniel knows that God’s law—his rules for life—are for our good, and that God means what he says. Now he has to put this into practice. Daniel is being “fattened up” with the rich food they eat at court. But Daniel has a problem. The delicacies of the king’s table included certain foods that God said were not to be eaten. Must Daniel only eat what God has commanded? Should he “go with the flow”? Did it even matter? Daniel definitely thinks so, and acts on what he thinks.
Daniel and his people believed that what went into your mouth could defile you. Jesus turned it the right way round when he said, “It is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but it is what comes out of the mouth that defiles” (Matthew 15:10). “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matthew 12:34).
Daniel knew that it would be difficult, and could even be dangerous, to obey God in a hostile environment. But he did not dare defile himself by what he let into his mouth. For us the challenge is to be aware of what comes out of our mouths, so that our words do not defile either ourselves or others.
“Set a guard over my mouth, O Lord; keep watch over . . . my lips” (Psalm 141:3).