But Daniel was determined not to defile himself by eating the food and wine given to them by the king. He asked the chief of staff for permission not to eat these unacceptable foods.
-Daniel 1:8 (NLT)
As you begin the book of Daniel, we find the author living in captivity in a foreign land. The Jewish people had been exiled to Babylon, and the brightest men had been chosen to be part of a government training program, Daniel included. These men were given new Babylonian names and treated to the finest food and drink. But Daniel would have nothing of it. He demanded to eat something else rather than defile himself with royal dining.
So what was wrong with the king’s food and wine? Some guess it might have not been kosher (allowed by Jewish law). Others say that maybe Daniel was fearful that the food had previously been offered to the false Babylonian gods. And those both might be part of the equation.
But I also can’t help but wonder if Daniel didn’t want to succumb to the pressure and be completely assimilated into the Babylonian lifestyle. As a Jewish man held captive in Babylon but yet being treated like royalty, it would have be easy for him to be engulfed by the local culture. Memories of who he was in Judah could quickly be replaced with his new self in Babylon. Maintaining his true, God-given identity would be difficult. Essentially, if Daniel forgot where he came from, the Babylonians win.
I promise you this: the devil would love nothing more than for you to forget where you came from as well. I’m sure he would be ecstatic for you to forget what God has done and how he’s transformed you… To forget what you believe in and what you’re convicted of… To forget your new identity in Christ as a new creation.
And one of the devil’s best tactics to accomplish this mistaken identity is by using things that aren’t necessarily wrong, but certainly not you. Things that aren’t by definition sinful, but just Babylonian.
What are the “king’s food” being offered today? It could be a plethora of things… The internet, movies, music, sports, video games, shopping. Those aren’t really bad stuff, right? But is it exactly who you want to be either?
So don’t forget who you are. Don’t forget who God is making you into. Don’t get thoroughly immersed in the culture. Don’t forget what’s right and what’s wrong. Don’t forget where you came from.
No matter what you are told otherwise… You are not Babylonian.