Good Opportunities and Difficult Decisions
Daniel 1:1–2:16; 1 Thessalonians 2:1–3:5; Job 40:3–12
When Daniel is invited to dine at the king’s table—a great honor reserved for the favored (Dan 1:1–4)—he turns down the offer. Instead of eating food and wine fit for a king, Daniel and the other Israelites settle on a diet of vegetables and water (Dan 1:12).
Daniel’s decision seems to contradict human nature. When a good situation comes along (like being invited to eat at the royal table), we often jump at the chance. Yet in doing so, we may fail to consider the ramifications. Daniel knows that eating at the king’s table means compromising Yahweh’s commands against eating certain foods. So when he’s offered a great opportunity, he is bold enough to say no and to offer an alternative (Dan 1:10–14). Daniel knows that God will provide for those who love Him. He also knows that being in God’s will is more important than anything else, even if it means facing opposition.
Paul’s statement in 1 Thess 2:2 demonstrates that he understood this as well: “But after we had already suffered and been mistreated in Philippi … we had the courage in our God to speak to you the gospel of God amid much opposition.” Opposition did not deter Paul from doing what was right in God’s eyes, just as it didn’t prevent Daniel from keeping God’s commands.
When we’re faced with the promises of this world, how do we react? Do we boldly pursue money, fame, or power? Or do we deny these things for the sake of following God’s will? The purpose to which we’ve been called is too important to be set aside for things that will fade over time. We must be willing to face opposition boldly instead of pursuing what the world has to offer. Even when we have to depend on a miracle—as Daniel depended on God to keep him healthy when others were eating better food—we must make God’s will the priority. No matter how difficult it becomes, we have to seek God’s will. When we consider that our relationship with God is eternal, what matters is not the opinion of one king, but the opinion of the King of the universe.
What opportunities do you have that are not God’s will?
Taken from Connect the Testaments: A One-Year Daily Devotional with Bible Reading Plan.