Archive for August 16th, 2007

Eat Your Vegetables

Thursday, August 16th, 2007

Today’s scripture: Daniel 1:8-17 (NRSV) (The Message)

As you read, consider: What might God be saying to me? Summarize your thoughts in a sentence or two.

My thoughts (David Zier):

When you were a kid, how many times did you hear, “Eat your vegetables?” I hated spinach, carrots, tomatoes, asparagus, okra, peas, and most of the rest. I used to think I would defile myself if I ate carrots! (Curiously, I loved brussels sprouts.)

Daniel has decided that he will not eat the rations of food from the King, and makes arrangements secretly with the palace master to only eat vegetables. It was important to Daniel that he not lose his identity as a Jew, and to be true to himself and to God even though he was in exile. Even though the palace master feared not obeying the king, he agreed to this as long as Daniel remained in good condition. The result was not only good health, but also knowledge and wisdom!

It would be easy to say that the lesson here is to eat a good diet, and we will be physically and mentally healthier. However, I think it goes deeper.

Even though we may know what is good for us, we sometimes make the wrong choices. This may be about food and drink, but it could also be wrong choices about money, sex, language, drugs, cigarettes, bitterness, selfishness — there’s no end to this list.

When we fill ourselves up with the kind of stuff that is not good for us, and not what God wants for us, our health can suffer, or even worse — our souls can grow farther away from God. Even when the temptation is great and we are weak, Daniel’s example of maintaining his identity in God during a difficult time in his life provides encouragement for us to seek God and do God’s will. Like Daniel, we too will be blessed with God’s treasures.

Thought for the day: Am I filling myself up with what is good for me?

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.

"Be still, and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10
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