Old narcissistic King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon in Old Testament times, was no believer in one God.
He worshipped a bunch of idols.
Among other ungodly acts, he ate and drank foods that our only God forbade His people, the Hebrews, to consume.
Thus, in our study of the book of Daniel, we aren’t surprised by what transpires in the first chapter.
There, the king encounters Daniel and three other young Jews of similarly strong faith.
They are, of course, Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego.
And they, along with Daniel, are determined to do things God’s way.
But the heathen king takes over Jerusalem and tries to continue a program designed to indoctrinate the bright, promising young ones among the nations he captures.
Nebuchadnezzar wants to turn Babylon into some kind of elite kingdom of super humans under his control.
One of the ways he tries to achieve the goal, too, involves feeding his chosen ones exclusively on his heathen diet.
With the takeover of Jerusalem, Daniel and his three compatriots seem prime targets for the effort.
But these young men won’t hear of it.
And through great faith and the help of God, they change the king’s plan for them and ultimately carry on as strong soldiers of our Lord.
As a struggling Christian, I often find some new inspiration in all of that.
And today, as I lie, newly arrived at 70, and still battling the side effects of an abnormal spinal condition, I’m focused most strongly on Daniel and the boys’ diet.
I’m most moved and humbled too.
That’s mainly because the diet of vegetables and water which Daniel, Shadrach Meshach and Abed-nego consume, clearly helps make and keep them healthy and strong.
In the Scriptures, it’s the Holy Spirit making the point.
Yet no matter how many times I’d read and studied that truth in the past, it never hit home as strongly as it has during my recent healing process.
My daughter – my drill sergeant in-home nurse and care-giver – who controls my movement and my food intake, keeps me on a diet similar to the one Daniel and his pals follow.
Vegetables and water; water and vegetables, sometimes seem the only items on my grown child’s menus.
But I can’t complain – I’d better not, I hear a voice in my head warning – because my new stricter diet clearly helps keep me feeling stronger even when I’m in pain.
It’s manna from God.
I love food – you all know that I do.
And I have noted before that I have made efforts to eat healthier.
Still, I’m humbled to admit that even with prayers and valiant efforts, I’m yet inconsistent in my healthy eating habits.
The temptation to fall back into old ways is sometimes too great.
However, the strength I’m drawing in this healing stint strongly buoys me.
It helps keep me believing that I can carry on in the struggle like Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego.
So as ever, pray for me brothers and sisters as I continue to pray for you.
“And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith” (Luke 17:5).
April 7, 2019