King Nebuchadnezzar could change their names, but he could not change their hearts. Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego found themselves immersed in a system of false gods and idol worship. And they faced heavy-duty temptation.
They had the finest education at the most prestigious school. They had access to the most delicious foods and wines in the entire world. But the king did not consider this fact: they had character.
He thought they would cave in and do what everyone else did. But these were young men of principle, and they didn’t want to eat at the king’s table. The Bible says that “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).
We don’t know exactly why Daniel refused to eat from the king’s table. I’m sure the food would have been delicious and very rich. But I think Daniel was standing on principle because there was something spiritual happening. I’ll take an educated guess that probably these foods were offered to false gods.
Daniel didn’t want to do anything that would hinder his fellowship with God. And here was the real temptation. It wasn’t just the food. This was the way to climb the ladder in Babylon. It would be like saying no when the boss asks you out for lunch. For whatever reason, Daniel and his friends would not compromise.
It’s the gray areas that ultimately will lead us to the black-and-white areas. Maybe the Lord has shown you some area of your life in which you have compromised spiritually.
Often it’s the little things that bring us down, not the outright sins. It’s the little things that ultimately lead to the big things.