Daniel 1: 5 As part of their assimilation into Babylonian court life, the king offered them a daily portion of food and wine from his own table. They were to be educated for three years before serving in the king’s court… 8 Although the king ate only the finest Babylonian fare, Daniel was determined not to violate God’s law and defile himself by eating the food and drinking the wine that came from the king’s table.
Daniel and his friends have been forcibly exiled from Judah to the land of Babylon. They are undergoing three years of training so that the Babylonians can use them as government administrators. Remember these young men are in their upper teens, separated from family in a foreign land with a different language. They seem to accept the change of geography and their names, but they run into a problem with the food.
The food that the king would have eaten and shared with these trainees would have been the finest Babylon had to offer. Why would Daniel see this food as able to defile him before God? Scripture doesn’t really tell us. Perhaps pork, an unclean meat for Jews, was a large part of the diet. The food would have not been prepared in a kosher manner. Often meat and wine would have been offered as sacrifices to their idols. If Daniel accepted this food he may have, through his actions, showed that he accepted the king’s belief. Vegetables and grains were not often used as sacrifices to idols and they would have had a better chance of being kosher. Perhaps Daniel may just have needed a daily reminder that he belonged to God and a special diet could have helped with that.
What challenges do we today face as we follow God? We may be criticized for our pro-life stance or our political views. We may be called foolish for saying that God is responsible for creation and not evolution. There are a myriad of ways that the enemy can slander and make fun of believers. This faith journey is often more like a battle than a cake walk. Don’t be surprised when the challenges come.
 The Voice Bible Copyright © 2012 Thomas Nelson, Inc. The Voice™ translation © 2012 Ecclesia Bible Society