THE DANIEL DIET.
"Welcome to Babylon Today, the daily magazine of news, culture, and entertainment for the entire Babylonian Empire!" A blonde female announcer sits in front of a back-drop of a painted sunrise, smiling through thick makeup.
"Our first guest today," the woman says, "is the creator of the popular 'Daniel Diet,' a new health craze that is sweeping the empire." She turns in her seat, and the camera angle widens to show a young man, dressed in finely embroidered robes, sitting next to her. "Tell us," she says, "how this new diet craze came about."
He shrugs and squints against the bright studio lights. "I, uh, never planned to start any diet craze," he says. "I was just training for the service of the king-"
"Of our king, the mighty Nebuchadnezzar may he live forever!" the woman says, smiling broadly and gazing nervously at the camera.
"Uh, yeah," Daniel answers. "Anyway, when we started training, we were given really big meals with lots of meat and fat and wine and stuff. But, see, I'm Jewish, and Jews have kinda strict requirements about what we eat. To make a long story short, I asked the official in charge of our training for permission to eat healthy things."
"You refused the king's food?" the woman asks. "Weren't you afraid?"
Daniel nods and shrugs. "Yeah, I guess so. But I'd already made up my mind not to defile myself." He turns and faces the camera. "You see, it's a lot easier to do the right thing when you make up your mind ahead of time. I decided when I was first brought to this country that I would not forget my God and the commands he has given. When I first started training for the king's service, I knew the food would be a problem. So I decided ahead of time what I would do when temptation came. That made it easier to send the food back and ask for vegetables and water."
"You-you sent food back to the king's kitchen?" the woman says, staring at Daniel as if he had just sprouted a second head. She clears her throat and giggles nervously. "Uh, th-thank you for t-telling us your story. . . . Uh, we'll be right back after these messages."
REFLECT: For the whole story of "the Daniel Diet," look again at Daniel 1:3-16. If you had been in that situation, how would you have reacted? What made Daniel's choice to do the right thing (as a Jew) and stand up to the king a little easier? How have you made up your mind to avoid wrong choices?
ACT: Decide now that you will do the right thing when you are faced with temptations. Be as specific as you can in completing the following sentence:
"When I am tempted to... , I will..."
PRAY: Let the words of Psalm 119:12 (NIV) be your prayer: "My heart is set on keeping your decrees to the very end."