Daniel prospered because He was fed by God rather than the world.
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Read Daniel 1
Listen to passage & devotional:
Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 79
Q. Why then does Christ call
the bread his body
and the cup his blood,
or the new covenant in his blood?
(Paul uses the words,
a participation in Christ’s
body and blood.)
A. Christ has good reason for these words.
He wants to teach us that
as bread and wine nourish
our temporal life,
so too his crucified body
and poured-out blood
truly nourish our souls for eternal life.
But more important, he wants to assure us,
by this visible sign and pledge,
that we, through the Holy Spirit’s work,
share in his true body and blood
as surely as our mouths receive
these holy signs in his remembrance,
and that all of his suffering and obedience
are as definitely ours
as if we personally had suffered
and paid for our sins.
The book of Daniel begins with Israel being carried off into exile in Babylon as a result of their sin. Interestingly, it's those who are taken away from Israel who are the remnant that God will preserve, while those who are left behind will slowly fade away. Nebuchadnezzar only takes the best and brightest, and then he selects the cream of that crop to serve in his sprawling government.
Daniel is part of this group of talented young men who are to not only be trained, but assimilated into Babylonian language & literature; in other words, the king wants men with a worldview like his own, so they must be indoctrinated before serving in official roles.
Daniel is part of a group who, while willing to serve the king, "resolved not to defile himself" with too much Babylonian culture, especially the food. This food was the best of the best, but it was quite different than what God had commanded Israelites to eat. God wanted His covenant people to look different from the world around them, and one of the key ways of doing this was by regulating their diet.
After securing permission to maintain their Kosher diet, Daniel and his friends eat only vegetables and water. But God blesses this protein light menu anyways in such a way that they "looked healthier (literally: fatter) and better nourished than the other young men who ate the royal food."
You probably don't think of yourself this way, but like Daniel, you are an exile. You likely haven't been physically forced from your homeland, but you are living away from your true home in the Kingdom of God. Christians are not fully at home in this world but are temporary residents, awaiting their true eternal home in the presence of God.
This opening chapter in Daniel is not making the point that one style of diet is better than another, rather it reminds us that full nourishment requires more than just physical food. As creatures that are both physical and spiritual, our souls must be nourished for eternal life just as we feed our bodies three times a day (or more).
If you neglect regular church attendance, you must understand that you will quickly become spiritually malnourished. You need to be fed regularly with the Word & sacraments to fully experience God's blessings as Daniel and his friends did.
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our Father, who preserves and nourishes us even while we remain in exile;
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Thank God for feeding you spiritually, and pray for a growing desire to consume the means of grace God provides through your local church;
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED:
Read the New Testament in a year, a chapter a day - Luke 16