“Test your servants for ten days; let us be given vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then let our appearance and the appearance of the youths who eat the king’s food be observed by you, and deal with your servants according to what you see.” Daniel 1:12-13
Daniel and his three companions were prisoners of war. After the fall of Jerusalem, the Babylonian king, Nebuchadnezzar, had ordered that some of the young men of conquered Israel be brought back to be trained to serve in his court.
These four young men were to be oriented and trained over three years before serving the king. Much preparation would be required. One of the daily perks they would immediately enjoy was permission to eat and drink the food prepared for the king. But this, according to Daniel, would require compromising their faith in God and defile them if they were to eat it (1:8). Food prepared for the Babylonian king would have been dedicated to false gods. So Daniel resolved not to defile himself and appealed to the chief of the eunuchs and requested other foods.
The chief eunuch responsible for the training of the men liked Daniel and his friends but was concerned that if they did not eat the food provided by the king, that their physical development would suffer. Plus, he feared the king’s response when it would appear that he had not fulfilled his responsibilities for their physical care and development.
But rather than obnoxiously and defiantly refusing the food, Daniel suggested a trial run. He was so convinced that God would honor his desire to remain faithful to biblical dietary requirements that positive results would be obvious within ten days. So a ten-day test was proposed and approved. The results were as follows,
“At the end of ten days it was seen that they were better in appearance and fatter in flesh than all the youths who ate the king’s food. So the steward took away their food and the wine they were to drink and gave them vegetables.” Daniel 1:15-16
What can a “fisher of men” learn from this amazing episode in Daniel’s life? Spiritual matters have physical implications. But spiritual matters are not easily understood or discerned by unspiritual people – especially those you are trying to lead to Jesus Christ. Sometimes our commitment to follow spiritual instructions can appear to be arrogant, foolish, and nonsensical. Daniel sought to obey God and, at the same time, respect the one who was responsible for him. So, he came up with this ten-day test.
As a “fisher of men” you should never compromise a biblical conviction. But sometimes the reason a person is rejecting the gospel is because of the way you and I have packaged the message. If they sense arrogance, condescension, or a “know-it-all” and defiant attitude, it should not surprise you that they would reject your message.
The Apostle Paul touched on this truth when he said, “I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel that I may share with them in its blessing.” (1 Cor 9:22-23).
He also said, “Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.” (Phil 2:3)