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Babylon was now the MOST powerful, coolest, biggest, shiniest, richest land in the whole world! And King Nebuchadnezzar was also rich and powerful! BUT, even though it was the most powerful, coolest, biggest, shiniest, richest land in the whole world, it was NOT God’s chosen City or People, and Daniel knew that very well.
Even though Daniel and his three friends — Hananiah, Azariah, and Mishael — were taken away to live in Babylon, they were not treated badly. King Nebuchadnezzar wanted some boys that would grow up to be healthy, strong, smart, and educated, so that they could serve him in his palace.
So Daniel and his three friends actually lived in the palace of King Nebuchadnezzar. That means Daniel saw the coolest, biggest, shiniest, richest things of Babylon up close. But Daniel didn’t want those cool, shiny things! He loved God and knew that God loved him. That was enough, enough, enough for Daniel.
One day, a guard came and took Daniel and his three friends to go eat their dinner in the king’s palace. They were training to be men who would serve the king (and remember that the king only wanted the healthiest, strongest, and smartest boys).
The dining room was FILLED with boys from all around the world. And the tables were FILLED with food from all around the world.
But when Daniel looked at the tables full of food, he felt a little confused.
“I’ve never seen ANY of this food before!” he said to his three friends.
Other boys in the room saw Daniel and one said, “Dig in! You’re going to LOVE this stuff!”
“Yeah…” a tall boy said stuffing his mouth with more before there was even room for another bite. “It’s so warm and salty. It practically melts in your mouth! We’ve been missing out our whole lives!”
“This stuff is WAYYYY better than even chicken nuggets!!” piped in a smaller boy who had so much sauce covering his face that it looked like a beard!
Daniel didn’t like what he saw. These boys were certainly enjoying the food, but they were acting like crazy, selfish pigs!
Daniel didn’t want to be like that. That is not how boys who love God should be. Daniel also remembered the food that God had wanted him and his family to eat before they lived in Babylon. The food here was not the kind God had told them to eat. Daniel didn’t want to disobey God.
It was true that King Nebuchadnezzar’s food looked and smelled better than anything Daniel had ever seen, and Daniel was very hungry. If he didn’t eat the king’s food, his belly might hurt. He might even starve! But Daniel decided to TRUST God. Daniel trusted that if he obeyed God, he would have enough, enough, enough!
So, Daniel said, “No thanks!”
The whole room went silent. One boy dropped his fork.
“NO, THANKS?!?!?!?” everyone said at the same time.
“Yes. I’m sorry, but I can’t. I’m very grateful for the work it took to make such a feast! But these aren’t foods God wants me and my friends to eat.”
The guard started to shake in his sandals. “B…b…b…but you GOTTA eat this stuff! The king of Babylon wants you to eat it so you can be the healthiest, strongest, smartest boys! And… and…” the guard’s face turned white and afraid, “i…i…i…if the king of Babylon finds out you didn’t eat the food, he’ll b…b…b…be MAD at me!”
Daniel knew God was a much more powerful and richer King than the king of Babylon, so he said, “Let’s try this: Just feed me and my three friends only vegetables and water. And feed all the other boys the way the king of Babylon wants them to eat. We’ll do this for 10 days! If all the other boys are healthier, smarter and stronger than us, then the king of Babylon wins and we’ll eat what he wants. But if my friends and I are healthier, smarter, and stronger, then GOD wins!”
Finally the officer said with a little tremble in his voice, “Okay... I guess.”
For 10 days Daniel and his three friends ate only vegetables and water, while the other boys ate the king’s rich, yummy feasts.
And after 10 days, guess who won?
GOD, of course!
After 10 days, Daniel and his friends were WAY healthier, WAY stronger, and WAY smarter than all the other boys who were eating the king of Babylon’s food. In fact, they were 10 TIMES healthier, stronger, and smarter.
Even king Nebuchadnezzar couldn’t find anyone as wise and understanding and as helpful as Daniel and his three friends. Nebuchadnezzar ended up picking THEM to help him in his kingdom and not ANY of the boys who ate the rich, yummy food!
God knows SO much better, doesn’t He? Even if what the world has looks like it would be pretty good, it really isn’t very good at all, is it? What God gives you, is always enough, enough, enough… and it is VERY good!