Drawing the line
READ Daniel 1
Daniel and his three companions have to swallow a lot. They have witnessed the conquest of Judah, the destruction of the temple, and the transfer of its sacred vessels and treasures to the temples of foreign gods as a sign of their victory over the God of Israel (1, 2). They have been brought to Babylon to be ‘re-educated’ in the language and arts of the Chaldeans and serve at Nebuchadnezzar’s court (4). They must even accept new names, reflective of their new social situation and the foreign gods which were worshipped there (7).
In the midst of pressures to forget past loyalties and assimilate with the surrounding culture, Daniel sets a boundary: he draws the line, marking off how far he will go in embracing the culture and identity of his conquerors. He will join their life only so far as will not pollute him or compromise his identity as a member of the people of God and his loyalty to the God of Israel. That this should manifest itself in a concern for pure and impure foods is appropriate, for in such times the dietary laws of Torah were often important symbols of Jewish identity and commitment to God. Like Daniel, we are also called to honor the lines, the boundaries, by which we as members of Christ are to distinguish ourselves from others (Romans 12:2; 1 Peter 1:13-16). We are thus called to reflect our commitment to Christ and the law of love in our words and actions at work, at home, in every situation; we are also given the hope that God will provide a way for us to resist compromise, and, by our exclusive commitment to God, serve fellows far better than if we surrender our distinctiveness (9, 19, 20).
PRAY Lord Jesus, I love You so much; show me something that is just
between You and me that I can give up for You so that I may make my
saying ‘I love You’ a reality.