Looking at the first chapter of Daniel in the Bible we find that certain Hebrew captives were selected to be trained to serve in the court of the king of Babylon. The youth (Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah), in this school of training were not only to be admitted to the royal palace, but it was provided that they should eat of the meat, and drink of the wine, which came from the king's table. In all this the king considered that he was not only bestowing great honor upon them, but securing for them the best physical and mental development that could be attained. Many today, like the Babylonian king misguidedly believe that they are securing the best health by eating as he did but many studies have shown the same results of this first ten day experiment that a true vegetarian diet promotes health and aids in the prevention of disease.
Daniel and his Hebrew companions understood that obeying God even in His instruction regarding their food and drink was so important that they risked not only their position but their lives in order to choose the right course. Thus they requested “pulse to eat and water to drink”
Daniels parents had trained him to obey the Lords instruction in regard to his choices to food and drink. He might have found a plausible excuse to depart from his strictly temperate habits; but the approbation of God was dearer to him than the favor of the most powerful earthly potentate,--dearer even than life itself. Having by his courteous conduct obtained favor with Melzar, the officer in charge of the Hebrew youth, Daniel made a request that they might not eat of the king's meat, or drink of his wine. Melzar feared that should he comply with this request, he might incur the displeasure of the king, and thus endanger his own life. Like the king and many at the present day, he thought that an abstemious diet would render these youth pale and sickly in appearance and deficient in muscular strength, while the luxurious food from the king's table would make them ruddy and beautiful, and would impart superior physical activity.
Daniel requested the matter be decided by a ten-days' trial--the Hebrew youth during this brief period being permitted to eat of simple vegetarian food, while their companions partook of the king's dainties. The request was finally granted, and then Daniel felt assured that he had gained his case. Although but a youth, he had seen the injurious effects of wine and luxurious living upon physical and mental health.
At the end of the ten days the result was found to be quite the opposite of Melzar's expectations. Not only in personal appearance, but in physical activity and mental vigor, those who had been temperate in their habits exhibited a marked superiority over their companions who had indulged appetite. As a result of this trial, Daniel and his associates were permitted to continue their simple diet during the whole course of their training for the duties of the kingdom.
The Lord regarded with approval the firmness and self-denial of these Hebrew youth, and His blessing attended them. He "gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom; and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams." At the expiration of the three years of training, when their ability and acquirements were tested by the king, he "found none like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah; therefore stood they before the king. And in all matters of wisdom and understanding that the king required of them he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm.
The initial trial of this temperate diet in which the youth ate moderately in wholesome vegetarian food and abstained from both food and drink that would prove injurious to heath showed its results in favour to the diet they chose. However, we can see that in this chapter we also are shown that because of the great results in favour of both physical and mental health that the experiment continued for three whole years and with such marvelous results. It is thus that we choose to eat as they ate and drink as they drank for we desire to provide the best health for our families and to please God in all things.
May the Lord bless you as you seek to fulfill His perfect plan in your life.
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