“But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might defile himself” (Daniel 1:8).

The word defile here suggests “freeing through repudiation.” Daniel was saying, in other words, “Any compromise of my standards will rob me of my freedom!” So Daniel committed to eat only beans and drink only water for ten days. When he told the prince of the eunuchs this, the prince answered, “You’re going to cost me my life! You’ll look sickly at the end of ten days. Your cheeks will be sunken—and the king will surely notice! Here—eat just a little meat. You need the protein. Drink the wine to build up your blood. Eat some of these sweets to give you energy!”

I believe Daniel and the three Hebrew men had something more in mind than avoiding anything ceremonially unclean. They had been taken captive along with thousands of their countrymen. What they saw when they first arrived in Babylon must have shocked them beyond belief. It was a society so loose, immoral and full of cursing, these four men’s spiritual sensibilities were assailed.

So the four made a commitment. They told each other, “We dare not compromise. We dare not adopt these moral standards. We will be separate, and we will be disciplined in our walk of faith!”

These four men did not go about preaching their way of life to others. It was strictly a matter between them and God.

I ask you: When you’re in a crisis, do you cry out, “Lord, where are you when I need you? Aren’t you committed to my deliverance?” But what if the Lord should say to you, “Where are you when I need a voice? I need voices in these sinful times, pure vessels through whom I can speak. You say you want me to come to your crisis—yet you remain a part of the wicked, worldly system. Tell me—are you committed to my purposes?”