Updated on January 6, 2014
Chronological Bible: July 17, Respect your enemies?…
- Jeremiah 24:1-10
- Daniel 1:1-21
“and the chief of the eunuchs said to Daniel, ‘I fear my lord the king, who assigned your food and your drink; for why should he see that you were in worse condition than the youths who are of your own age? So you would endanger my head with the king.’ Then Daniel said to the steward whom the chief of the eunuchs had assigned over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, ‘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 1:10-13, ESV
What a picture of showing respect to someone outside the people of God! Daniel asks the eunuch to not be forced to eat the king’s defiled food, but the eunuch declines, citing fear of being killed by the king. Daniel showed great wisdom in addressing the issue. The eunuch identified the challenge of the request resulting in the physical deterioration of Daniel and his friends.
Before we look at what Daniel did, let’s look at what Daniel did not do. He did not speak against the king. he did not speak against the eunuch. He did not call the eunuch stupid or wretched or sinner. Daniel did not demoralize or use witty comments to cover up a retort that could only bee viewed as mean.
What Daniel did was to show the eunuch respect. Daniel understood the risk the eunuch faced for failing the king’s orders. And Daniel heard the eunuch’s concern for the possible deterioration for those not eating the king’s food. So Daniel addressed the concerns. Daniel did not demand, he offered a test period to show the eunuch there was nothing to fear. If the king’s only way of knowing the food was not eaten was by physical deterioration, then Daniel, under the power of the Lord, would show the eunuch the fears were unfounded. Daniel did not expect the eunuch to believe on faith; after all, the eunuch had no faith. Daniel offered a temporary situation that allowed the eunuch’s fears to be addressed. And in the process, Daniel honored God.
Are there others in your life with whom you disagree? Maybe political opinions get hot or theological concerns get argued. How are you addressing them? Are you showing respect and addressing concerns like Daniel? Or are you using sarcasm and berating approach? Which approach shows the love and compassion of God? Is that the approach you are using?
Before you enter into an argument, consider Daniel. He got what he wanted through showing respect to the one with whom he disagreed.