Eating Healthy Foods

Scenarios
Child eats too much junk food, child doesn’t eat enough fruits and vegetables, child doesn’t have a great diet

Scripture Lesson
King Nebuchadnezzar was king of Babylon, a once powerful empire, that captured Jerusalem in 597 BC. As part of Jerusalem’s defeat, King Nebuchadnezzar ordered that many of the prominent Jewish citizens, such as the king of Jerusalem and his family be taken to Babylon with the purpose of teaching them the Babylonian ways.

In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem, and besieged it… And the king spake unto Ashpenaz the master of his eunuchs, that he should bring certain of the children of Israel, and of the king’s seed, and of the princes; Children in whom was no blemish, but well favoured, and skilful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science, and such as had ability in them to stand in the king’s palace, and whom they might teach the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans. (Daniel 1:1-4)

Among these “well favoured” Jews who were brought to Babylon, were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. All of them would receive new Babylonian names Belteshazzar, Shadrach,  Meshach and Abed-nego, respectively. In addition to special teaching in many subjects, all these Jews would receive a special diet that only the King himself had.

And the king appointed them a daily provision of the king’s meat, and of the wine which he drank: so nourishing them three years, that at the end thereof they might stand before the king. (Daniel 1:5)

The trouble was that this diet was different than the diet Daniel and his friends were used to as Jews, which was a diet prescribed by God and one they knew would protect them. So they talked their master, the prince of the eunuchs, into letting them follow the Jewish diet for ten days to see if it had an impact.

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 not defile himself. Now God had brought Daniel into favour and tender love with the prince of the eunuchs. And the prince of the eunuchs said unto Daniel, I fear my lord the king, who hath appointed your meat and your drink: for why should he see your faces worse liking than the children which are of your sort? then shall ye make me endanger my head to the king. Then said Daniel to Melzar, whom the prince of the eunuchs had set over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, Prove thy servants, I beseech thee, ten days; and let them give us pulse to eat, and water to drink. Then let our countenances be looked upon before thee, and the countenance of the children that eat of the portion of the king’s meat: and as thou seest, deal with thy servants. (Daniel 1:8-13)

Questions
-Why do you think that Daniel was concerned the King’s diet would defile him? How often were they given meat and wine?
-What are some other foods that could defile our body if we eat them too much?
-Is the purpose of this story that we shouldn’t eat too much meat and drink too much wine? Or can this apply to different foods?

Let’s find out what happened after the ten days.

So he consented to them in this matter, and proved them ten days. And at the end of ten days their countenances appeared fairer and fatter in flesh than all the children which did eat the portion of the king’s meat. Thus Melzar took away the portion of their meat, and the wine that they should drink; and gave them pulse. (Daniel 1:14-16)

It turns out that after only ten days their master was able to see enough change in their countenance to be convinced the Jewish diet was better and to stop giving Daniel and his friends their daily portion of meat and wine.

Questions
-Why do you think Daniel asked for a ten day test? Do you think their master would have agreed to a diet change for three years from the very beginning?

Let’s see what else happened to these four during and after their three year training as a result of keeping the special diet.

As for these four children, God gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom: and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams. Now at the end of the days that the king had said he should bring them in, then the prince of the eunuchs brought them in before Nebuchadnezzar. And the king communed with them; and among them all was 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 inquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm. (Daniel 1:17-20)

Questions
-What were some of the blessings they received by being faithful to their diet, and consequently their God?
-Do you really think that certain foods can have an impact on our knowledge and skill?

Application

Questions
-How can we apply the 10 day challenge in our eating habits? Could we try eating ___ for ten days and see what it’s like?
-What should we do about food such as junk food that can defile our bodies if we aren’t careful?
-What kind of goals can we make about our health?