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Healthy Choices

Daniel 1:3–20; Prophets and Kings, pp. 479–490


The Message

I serve God when I choose to be healthy.

Memory Verse

“So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31).

Imagine you are very hungry, and you are invited to a banquet. You sit down at the table, and you find wine and unclean foods that you know you shouldn’t have. What will you do? Daniel and his three friends faced that problem. Let’s see what they did.


King Nebuchadnezzar’s army had invaded and conquered Judah. All the young men from the royal family and other important families had been taken to Babylon. Daniel, Hananiah, Azariah, and Mishael were among the young Hebrews.

Nebuchadnezzar’s empire was enormous. The king knew that the Hebrew captives had many abilities. So he decided to train some of them for work in his government. They could help rule some parts of his vast empire. But first they had to learn Babylonian ways. They needed to learn the language. They had to learn the way things were done in Babylon.

Daniel and his three friends knew that they were to serve the king. But they decided that God would be first in their lives. They would serve Him first, no matter what happened.

There were many new and interesting things to see in Babylon. Great temples for worshipping idols were everywhere. The young Hebrews saw parks shaded by strange trees and hanging flowering plants. The cities of Babylon were truly beautiful.

After their long journey, everyone looked forward to their first meal in Babylon. They were to eat the best food! It was the same food served at the king’s table. Rich roasted meats and sweet wine were on every table.

The sweetest desserts in the whole land were there for all.

All of the Hebrews were delighted with the food. All except Daniel and his three friends. They could not eat it. They knew that this food was not good for them. They also knew that some of the food and wine had been offered to idols.

Daniel and his three friends determined to serve God, no matter what happened. So Daniel asked the officer in charge of all the Hebrews for help. He asked for simple food and water to drink.

Although the king’s officer respected Daniel, he refused. He was afraid for his life. King Nebuchadnezzar himself had ordered the meal. If Daniel and his friends didn’t eat that food, they might not be as strong as the others. And if that happened, the king might have the officer killed.

But Daniel did not give up. The officer had appointed Melzar, a steward, to watch over Daniel and his friends. Daniel appealed to Melzar. “Test us,” he said. “Let us eat simple food and drink only water for 10 days. If we are not as healthy as the others, do with us as you will.”

The steward agreed.

At the end of 10 days the four Hebrews were stronger and more alert than the other captives. With God’s help, they had passed the test. During all three years of their training, they were served simple food and water.

God was pleased with Daniel and his friends. The Bible says God helped them with their studies. He gave them wisdom and understanding. And He gave Daniel the ability to understand dreams.

Daniel served God first. He obeyed God’s rules about eating and drinking. And God rewarded Daniel. Daniel’s se

When we put God first, He can use us to show others the great things He can do.