Friday, April 13, 2018


APRIL 14, 2018
The opportunity to review the history of Daniel is a blessing! Chapter one sets the stage for what is to follow, and the first hurdle for Daniel and his three friends is upon appetite. The pressure brought to bear upon these four young men to eat food from the king's table was great. Captives in a land far from the familiar confines of home, church, and family, Daniel and his friends could easily have rationalized an eating scenario that would accommodate their situation as prisoners. Instead, Daniel "purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king's delicacies, nor with the wine which he drank" (Daniel 1:8). This decision caused the steward to fear for his life should Daniel and his friends become emaciated. To address this concern, Daniel proposed the ten-day test, and the rest is history.
Daniel's choice to be faithful in that which is least enabled God to entrust him with weightier responsibilities, even the revealing of the secret of a pagan king's dream and its interpretation. Over and over again Daniel and his friends were tested. From worshiping the magnificent golden image on the plain of Dura to praying at the customary time, they had to decide: Would they continue to obey God or would they compromise their convictions on worship and prayer in order to avoid persecution? Had they not first surrendered their appetite to God's plan, they might well have failed the later tests.
We recently ran a smoking cessation program at our church for smokers. Now we are conducting a weekly weight loss support group. In both these programs we are lifting up Jesus and the promises in the Bible as the only hope for release from addiction. And for nearly all who are struggling to stop smoking or lose weight, the core issue revolves around appetite. For aid in overcoming we point them to Jesus Who in all things was "made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest. . . . For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted" (Hebrews 2:17, 18).
We are living in the final day of atonement when God is seeking to cleanse the heavenly sanctuary and, correspondingly, our body temples from the record of sin and the practice of sin. The health message prepares people to receive other long-lost Bible truths. Without practicing it, people can struggle with doctrines or have difficulty grasping the gospel or the prophecies. Failure to practice these principles led to the resistance by some of the Minneapolis message in 1888.
In December of 1888, Sister White wrote: "I believe if our ministering brethren would only read the testimonies that the Lord has graciously given them, that they would reveal a different spirit. God will hold them accountable for neglect and disregard of the light which he has given them. My brother Butler, you have had too many burdens upon you, but I tell you in love that the Lord has not been pleased with the spirit of warfare you have had on health reform. Had you been a health reformer in deed and truth, you would have had much better health and escaped many perils. God has given light upon this subject, but you have worked away from the light, and your influence has been opposed to the work that the Lord would do for this people upon this point. You have stood directly in the way of the work of God in health reform. You have suffered sickness because your habits in eating and in labor have not been according to the light which God has given to His people. I am sorry that I have to write in reference to these things as I do. Had you appreciated and heeded the light which the Lord has given us, you would not now be confused in judgment, and so enfeebled in nerve and brain power. You attribute your sickness to erroneous causes. You put an incorrect interpretation upon many things. You are an erring man, defective in character, and need the grace of God at every step." {1888 192.3}
As earth's history draws to a close and Satan's temptations grow more fierce, we have no defense except to be hid in Christ. To accomplish the gospel commission, we must purpose in our hearts as did Daniel to keep our minds clear through observing the laws of health as directed by God. Daniel and his three friends did this, and the Lord preserved them as witnesses.
As in Daniel's day, so today a contest is developing between two forms of worship, either to God or self. Babylon's appeal at its core is self-worship. Conversely, in Revelation we read that the last message to be proclaimed to the world is to "Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come, and worship Him Who made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters" Revelation 14: 6, 7.
In preparation for this high calling, may we purpose in our hearts as did Daniel not to defile ourselves through the indulgence of appetite.
~Patti Guthrie
Raul Diaz