Sunday School Material 2-1-15: Feasting and Fasting

(Daniel 1:5, 8-17; Matthew 6:16-18; 2/1/15)

Introduction:A key idea in today’s Sunday School material is God took care of Daniel and gave instructions regarding fasting. Prayerfully, we will be challenged to work on being a wise steward of our eating and fasting.

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Read Daniel 1:5, 8-17

I. Decree by Nebechadnezzar. The king has chosen Daniel and the other three Hebrews to be a part of his cabinet in our Sunday School material.

Daniel asked for permission to avoid defiling himself with the king’s diet. God showed favor and allowed for Daniel to avoid the king’s diet and to appear healthier than those who did eat the king’s diet.

Applications –

- Service preparation. Notice in vs. 5 that training was to take place before people were allowed to serve in high seats of service. In like manner, it is important to have ample training for service today.

On one hand, there is a such thing as too much. But on the other hand, there is a such thing as too little. Let’s seek God’s wisdom about requiring the right amount of training before allowing people to serve in various capacities.

Let’s also give ourselves to serving the Lord, in whatever capacity He may be calling us to serve in. Think about how this applies to church, family, jobs, and community service.

- Taking a faith stand. Notice in vs. 8 that Daniel took a faith stand. He believed that eating the king’s meat and drinking the king’s wine would be an act of defilement. He was so convicted by this that he asked for permission to refrain from partaking in such.

First, we should appreciate that everything is not worth fighting for. For example, as Christians (i.e., not Jews), we can eat and drink more things than the Jews could.

Second, there should be some things that are so dear to us that we are willing to give it some extra energy. An example of taking a faith stand may be standing against abortion, same sex marriages in churches, or any number of things.

These issues should be the product of prayerful study of God’s word and peaceful conscious about your stand. Let’s seek God’s wisdom about what to take a stand for and what to simply trust God to set in order one day.

- God’s working things out. Notice in vss. 9, 17 of our Sunday School material that God worked things out for Daniel, after Daniel demonstrated trust in God. God moved on the heart of the authorities to allow Daniel to refrain from partaking in the food.

God gave Daniel special abilities. In like manner, if we trust God enough to obey His will, He has a way of working things out for our good. It is important to trust God, not people or our own abilities. Let’s work on trusting God to take care of those who trust Him.

- Diet. Notice in vss. 12, 15 that Daniel was careful about what he ate. As believers, we are not restricted by the law to simply eat fruit, vegetables, and water. However, as stewards of the bodies that God has placed in our trust, we should be conscious of what we eat and drink.

There is a great deal of research that suggests eating more fruits, vegetables, and nuts and drinking more water is healthy for our bodies, especially when compared to eating foods high in sugar and salt, red meat, and processed foods.

Let’s work on eating a healthy diet, as wise stewards of the bodies that God has placed in our care. The Daniel’s Fast Diet can be helpful for those who study and apply the principles.  

Read Matthew 6:16-18

II. Declarations by Jesus. Jesus teaches about fasting in our Sunday School material. When a person decides to fast, they are to do it without fanfare.

When a person fasts, so they can be seen and praised by others, they have their reward. But when a person fasts in private, God has a way of blessing.

Applications –

- Fasting. Notice in vss. 16-18 that there is no command from Jesus to fast, but there are instructions from Him about fasting. The instruction is concerned with making sure that you have a godly motive for fasting.

First, fasting is good, if it helps you discern God’s will and live in obedience to it. Second, fasting is not good as a means of manipulating God into doing something outside of His will. It is not good as a means of simply showing others how holy you are.

Third, especially those with health challenges need to be careful about fasting from food, when such can negatively impact diabetes and other health issues. Talk with your doctor.

Four, you can fast from food or drink in various increments. You can fast from things other than food and drink.

Fifth, there is a promised blessing for those who fast with the right motives. The right motives include discerning God’s will, so you can obey it.

Right motives include demonstrating godly sorrow over sin and commitment to repentance. Let’s work on fasting as God leads us to, while avoiding ungodly fasting.

Conclusion: Let’s work on being a wise steward of our eating and fasting. God has much for those who obey His will.

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