But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine. Daniel 1:8
After conquering the Jews, Nebuchadnezzar asked Ashpenaz, the chief of his court officials, to choose distinguished young men to be trained to serve in the king’s palace. They would be trained and eat from the king's table for three years and then begin their service (Dan. 1: 3-5).
Among the chosen were Daniel and his three friends. It was their big chance. They were selected and taken to the palace. They would have the best of what the Babylonian kingdom had to offer, and doors would be opened for them. The future was all but guaranteed. They could not miss this opportunity. Most people would accept what was being offered to them so they do not have to go back to being captives. However, this was not the attitude of the young Hebrews.
First, they had the courage to be different and decided to “not defile themselves with the king's delicacies” (Dan. 1: 8). It was a debatable matter, for it was quality choice food, and certainly some of that food was permitted by the Jewish diet. However, they didn’t go looking for exceptions or compromise. They decided to go after the highest values.
They decided to go with their convictions and to stand up for them. They were not afraid to ask, to stand for, and to give of their best for their conviction. They did not quarrel or impose, but they gained the confidence of their handler before demanding their right.
They also understood that being different would require a firm commitment. At no point did they vacillate with their decision. They were not radical in one area and liberal in another. They did not ask for special food and then go overboard in having fun. They did not seek privileges and then shirk their responsibility. They knew that when they asked to be different, they would be living in a fish bowl. Their lives would be scrutinized, more would be asked of them. And because they understood that, they daily gained favor from the chief of the officials.
The end result you already know. The king himself acknowledged that they have become “ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in his whole kingdom.” (Dan 1:20). They were presented with the same things that were offered to the others, but they decided, even in the small things, to remain true to and to honor their faith. God rewarded their faithfulness and will reward your faithfulness as well whenever you decide to remain true and not compromise your faith in Him.