I love good food!!! I am not really crazy about food but when it’s time to eat, I must enjoy the meal! Generally, I like eating when I’m hungry so that the food can be absolutely relished. Food must make my buds sing. Meals must be an orchestral band in my mouth that makes my palate dance. In addition, I am also a fan of drinks. Anytime, a new flavour of juice hits the market, I go after it like a heat seeking missile. So much so that people close to me say that if i were not a teetotaler, I would have been an irrepressible alcoholic.
Thinking about it now, the whole thing goes beyond food and drinks. I am a lover of life; an insatiable bee, I get drunk on its nectar. Monotony, routine and boredom are detestable things to me. I don’t do grey or bland. I surf on the rainbow colours of life, believing in the pot of gold at the end of each colourful spectrum of living. Life is a dance and I live by grooving to its swing.
So, you can imagine the exhilaration I felt when I found myself in a King’s palace while traveling down a revelatory timeline. The year was 597BC and the place was a palace in Babylon. Exquisite music like elusive genies escaped as seasoned fingers strummed the strings of harmonious instruments. Melodies swirled and eddied in the court until they condensed into a honeyed sweetness in the hearts of all and sundry. Tables were sagging under the weight of hundreds of exotic dishes. The aroma of culinary perfection assaulted my nostrils until I swooned. Blood from the veins of crushed grapes filled golden vessels nonstop. This was wine that made one heady at the slightest sip, sweeter than anything that ever stirred the sea of man’s imagination. The combination of music, food and wine made the senses reel.
In this timeline, I was one of the princes of Judah that were taken captive by Nebuchadnezzar. The marauding King had reaped from Israel a motley crew of amazing scholars, suave and debonair aristocrats of which I was one. We were the cream of Judah’s crop, the best of the best. Good thing though, the King gave us free access to his palace and its goodies, so we were not complaining.
The wine finally filled my bladder and on my way to relieve myself so that room would be made for more drink, I saw four of my Judah princes in one of the rooms. They were behind the palace drinking water and eating vegetables mixed with beans as usual. It was Daniel and his holier-thou-buddies. They usually stayed away from the palace proceedings except when it was time to study or take oral exams. They amazed me, eating that much beans was enough to give such gaseous fire power to launch them into outer space. Secondarily they would be dangerous to one another considering the kind of evil flatus beans induce. However, this was on a lighter note. Reality was, these dudes were boring! Who sticks to such uninteresting meals when there was enough delicious food to feed a nation?
In all fairness, Moses law does not entertain such meals as the King’s but we were slaves, were we not? Being slaves did not give one any say in the matters of life, does it? The King would be angry if we did not partake of his sumptuous fare and I did not want to lose my head.
As a prince of Judah, I was bound by the same eternal laws as Daniel and his friends but I did not have enough guts and conviction to say no to an ephemeral ruling structure. Secondly, from what you know about me now, I loved pleasure and myself too much to risk my life for some law that existed before my great grandparents lived. That was then, this is here and now.
Despite all my excuses, I however, developed a grudging admiration for the guys. Their commitment was mind boggling. The way they took on a whole system that was firmly set to tear down their convictions. What impressed me the most was that by saying no the wining and dining of the world’s mightiest monarch, they took a stand for the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. They stared into the face of a world where the odds where strongly stacked against them without flinching or backing down. They put everything on the line for their beliefs. They even endangered the Chief eunuch’s life by their request.
It took tremendous resolve, unyielding determination and great sacrifice to go fasting for three years on insipid food when they were subjected to the whiff of the best kind of dishes anyone could die for. They refused to conform to the prevailing circumstances of their day. They intentionally separated themselves from the lot of us. They said no to an insidiously enslaving worldly system. Whereas, princes like me were deceived into thinking we were liberated because of the largesse we had access to.
Keeping an eye on them, I noticed the boring food they were eating made them healthier and instead of the Chief eunuch hating them for resisting the system, he actually fell in love with them.
Following their loyalty and devotion, transformation took place in their spirits, souls and bodies. They trumped everyone in the affairs of life, specialists, consultants and professors. Even in the matters of the spiritual and supernatural, magicians and astrologers played second fiddle to them. They were untouchables, a special breed. In the affairs of the states, politics, arts and sciences, they were ten times better than I and the other princes of Judah and Babylon. The four of them went on to become legendary figures in the history of Babylon and the dispensations that followed after, especially Daniel.
Brooding over their lives, it occurred to me that they put God first before their pleasure. The quartet honoured God and God honoured them. God blessed them with ideas and inspiration beyond the confines of human reasoning. The Almighty took a stand for them.
Back to the present, the table of life is set with lots of dishes that might seem to make me refined, trendy, fashionable and stylish. While following old eternal laws might seem to make me gauche and unfashionable, they are the way to get ahead. Conforming to the standard of gorging on Nebuchadnezzar’s table equates me to everyone else. It is refusing to do the accepted thing that places a mark of distinction. Drinking water and feasting on vegetables activates the power and the favour of God in one’s life. Considering my love for tasty diet, I keep asking myself whether I can, going forward, stick to kosher meals instead of nourishment meant for earthly kings. Can you?
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©2014 Ekpo Ezechinyere