American POW’s during the Korean War faced a new, psychological torture known as brainwashing. In efforts to recruit new Communist supporters, a friendly interrogator would often live with a prisoner for weeks, relentlessly promoting the benefits of Communism. As Christians, we must realize this strategy is being employed against us each day.
In Daniel 1, as Daniel and his friends are exiled into the decadent society of Chaldean controlled Babylon, we see a blatant attempt at brainwashing. King Nebuchadnezzar commanded the finest youths of Israel to be educated in “the literature and language of the Chaldeans. The king assigned them a daily portion of the food that the king ate, and of the wine that he drank. They were to be educated for three years, and at the end of that time they were to stand before the king.” (v. 4-5) Nebuchadnezzar wanted to purge Daniel and the Israelites of their faith in God, but Daniel refused to conform. “Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the king’s food, or with the wine that he drank.” (v. 8) Sometimes we’re scared to make a stand for the Lord, but note in verse 9, God rewarded Daniel for this brave stand. “God gave Daniel favor and compassion,” allowing him and his friends to refrain from the food and drink sacrificed to Chaldean gods and eat only vegetables and water.
Daniel’s stand against conformity was a tremendous success. Verse 15 tells us, “they were better in appearance and fatter in flesh than all the youths who ate the king’s food.” Later on, at the end of the three years, David and his friends were blessed even further. “God gave them learning and skill in all literature and wisdom, and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams.” (v. 20) Though they refused to conform, Nebuchadnezzar “found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters that were in his kingdom.”
The friendly world around us, which portrays itself as harmless, brainwashes us by slowly encouraging us to surrender our walk with Christ. The world offers countless sinful distractions and comforts which completely disregard and disrespect our heavenly Father. As God said in Isaiah 52:11, “Depart, depart, go out from there; touch no unclean thing; go out from the midst of her; purify yourselves, you who bear the vessels of the Lord.” Make a bold stand like Daniel did and experience the favor and compassion of God!