“But Daniel made up his mind that he would not defile himself” Daniel 1:8
Defile – What defiles? We don’t think in terms of ritual purity these days. We don’t observe hand washing or abstain from certain kinds of food. Our Jewish orthodox brothers and sisters do so they understand immediately why Daniel put his whole heart into this action. But we have traveled a long way from the dietary laws of Deuteronomy. If that’s all that ga’al was about, then we could cite the story of Peter on the rooftop and say, “God has lifted the laws about food”. But ga’al has a stronger connection, a deeper involvement with us. Ga’al is about blood.
Isaiah 59:3 uses ga’al to draw a picture of a man’s hands stained with blood. Isaiah 63:3 uses the same word to talk about God’s judgments. Malachi 1:7 says that defiling God’s altar is equivalent to defiling God Himself. There is blood on the land that pretends God has nothing to say about living. There is blood on the hands of those who imagine themselves to be their own gods. Wherever men and women glorify themselves, we should see bloodstains, not celebrity claims. If you’re going to live in Babylon, you’re going to be surrounded by blood. And it’s not going to be pretty.
Twenty million abortions. One hundred million starvations. Three hundred million ethnic genocides. War, famine, disease, abuse and neglect. This Babylonian world, with all its glitz and glamour, stands on top of a sea of blood. Do you care more about why Brad and Jen divorced? Are you fascinated by the fashion on the red carpet? Do you idolize the powerful and the famous? Or do you see red in the eyes?
There is a sin called deliberate disinterest. It is a bloodstained sin. Where God speaks life, Babylon seeks death. We are not immune and we are not guiltless. If you are going to be Daniel in this Babylonian empire of prestige and power, you will have to hold up a bloody hand and say, “No, I will not partake. God, forgive us all.”
Bloodlines belong to God. The stain that cries from the ground (Genesis 4:10) can only be cleaned with another’s blood, the blood that washes white as snow.