266. The Chief’s Dilemma

Daniel 1:10 NET But he responded to Daniel, “I fear my master the king. He is the one who has decided your food and drink. What would happen if he saw that you looked malnourished in comparison to the other young men your age? If that happened, you would endanger my life with the king!”

If you’ve ever been in a leadership position and needing to make a decision, which if it goes wrong, would extremely negatively impact you future, you could probably sympathize with the overseer in this verse. He is the Chief Eunuch for Nebuchadnezzar in charge of Daniel and all the other skilled and intelligent men of Israel in captivity and selected to be educated in Babylonian ways for use as interpreters and for enhancing the Babylonians wealth of cultural knowledge. Many have talked about Daniels integrity to follow the dietary teachings of the Law as well as his faith in God to see him through… but what about this guy? He has tremendous respect for Daniel, yet hesitates granting the request because if the king saw Daniel looking weak or thin and found out then the Chief Eunuch would lose his position and most likely his life. Needless to say that was a difficult situation to be in.

Though it is evident that the fear he had for his life was very real and apparent, he didn’t just allow it to close the doors to other possibilities. When Daniel asked, he could have responded from his fear with an emphatic, “NO!” But he didn’t allow the initial anxiety and panic he was sensing to cause him to make a rash decision. Instead, he shared his fear and very real concern with a wise and trusted confidant, who just happened to be the person asking him the question (it doesn’t always work out this way).

If the Chief Eunuch would have just acted on his fear of his master and done nothing or forced Daniel to eat, who knows what would have happened, but because he didn’t respond immediately but took a little time to explore the problem he faced… Fear of death at possible outcome vs. Respect for a wise servant and looking for maximum result the option of a trial period was discovered, which eased his fears and gave him the opportunity to minimize the risk while showing Daniel that he trusted and respected him. That’s a win/win. To top it all off he got to bring Daniel and his friends before the King, who said they were unmatched in wisdom and that there were none like them among all the captives of Babylon. In other words the Eunuch was sitting pretty for a promotion.

Your situation may not always work like this. After taking some time to discuss the situation with your pastor or a leader in your church, or another trusted advisor, you may decide the wise thing to do is to not pursue the alternative course of action, but at least you didn’t just rashly decide out of fear. Fear drives us to make rash decisions. Remember the steward that buried his coins because he was afraid of his master… his fear stopped his thought process and left him with nothing, talking to one of his advisors might have encouraged him to at least put the money in the bank (Luke 19:21-24). Don’t let fear make your decisions for you. Take some time to identify wise people you trust and next time you’re faced with a decision and fear is rising up, give them a call, set an appointment, and talk it out. Fear Not!


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