"Daniel determined that he would not defile himself with the king’s food or with the wine he drank. So he asked permission from the chief official not to defile himself. God had granted Daniel favor and compassion from the chief official"
Daniel was taken into captivity, from Judah into Babylon. Babylon represents the world's system, the world's way of doing life. Now Babylon had a plan. As soon as they captured a people they would engulf them into their culture. They wanted them to forget where they came from and start to think and live like a Babylonian. One thing they did was change the names of the people they captured. They took Daniel who's name meant, God is my judge and changed it to, Belteshazzar, which meant, Bel's prince. Bel was the main god of Babylon. They did the same thing with Daniel's three friends. They tried to get them to identify with their gods, because if they could get them to change that way of thinking they would have their whole lives.
Another thing they did was pick out some of the best ones and prepare them to be in the kings court. These select ones were given food from the kings table. The only thing was the food had been given as a sacrifice to the god's of Babylon. To eat this food would be a form of worship of these gods. This is why you see in the verse above Daniel didn't want anything to do with this. He refuses to conform to the world. He determines in his heart he is not going to live like the world, act like the world or smell like the world. He is going to do life God's way.
That is not always an easy decision to make. There are so many people telling you, here is what you should do. Here is what you should think. We hear it from media all around us, 24/7. We hear it from peers and family. They might call you crazy for following after God. But it doesn't matter, because like Daniel, you have determined in you heart you are going to follow God's way.
I wonder how many other men and women were taken into captivity at the same time as Daniel, but went ahead and ate the food. They probably figured, "What else can we do?" But Daniel and his friends decided that they would follow God's way. Look at that verse again. Even though they decided to do things God's way, they didn't stage a protest or start some kind of revolt. They humbled themselves and asked permission. Now I am 100% sure that even if they had been told no they still would not have eaten that food. But the point is they believed God would make a way to do things in peace and respectfully. Again remember they were taken in captivity. Maybe some people would think, "I have a right to fight!" But not them. And so God gave them favor.
Look at how it ended for them, "At the end of 10 days they looked better and healthier than all the young men who were eating the king's food." Daniel 1:15
"God gave these young men knowledge and understanding in every kind of literature and wisdom. Daniel also understood visions and dreams of every kind." Daniel 1:17
"The King interviewed them, and among all of them, no one was found equal to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. So they began to serve in the king's court." Daniel 1:19
They were promoted in Babylon. In the wicked world's system they were blessed by doing things God's way, because it wasn't man who promoted them, but God. What are you facing today? What challenges or decisions do you have before you? Determine in your heart to do life God's way today. Seek Him for your answers and guidance and He will bless you more than you can imagine.