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Why would the king’s food defile Daniel and his friends?

But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way. Daniel 1:8
            The Jews prepared their foods in keeping with the Levitical laws.  It had to do with how the meat was killed, what kind of meat was eaten and to whom the food was dedicated (usually to other gods).
            Daniel wanted to preserve the Jewish food preparation laws (called “kosher” today) and keep himself focused on what it means to be Jewish.  By refusing the Babylonian food, he and his friends refused to be immersed into the Babylonian culture.
            We too allow the world to seep into our hearts, slowly making us more worldly and less spiritual.  Many of these choices are small choices, that seem unimportant at the time, but after a gradual accumulation make a big difference, slowly misdirecting us miles away from God.