Daniel Taken to Babylon
1 In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. 2 And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with some of the vessels of the house of God. And he brought them to the land of Shinar, to the house of his god, and placed the vessels in the treasury of his god. 3 Then the king commanded Ashpenaz, his chief eunuch, to bring some of the people of Israel, both of the royal family and of the nobility, 4 youths without blemish, of good appearance and skillful in all wisdom, endowed with knowledge, understanding learning, and competent to stand in the king's palace, and to teach them the literature and language of the Chaldeans. 5 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. 6 Among these were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah of the tribe of Judah. 7 And the chief of the eunuchs gave them names: Daniel he called Belteshazzar, Hananiah he called Shadrach, Mishael he called Meshach, and Azariah he called Abednego.
8 But Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the king's food, or with the wine that he drank. Therefore he asked the chief of the eunuchs to allow him not to defile himself. 9 And God gave Daniel favor and compassion in the sight of the chief of the eunuchs, 10 and the chief of the eunuchs said to Daniel, "I fear my lord the king, who assigned your food and your drink; for why should he see that you were in worse condition than the youths who are of your own age? So you would endanger my head with the king." 11 Then Daniel said to the steward whom the chief of the eunuchs had assigned over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, 12 "Test your servants for ten days; let us be given vegetables to eat and water to drink. 13Then let our appearance and the appearance of the youths who eat the king's food be observed by you, and deal with your servants according to what you see." 14 So he listened to them in this matter, and tested them for ten days. 15 At the end of ten days it was seen that they were better in appearance and fatter in flesh than all the youths who ate the king's food. 16 So the steward took away their food and the wine they were to drink, and gave them vegetables. 17 As for these four youths, God gave them learning and skill in all literature and wisdom, and Daniel had understanding
in all visions and dreams. 18 At the end of the time, when the king had commanded that they should be brought in, the chief of the eunuchs brought them in before
Nebuchadnezzar. 19 And the king spoke with them, and among all of them none was found like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. Therefore they stood before the king. 20 And in every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king inquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters that were in all his kingdom. 21 And Daniel was there until the first year of King Cyrus.
God Honours our Commitment to Him
Daniel and his friends faced the same dilemma we do--how to live a holy life in a godless culture. At one time, our society readily accepted Christian values and standards, but that era is quickly passing. Our challenge today is to live under God's authority while remaining in submission to the law of the land. At times we are forced to choose between the two, but if we'll seek the Lord's guidance before marching defiantly forward, He may open an alternative approach for us. Had Daniel bluntly declared, "I won't eat this food!" he wouldn't have lasted long, and we wouldn't have the book of Daniel in the Bible. But the Lord gave him the wisdom to humbly seek permission from the person who was in a position of authority over him. God honored his commitment and provided a way for him to live righteously in a pagan world.
We tend to hold up Daniel and his three friends as extraordinary people who lived amazing lives. But have you ever wondered what the Lord could do in the life of an ordinary person like you? The determining factor is not the greatness of the individual but, rather, his commitment to a God who can do remarkable things in a life fully devoted to Him. That's the kind of people our Lord is looking for. Although we don't know all that God could do in our lives if we'd radically commit ourselves to Him, the thought of missing out on His plans should be enough to motivate us to obey. You don't want to arrive in heaven and discover you forfeited blessings because you weren't fully devoted to Him.