King Nebuchadnezzar was very intentional in assimilating the best and the brightest from lands conquered to the Babylonian way of life. Not only would his kingdom benefit from young, bright minds in the king’s service but retaliatory strikes were less likely when family members were present in the city. This was the fate of Daniel and his friends after Babylon laid siege to Jerusalem. They entered a 3-year training program where they were given new names and told what food to eat, how to worship and who to pray to.
Sounds like some of our schools today – 12 years of training in political correctness. Names are not changed but sack lunches may get checked for proper nutritional value, secularism is to be worshipped and prayer gets challenged - Assimilation or education?
Food: They were given “…food and wine from the king’s table.”(Dan.1:5). But Daniel negotiated with the chief official to allow him and his friends to eat vegetables and water in accordance to Israelite dietary laws. He even guaranteed they would be at least as fit as the other young men in the training program. If it was not proven so in ten days, they would succumb to the diet imposed. They did prove to be healthiest among the group and the official allowed them to continue their eating habits. Daniel accepted responsibility physically for the temple, his body, under pressure to do otherwise.
Worship: They were told to “…worship the image of gold.”(Dan.3:4-6). The king’s edict was for all in the kingdom to worship the 90 foot statue plated with gold. Daniel’s friends were called out for not following the edict. In front of the king they rebuked false worship and called on the one true God to save them. Save them He did, from the fiery furnace! The king gained respect for them and their God. They were promoted in the king’s service. Daniel’s friends accepted responsibility emotionally for proper worship.
Prayer: They were instructed to “…pray to King Darius only for 30 days.”(Dan.6:6-9). Anyone who failed to do so would be thrown in the lion’s den. Jealous men in influential positions worked to trap Daniel in his discipline of prayer three times a day to his God. Daniel did not succumb to societal pressure and continued to pray as he had always done. He was thrown into the lion’s den but his God protected him and he continued to prosper throughout King Darius’ reign. Not so for those that schemed against him – they and their families were thrown into the lion’s den. Daniel accepted responsibility spiritually to honor his God only.
Get Daniel: “They were to be trained for three years, and after that they were to enter the king’s service. Among these (exiles) were: Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. The chief official gave them new names:” – Daniel 1:5-6. As minorities in a pagan land, Daniel and his friends maintained spiritual disciplines that honored their God. God in turn granted them strength to navigate physically, emotionally and spiritually through pressures of the world in their day. They did not just survive a bad situation but thrived in a pagan culture and glorified God in the process.
Prayer guide: Lord, thank You for the example of Daniel. Here I am with the power of the resurrected Christ and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and I prove to be a wimp too often in the face of worldly pressure. Forgive me. Help me get Daniel in me, to accept responsibility physically, emotionally and spiritually where You have me and glorify You in the process. Amen.
A faithful father gets Daniel by accepting responsibility to glorify God where he is.