Daniel’s Training in 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 delivered Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, along with some of the articles from the temple of God. These he carried off to the temple of his god in Babylonia[a] and put in the treasure house of his god.
3 Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, chief of his court officials, to bring into the king’s service some of the Israelites from the royal family and the nobility— 4 young men without any physical defect, handsome, showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well informed, quick to understand, and qualified to serve in the king’s palace. He was to teach them the language and literature of the Babylonians.[b] 5 The king assigned them a daily amount of food and wine from the king’s table. They were to be trained for three years, and after that they were to enter the king’s service.
6 Among those who were chosen were some from Judah: Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. 7 The chief official gave them new names: to Daniel, the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abednego.
8 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. 9 Now God had caused the official to show favor and compassion to Daniel, 10 but the official told Daniel, “I am afraid of my lord the king, who has assigned your[c] food and drink. Why should he see you looking worse than the other young men your age? The king would then have my head because of you.”
11 Daniel then said to the guard whom the chief official had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, 12 “Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. 13 Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food, and treat your servants in accordance with what you see.” 14 So he agreed to this and tested them for ten days.
15 At the end of the ten days they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food. 16 So the guard took away their choice food and the wine they were to drink and gave them vegetables instead.
17 To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds.
18 At the end of the time set by the king to bring them into his service, the chief official presented them to Nebuchadnezzar. 19 The king talked with them, and he found none equal to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah; so they entered the king’s service. 20 In every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king questioned them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in his whole kingdom.
⭐Daniel had unshakeable faith. His trust in the Lord sustained him when he was uprooted from his home, taken into captivity, and sent to a foreign country. It strengthened him as he served under several kings and faced many challenges.
⭐Knowing God and trusting Him are the two key elements of deep faith.
⭐Daniel, who was part of the Israelite nobility, apparently learned about the Lord from a young age. While he was in captivity, his words and actions demonstrated that he knew the Scriptures and he obeyed God. When offered a meal that was incompatible with the dietary laws, he took a great risk by requesting other food.
In verse 9 of today’s passage, we see that God caused the official to show favor to him.
⭐Like Daniel, we are to spend our lives learning and carrying out what pleases our heavenly Father (Col. 1:10). Not only did this young man know what the Scriptures said, but he also trusted the Lord to do as He had promised.
⭐Every time Daniel took a stand for godliness, he was demonstrating his confidence in the heavenly Father. And his friends, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, had unwavering faith as well. They did not know for sure that the Lord would rescue them from the fiery furnace, but they believed He could and trusted that He would do what was right (Dan.3:16-18).
⭐Barriers to unshakeable faith include pride (I won’t admit I need God’s help), arrogance (I know a better way, I do not have to ask God), and self-sufficiency (I can do it myself without His help).
⭐Which of these is keeping you from becoming a person of strong faith? Confess it and turn toward the Lord now.
⭐We are in a terrible and unpredictable world, it is only faith in God, with the exclusion of pride, materialism and worldliness that can sustain us. Make a decision today to follow Jesus Christ no matter the circumstances.
Shalom and Maranatha!