“God gave these four young men knowledge and skill in both books and life. In addition, Daniel was gifted in understanding all sorts of visions and dreams. At the end of the time set by the king for their training, the head of the royal staff brought them in to Nebuchadnezzar. When the king interviewed them, he found them far superior to all the other young men. None were a match for Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah.” – Daniel 1:17-19.
What happens when we face adversity? Are we shaken to the core? Do our core beliefs seem less important? Do we compromise? Daniel had to answer all those questions. His answers are found in Daniel 1:1-21.
In the beginning of this chapter, we find the king of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar, capturing Jerusalem. During this process, King Nebuchadnezzar ordered his chief of officials to bring some of the royal, Israelite, men into his service. The king wanted young men who were the cream of the crop. They were to be handsome without any physical defect, quick to understand, and knowledgeable. The king gave them a daily amount of food and wine. And he wanted them to be taught the language and books of Babylon (Daniel 1:3-5).
Among the man, were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. In this new place with these new customs, Daniel made a commitment to himself, not to defile his body. He went to the official and asked him if he could eat vegetables and drink water, instead of partaking in the king’s food and wine like the others.The official was reluctant because of the king, but he agreed to Daniel’s request for a 10 day test to see how the Israelites compared to the others eating the King’s food and wine. For 10 days, Daniel and his friends only ate vegetables and drank water. At the end of 10 days, Daniel and his friends looked better than the other men (Daniel 1:11-13). After seeing this, the official took away the king’s royal food and wine and gave everyone vegetables to eat and water to drink (Daniel 1:14-16).
When we are faced with adversity in our lives, it could be the perfect excuse for us to give up and to do what we want to do, or what others want us to do. Like Daniel, when adversity has the potential to shake our world is when we should press harder and be more committed to God and our faith in Him. When everyone is doing one thing, Daniel stood out from the others because he was willing to do something different and not fall into the norm of everyone around him. What would we do in that situation?
In our world today, there are so many temptations and opportunities to stray away from God. But, it’s important for us to be committed to God, even in the small things. Like Daniel and his friends we must make up our minds that we are going to follow God and do His will, even when our world is shaken. That is when we need to choose God over compromise as Daniel chose God over captivity.
In this chapter, we see that even in unfortunate circumstances God is still there with us. He is working on our behalf, even when it seems that He isn’t. God was right there with Daniel in captivity making a way for them, helping them with the official and the king.
- Which of the points in Daniel’s story resonated with circumstances you face in your life that need hope verses frustration? How do you overcome frustration in adversity?
- Obeying God rather than men doesn’t mean you have to be aggressive and disagreeable. What approach did Daniel use when the overseer wanted them to eat from the King’s table?