Daniel and his companions are chosen for royal service because they fit within the profile established by Nebuchadnezzar. According to the king, palace officers must have “no blemish” and be “good-looking” (Dan. 1:4, NKJV). Interestingly, sacrifices and people serving in the sanctuary should have no “blemish” (Lev. 22:17-25, Lev. 21:16-24). The Babylonian king seems to compare himself to the God of Israel insofar as he demands similar qualifications for those serving in his palace. On the other hand, such qualifications may inadvertently suggest that Daniel and his compatriots were living sacrifices for God as they faced the challenges of the Babylonian empire.
Read Galatians 2:19-20; Matthew 16:24-26; and 2 Corinthians 4:17. What do these verses tell us about how we can stay faithful amid whatever temptations we face?
God honors the loyalty of the four Hebrew captives, and at the end of their ten-day testing period they look healthier and better-nourished than the other students who have eaten from the royal table. So, God gives His four servants “knowledge and skill in all literature and wisdom”, and to Daniel alone God gives “understanding in all visions and dreams” (Dan. 1:17, NKJV). This gift will play a significant role in Daniel’s prophetic ministry.
Just as God honors the faith of his servants in the Babylonian court, He gives us wisdom as we face the challenges of the world. From the experience of Daniel and his companions, we learn that it is indeed possible to remain untainted by the corrupting elements of our society. We also learn that we do not need to isolate ourselves from society and its cultural life in order to serve God. Daniel and his companions not only live amid a culture built on lies and errors and myths, but are schooled on those lies and errors and myths. And yet, they remain faithful.
|No matter where we live, we face the challenge of staying faithful to what we believe amid cultural and social influences that are contrary to that belief. Identify the negative influences in your culture, and ask yourself: How well am I defying them?|