Daniel Makes a Decision
JULY 8 - Nº 189 Daniel 1
When Nebuchadnezzar was king of Babylon, he invaded Judah several times before he finally conquered Jerusalem. On three separate occasions he captured Jewish citizens and took them off to Babylon. The first group of captives included the best and brightest young men—most of them were related to royalty (see #184 - Babylon Invades Judah). Nebuchadnezzar ordered his officials to put the young men through a tough training program so they would be ready to serve in his palace. They were to become fluent in the Babylonian language and receive the best education available. The program was scheduled to last three years. During their training, the king would provide food and wine from his own table. Four of the young men captured during this invasion were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. As part of their integration into the culture, the young men were given Babylonian names. Daniel became known as Belteshazzar, and his three friends were re-named Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Although they were expected to embrace their new culture, Daniel refused to embrace the Babylonian religion. He decided he would not eat any meat or drink any wine that had been offered to idols. It was a risky decision. He could have been thrown in prison or even executed for defying the king’s orders. Although the king’s overseer liked Daniel a lot, he was not happy with Daniel’s plan. He said, “I cannot let you do that! A day is coming when you will have to stand before the king. When he sees that you aren’t as healthy as the others, he will have me killed!” Daniel spoke privately with the guard who had been assigned to watch over him and his three friends. “Please, test us for 10 days,” he requested. “Give us nothing to eat except vegetables, and we will only drink water. Then see how we look compared to the others. After that, you can decide what we should eat.” The guard agreed to Daniel’s proposal. At the end of the ten days, the four young men looked healthier than any of the others who had eaten the king’s meat and drunk his wine. So the guard continued to give them only vegetables to eat and provide only water for them to drink. God was with Daniel and his friends. He gave them amazing knowledge and understanding in all kinds of literature and learning. Daniel was also given special wisdom to interpret dreams and visions. At the end of their three-year training program, the chief official brought all the young men who were from Judah before King Nebuchadnezzar. As the king interviewed them, he couldn’t find any others who were equal to Daniel and his three friends in any area. The four young friends immediately began serving in his court. Nebuchadnezzar valued the counsel of Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego ten times more than any of his other counselors. Daniel served in the Babylonian palace until he was almost 90 years old.
Daniel chose to obey his conscience. But he was willing to allow his decision to be put to the test. If God chose not to honor it, then he would know that it was not as important as he first thought, and he would submit to the king’s request. Are you willing to trust God and let Him make the final decisions on issues of your conscience? He will never make the wrong decision!