Saturday Morning Promises – Great Stories
Then the king instructed Ashpenaz, the master of his eunuchs, to bring some of the children of Israel and some of the king’s descendants and some of the nobles, young men in whom there was no blemish, but good-looking, gifted in all wisdom, possessing knowledge and quick to understand, who had ability to serve in the king’s palace, and whom they might teach the language and literature of the Chaldeans. And the king appointed for them a daily provision of the king’s delicacies and of the wine which he drank, and three years of training for them, so that at the end of that time they might serve before the king. Now from among those of the sons of Judah were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. To them the chief of the eunuchs gave names: he gave Daniel the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abed-Nego. But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s delicacies, nor with the wine which he drank; therefore he requested of the chief of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself. (Daniel 1:3-8)
The Character Of Right Decisions
Life is filled with many battles. Often they are only skirmishes but more often than not the larger battles defeat us. We are overcome with the enormity of the challenge that we face and find it difficult to find a way to overcome. The key to winning the battles of life is to learn the lesson of early conditioning. Making right decisions today will help us make right decisions later in life. Sometimes the early decisions we make are not huge but without the character of making the right decisions in the small battles we will not be able to overcome the larger battles looming on the horizon.
Daniel and his friends were captives. Ripped from their homeland and made slaves of the conquering nation, they were in a less than ideal circumstance. Blessed with wisdom, good looks and a gift to serve in the palace of a king, they were put into a three year training program preparing them for the service of Nebuchadnezzar. The course of their training was learning the Babylonian language and the literature of Babylon. Their names were changed from giving honor to Jehovah God to names giving honor to the Babylonian gods. This was a quite a dramatic change for the four Jewish young men. It was also in their training to enjoy the provisions of the king’s delicacies and the wine which he drank. Most slaves would not enjoy the finer things of life. Daniel and his friends were in a fortunate position.
When the four young men were told their names would be changed there was a resignation to accept it with little objection. Interesting in the book of Daniel he retains his Jewish name but the other three are better known by their Babylonian names rather than their Jewish names. Learning the language and culture of the captive land would also be an advantage for them. They accepted this with the opportunity to serve the king. But the requirement to eat from the king’s table was an exception. Daniel had purposed in his heart not to defile himself with this food. Without the favor of God this would have been a very dangerous decision to make. Daniel trusted in the Lord.
The key to book of Daniel is this bold decision to refuse the king’s delicacies. If Daniel and his friends did not take a stand for righteousness in the beginning there would be no courage to stand before a fiery furnace or a den of lions. The character of making the right decisions knows how important the small choices we make impact the larger decisions later on. Daniel trusted in God in every part of his life. The boldness of Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah to refuse to fall down to worship the image of Nebuchadnezzar had already been cemented in the faith earlier. Daniel’s courage to continue to pray as he always did; suffering the penalty of being thrown into a lion’s den – came from the courage in chapter one. They were faithful to God in everything they did.
Daniel and his friends show us a pattern of character we must follow every day. Preparing for battle tomorrow takes conditioning today. Win those small battles of faith today with courage and you will find the strength to face the larger battles tomorrow. The book of Daniel is a great story.
Courage is never to let your actions be influenced by your fears. (Arthur Koestler, Arrow in the Blue, 1951)