Monday, July 26, 2010

Determining to Obey • Daniel 1

Four young men from Judah — Daniel, Hananiah, 
Mishael, and Azariah — were among those selected.
Daniel 1:6

But Daniel determined that he would not defile himself... 
Daniel 1:8

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. 
Daniel 1:17

Daniel and his friends were placed in a very challenging 
and unusual situation. Here they were, exiles in Babylon — 
removed completely from their homeland and 
all that they had ever known as they grew up in Judah. 
And now, here they were, being trained up in the 
Babylonian culture in order to be of service to the king.

They were young, possibly VERY young. 
They were given new names. Their Jewish names celebrated God. 
Their Babylonian names celebrated Babylons gods. 
They were being schooled in the language and ways of the Babylonians.

This all must have seemed so big and scary and wrong! 
How could being trained up in the ways of Babylon be serving God? 
How could being totally immersed in a 
Godless culture be the right thing to do? 
They so easily could have turned from God 
and all that they had learned growing up.

God had a plan and a calling for them. 
They stayed strong. They firmly trusted God. 
They determined — made a purposeful choice and acted on that choice — 
not to defile themselves.

Daniel took a chance, a big chance, 
by requesting that they eat different food. 
But, he made his request respectfully and full of trust in God.

God granted them favor with the head of the palace staff. 
He blessed their obedience. 
He further blessed them with knowledge and skill 
and even gave Daniel special gifts.

These gifts were given to further serve 
God and others with their lives.

As a mother, I am challenged to raise up my kids 
in the knowledge and fear of the Lord. 
I am challenged to demonstrate trust and reliance 
on God for my kids, so that they learn from my example. 
The mothers of these Hebrew boys must have been faithful 
in the training up of their children, for these young men 
to be so faithful to God in the face of so much adversity.

What also stands out to me is how 
God blesses obedience. He is so faithful. 
He called these young men to a big task, 
but as they followed Him in obedience, 
He gave them what they needed 
to do what He called them to do.

"May God Himself, the God who makes everything 
holy and whole, make you holy and whole, 
put you together —spirit, soul, and body — 
and keep you fit for the coming of our Master, Jesus Christ. 
The One who called you is completely dependable. 
If He said it, He'll do it!"
1 Thessalonians 5:23-24

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