February 26, 2017
READ: Daniel 1:1-21
But Daniel was determined not to defile himself by eating the food and wine given to them by the king (v.8).
One of the most exciting journeys I’ve ever embarked on was relocating to the United States as a teenager. I was anxious to experience everything the US had to offer, but also nervous about fitting in at my new school. Although not everything went according to plan, I eventually settled in and began a new phase of my life.
After King Nebuchadnezzar besieged and controlled Jerusalem, he ordered his chief of staff to select healthy and handsome young men from Judah’s royal family “to serve in the royal palace” (Daniel 1:4). Even though Daniel and his friends made the list, they probably experienced a wide range of emotions during their trip. The young men were to be “ ‘[trained] in the language and literature of Babylon.’ . . . [And] assigned . . . a daily ration of food and wine from [the king’s] kitchens. . . . [After] three years, . . . they would enter the royal service” (vv.4-5). They even received new names in the process (vv.6-7).
All of this immersion should have caused the trainees to forget their culture and God, but Daniel purposed in his heart not to be defiled by the temptations Babylon had to offer (v.8). In essence, he and his friends fixed their hearts and minds on honoring the one true God.
This decision charted the course for the remarkable lives these young men went on to live. Their unwavering faith caused not only King Nebuchadnezzar to proclaim the reality of Israel’s God (3:28-29), but—due to Daniel’s testimony—King Darius as well (6:26-27). Because they stood firm in their choice to honor God, an uncertain beginning was transformed into a glorious legacy.
By God’s power and strength, may we also create legacies of faith that point all around us to Him!
365-day plan: Deuteronomy 34:1-12
Read Isaiah 43:19 and consider what happens when God does something new.
What new thing is happening in your life that’s giving you the opportunity to honor God and point others to Him? How has God equipped you to follow Him even when others don’t?