Israel under Jehoiakim, suffered the humiliation and shame of defeat at the hands of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon.
The humiliation cut across every aspect of life; their economy, politics and worst of all, their religion. All the gold-plated fixtures, fittings and utensils of the temple were conveyed to the treasure house of Nebuchadnezzar’s god.
Daniel was one of the children taken captive by the Babylonians. They were stripped of everything they had. They had to be taught the language and customs of the Chaldeans. They were not even spared their identity – even their names were taken away from them ( Daniel 1: 7)
The king commanded that a select number of strong, healthy and good looking and intelligent young men be selected from the captives and be educated in every branch of knowledge that will enable them serve in the royal palace.
It is not stated in scripture the reason why Nebuchadnezzar made this decision but one thing was sure, it was all part of God’s plan for the children of Israel. I believe it was God’s way of letting the Israelites know that even when they were going through the consequences of their sin, He was not willing to leave them all by themselves.
In spite of all that happened to them however, there was one thing the Babylonians could not take away from Daniel; his devotion to God. They may have changed his name but they could not change his nature. As a result of his elevated status, the king assigned a daily ration to him and the other selected ones from the royal kitchens while they were being trained.
Daniel’s response to the kings meal was indicative of the kind of person that he was. He was determined not to defile himself by eating the food and wine given to him by the king (Daniel 1:8) Although it is not specifically mentioned, there must have been something wrong with the way the Babylonians prepared their meals. The Jews were strict with the kind of meat they ate and how it should be prepared. Although Daniel was in a strange land and living among strange people, he never forgot his God nor did he forget the customs of his people.
Daniel requested permission from the King’s Chief of staff not to eat the unacceptable food but to be given vegetables and water alone. God had given the Chief of staff a likeness and admiration for Daniel and he expressed his concern about the king’s reaction if Daniel did not far well physically as a result of just being on a diet of vegetables. Having been assured by Daniel however, he granted Daniel’s wish.
What a lesson to learn from this wise, intelligent and godly fellow! Many people today, even sadly some Christians, throw caution to the wind when they are away from familiar environments. Business trips for many are often excuses for engaging in extramarital affairs and reckless partying.
Daniel is our example of a man devoted to his God in spite of changes to his circumstances and location. We should not allow changes to our circumstances – whether positively or negatively to affect our devotion and service to God.
Are you determined not to pollute yourself with what looks good on the outside but is tied to sin and compromise? Will we take positions of prestige offered to us if only we can compromise a little here and there?
If you are at this point, take a cue from Daniel. He gave no excuse. He was determined, he was focused and he was uncompromising about where his ultimate loyalty lay.
Steve Popoola is the editor of Biblepraise Newsletter and the founder of the Biblepraise Fellowship Online at http://www.biblepraise.org. He lives in Kent, United Kingdom, where he works as an IT Professional. He currently serves as a Worship Leader, Home Group Leader and Bible Teacher in his local church. He also speaks at invited events. He can be reached through His email address, firstname.lastname@example.org