Per Fidem Intrepidus means "Fearless Through Faith". My courage isn't my own, it comes from the Holy Spirit, it's my faith in God and my personal savior Christ Jesus that calms my fears and allows me to move forward in this fallen world. Personally I'm afraid of a lot of stuff, but having the faith that Jesus adopted me as his little, sin filled, brother keeps me going.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

OT Tuesday: Daniel - No Compromises

When we last saw our hero Daniel he and his friends were captured, enslaved, and dragged off to Babylon, where they were being trained to become a translators and liaisons for King Nebuchadnezzar's court. Daniel and his friends were given new names, Daniel was named Belteshazzar, Hananiah became Shadrach, Mishael became Meshach; and Azariah became Abednego.

The boys were captured and entered into training on lanugages and protocol on King Nebuchadnezzar's orders:
Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, the chief of his officials, to bring in some of the sons of Israel, including some of the royal family and of the nobles, youths in whom was no defect, who were good-looking, showing intelligence in every branch of wisdom, endowed with understanding and discerning knowledge, and who had ability for serving in the king’s court; and he ordered him to teach them the literature and language of the Chaldeans. (Daniel 1:3-4)
 Nebuchadnezzar wanted these boys to be court servants, to translate between Babylonian and Hebrew for the king so he could communicate with his new subjects. Taking "some of the royal family and of the nobles" was a time honored tradition and a good move, as these kids are now hostages. The Israeli royal family and nobles are not going to start an uprising against Nebuchadnezzar when he's holding their sons. Normally these hostages are treated very well, they are prisoners but they're also valuable so they're treated properly so not to antagonize their families back home. Nebuchadnezzar ordered that Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego be well treated and well fed, and this became the first condition that Daniel refused to obey.

But Daniel made up his mind that he would not defile himself with the king’s choice food or with the wine which he drank; so he sought permission from the commander of the officials that he might not defile himself. (Daniel 1:8)
 Daniel did this little protest right. First of all, he didn't do it just to show that he was displeased with his captivity, he did it because the local food wasn't prepared according to the Mosaic law, in other words, it wasn't kosher and eating it would break his vow of obedience to God. The Babylonians had sacrificed this food to their idol god and Daniel refused to do anything that would cause anyone to think that he was denying the one true God. 

Secondly he didn't go on a hunger strike to show defiance, instead he asked permission from the head eunuch to forego the court diet and eat just water and vegetables. In fact he went to add 'test us yourselves and if it don't work out we'll do what you say':
12 “Please test your servants for ten days, and let us be given some vegetables to eat and water to drink. 13 Then let our appearance be observed in your presence and the appearance of the youths who are eating the king’s choice food; and deal with your servants according to what you see.” (Daniel 1:12-13)
And of course they ate their requested diet and of course after 10 days they looked healthier than the other youths who were eating the court diet. Daniel refused to compromise his faith in God and was rewarded in return. At all times Daniel was polite and respectful with his captors while being faithful to God and God never abandoned him.

At then end of their three year training Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were presented to King Nebuchadnezzar who queried them on their training. Nebuchadnezzar found them to be exceptional students and appointed them to be his personal servants. He found them to be "ten times better than all the magicians and conjurers" that he previously consulted.

For his faithfulness and unwillingness to compromise God had rewarded Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego;
As for these four youths, God gave them knowledge and intelligence in every branch of literature and wisdom; Daniel even understood all kinds of visions and dreams. (Daniel 1:17)
This talent that God gave Danial, to interpret dreams and visions, would remain with him for the rest of his life, and God would use it to the utmost. As we progress through the book of Daniel we need to keep in mind as Christians that the talents, skills, and abilities that God gives us are not for our own personal entertainment but to allow us to become a tool for God's own personal use.We will see how God uses Daniel for His own purposes and to eventually communicate to us here in the 21st century and our children. God has a will for each of our lives and He equips us with the talents to fulfill that will. Hudson Taylor is quoted to have said, "God's work, done God's way, will never lack God's supply."

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