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Oct 10 2011

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Children’s Devo – Dare to Be A Daniel

The book of Daniel in the Old Testament is full of the adventure.  This is the beginning of Daniel’s story.

Along with many other bright, handsome Jewish young men, Daniel and three of his friends had been kidnapped and taken away from their families and friends.  They were taken to Babylon, where King Nebuchadnezzar ordered that they should be trained to be his servants.  It must have been very hard for all of these young men.  They had to learn a new language, study the literature and customs of the Chaldeans, and be trained for a job that they had not chosen for themselves.

Daniel made an important decision right from the start, and he must have influenced his three friends, Hannaniah, Mishael, and Azariah to make the same choice.  Daniel 1:8 says that Daniel “purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself.”  He made a decision to follow God’s laws, no matter what.  He loved God. Although he was suddenly forced to live in a land where people did not know and love God (and even worshiped idols), he would not turn away from following God.  These four guys must have known that their very lives could be in danger if they took a stand for God.

It wasn’t long before they were put to their first test.  The king’s official who was in charge of them announced that they were all being put into a three-year training program. The king himself was providing rich, exotic foods and wine from his own table for all of them to eat while they were in training.  The problem was that Jews had strict dietary laws that God had given them.  There were some kinds of foods that they were not supposed to eat, and they also knew that God did not want them to get drunk with wine.  Also, it’s very possible that the kings’ food had been laid out in front of idols in hopes that the idols would “bless” it.  They knew that it would be wrong to accept food that was offered to idols.  They only wanted God’s blessings.

Dare to Be a Daniel

Daniel Refuses the King's Food

Only Daniel and his three friends were willing to take a stand though.  None of the other young men objected to eating the food and drinking the wine that had been provided by the king.

God gave Daniel an idea of how to handle this.  He was very respectful as he approached the official.  He did not rebel, argue, or refuse to take the training that the king had ordered.  Instead he showed respect for the authority of the king’s official by asking him for permission to eat only the foods that God allowed.  God gave Daniel favor with the king’s official.  When we treat those in authority over us with respect, God will give us favor with them also.

The official wanted to help Daniel, but he was afraid the king would be angry with him and kill him if all of the young men did not eat the king’s food.  He thought they would not be healthy looking if they didn’t eat what the king had provided.  God inspired Daniel to ask him for a test.  He said, “How about if my friends and I don’t eat anything but vegetables and drink only water for ten days?  Check out how we look at the end of that time, and then make a decision about whether we need to eat the king’s food or not.”  Daniel was taking a step of faith – believing that if he and his three friends honored God, that God would keep them healthy and strong.

Well, the ten days went by.  It might have been hard for Daniel and his friends to know that all the other guys were eating fancy elegant foods while they only ate vegetables.  But they worshiped only the one true God, and they knew that He would bless them for their obedience.  What the official noticed at the end of the ten day was that Daniel and his friends did not look unhealthy at all.  In fact, he noticed that they looked healthier than all of the guys who had been eating the kings’ food!  So from that time on, they had permission to eat only they types of food that God wanted them to eat.

As the training period went on, God blessed them for their obedience in honoring Him.  Daniel 1:17 says that He gave them great knowledge and skill in all the things that they were studying, and He gave them wisdom.  Learning and gaining knowledge is important, but without wisdom we will not know how to use our knowledge in the right way.  I’m sure that Daniel and His friends continued to pray and obey God in more ways than what we are told in Daniel 1.  That is why God helped them to be excellent students and to have great wisdom.  Daniel even became able to have understanding of visions and dreams!  As he became close to God, God expanded his abilities to get revelation from God.  We too can receive revelation from God when we seek Him and spend time with Him.

I think it’s interesting that these four friends did not become angry at God when they were taken away from everything and everyone they knew and loved.  They could have decided to not follow God any more.  But their love for God was so strong that they purposed in their hearts to follow Him, no matter what!  And He blessed them for this.  He also blesses us when we continue to love and serve Him, even when things in life get hard.

All of the guys who had been brought into training to serve the king had to be interviewed by the king so that he could decide which ones to make into important leaders in his kingdom.  In Daniel 1:19 we find out that the king was super impressed with Daniel and his three friends.  In his eyes, they were the top of the class!  He must have been amazed, for he found that in every area of wisdom and understanding, they were ten times better than any of his magicians and astrologers whom he had been consulting in the past.  No one came anywhere close to them in having the ability to give the king good advice.

As we purpose in our hearts to follow God and draw close to Him through prayer, worshiping Him, and reading the Bible, our wisdom and understanding will increase also.

 

There is a song that I used to sing in Sunday School when I was a kid.  It’s called “Dare to Be a Daniel.”  The song challenges us to be bold for God and to stand up for Him, living our lives like Daniel did.  Here is the song on a video:

 

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