The exile of the Jews into heathen nations gets very personal in Daniel. There we read of four young Hebrew men who are thrust into a totally foreign environment. Everything is different and potentially harmful to their faith. They are given new names that speak of other gods. They are enrolled in a totally new education system, and they are even required to eat totally new food that is contrary to the law of God.
This looks to be a recipe for disaster for vulnerable young men. Yet, they are not victims of circumstance. Like Joseph, they have God with them and they can choose to stand for the Lord. And that is exactly what they do. Daniel models their heart when the Bible says that “He purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank…”
Though in a totally heathen land, separated from family and parents and the law of God. Though there was every advantage to going with the flow and getting on with the good life in Babylon, none of it moved them. They stayed true to God, and their story is one of God honouring them for honouring Him.
What a lesson this was to Israel! Israel was to be God’s light to the nations. They were to follow God’s law, yet they failed. If only they had done as Daniel and his three friends.
This is a lesson for us as well. We live in a world that wants to conform us to its morals, principles, values, and identities. Every temptation awaits and seeks to pull us away from God. Yet, we know the truth and we have the presence of God to help us. We can stand for God, and if we do, He will use us and bless us and honour us.
Let us dare to be a Daniel and dare to stand alone; dare to have a purpose firm and dare to make it know. If we will, who knows what God might do with us!