“Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it… [He] commanded Ashpenaz, his chief eunuch, to bring [to the land of Shinar]… youths without blemish, of good appearance and skillful in all wisdom, endowed with knowledge, understanding learning, and competent to stand in the king’s palace, and to teach them the literature and language of the Chaldeans… But Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the king’s food, or with the wine that he drank… God gave Daniel favor and compassion…
“The king was angry and very furious, and commanded that all the wise men of Babylon be destroyed… They sought Daniel and his companions, to kill them. Then Daniel replied with prudence and discretion to the captain of the king’s guard… The mystery was revealed to Daniel… [who] blessed the God of heaven..:
‘Blessed be the name of God forever and ever,
to whom belong wisdom and might.
He changes times and seasons;
he removes and sets up kings;
he gives wisdom to the wise
and knowledge to those who have understanding;
he reveals deep and hidden things;
he knows what is in the darkness,
and the light dwells with him...’
“‘Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, for all his works are right and his ways are just; and those who walk in pride he is able to humble…'”
“When Daniel knew that the document [that whoever makes petition to any god or man except to the king shall be cast into the den of lions] had been signed, he went to his house.., got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously…
“The king cried out in anguish… ‘O Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to deliver you from the lions?’ Daniel said, ‘O king, live forever!’.. Then King Darius wrote… ‘I decree, that in all my royal dominion people are to tremble and fear before the God of Daniel,
for he is the living God,
and his dominion shall be to the end.
He delivers and rescues;
he works signs and wonders…
he who has saved Daniel
from the power of the lions.’” Daniel 1:1,3-4,8a,9; 2:12-14a,19-22; 4:37; 6:7,10,20-21,25-27
Who would think that a teenager captive in an enemy country would be able to make a lasting difference on godless kings? Yet, from the beginning of his exile in Babylon, Daniel determined to honor his God. This early decision and unwavering, fearless commitment kept him undefiled amid the new world’s enticements, and a brilliant witness for God in a heathen land. Through his steady example, and consistent dependence on the Lord rather than himself, Daniel was used to open the eyes of two pagan kings to the beauties and sovereignty of Almighty God, and transform them forever.
As the Lord used Daniel’s natural gifts and spiritual devotion to affect kingdoms, He gives us daily opportunities to influence our worlds. In workplaces, communities, and even families, we make distinct choices whether to bow to a godless status quo or not. We may never know who is watching, or listening, but the Lord wastes nothing offered in earnest to Him. His Spirit guides and guards our fidelity when we entrust ourselves to His providence. (Romans 12:1-2)
Where has God ordained that we witness to His greatness and glory?
Lord, keep me undeterred in faithfulness that the godless around me might exalt You. (Matthew 5:14-16)