The story of Daniel in Daniel 1, is a wonderfully encouraging and challenging story of commitment and courage.Â It is also a familiar story to many and often relegated to “it’s a kid’s story.”
And yes, it should be taught to kids–not because it is simple or simplistic–but because it is profound.Â And though it is appropriate for kids because it is profound–it should also be taught to adult because it is simple.
The book of Daniel as a whole could be summarize as teaching the sovereign plan of the One true providential God.Â That sounds lofty.Â And yes, it deals practically and prophetically with the Kingdom of God during Gentile times.
But right now I am interested profiting from the prophet, the man Daniel.
Daniel 1 tells the story of Daniel abduction, exile to Babylon, the attempts of his captors to brainwash–transform him into a productive member of the Babylonian society.Â They assumed that for him to be a productive member, he needed to be Babylonian.Â So they changed his location, name and dress. They wanted him to have a Babylonian world view so they put him through their educational system.Â They wanted him to develop a taste for their foods and customs so provided him with the best.
But Daniel teaches us how to be resident aliens. How to be influential and productive in the country we live in, while never forgetting where we are from.
Jeremiah 29:4-9 helps us understand that though we are resident aliens, we are to make an impact on our host country.
How did Daniel distinguish himself as a resident alien?
He determined or resolved not to defile himself (Daniel 1:8).
He wanted to do what was right personally–that’s purity
He wanted to do what was right before God–that’s piety
He wanted to do what was right before other–that’s propriety
He was not content to simple be anonymous and keep his “religion” to himself.Â He understood that purity and piety, though developed from the inside must give evidence on the outside.Â So when he approached the individual under whose care he had been placed, he requested–not demanded, he sought a win-win compromise–instead of projecting a defiant attitude.
That is a great lesson.Â Daniel was a man of integrity.
Integrity is a word we through around often without thinking about it definition, it is being true, whole, undivided.Â It is being what you are whether in private or public.Â Or we could define integrity as a math problem:
Conviction + Courage – a concern for consequence = Integrity.
That is Daniel.
There is so much more–like the “behind the scenes” activity of God (Daniel 1:2, 9, 17).
But one more simple, practical and convicting lesson from Daniel 1.
Daniel 1 ends on an editorial note.Â The story teller interjects a historical notation, which presents us with another lesson.
When we compare the dates in Daniel 1:1 and Daniel 1:21 (and add to it Daniel 10) we find that Daniel serve a series of different kings for a total of no less than 64 years.
Daniel finished well.
He not only determined not to defile himself at one point in his youth, but for his whole life.Â He did not take a vacation from being a God-follower.Â He remained consistent and committed throughout his life.
Oh, that that be true of me.