In Daniel 1 we read about the Southern state of Juda being captured and then that the young noble men and boys were taken to serve a foreign pagan king.
Can you imagine how it must have felt to lose everything, to be taken away from your country to a foreign place of despicable acts and defilement? Can you image families being torn apart, beaten, people tied together and having to walk in the scorching heat with blistering heels, hungry, thirsty and not sure if they would last another day?
Yet, what we read about Daniel trying to persuade his new masters not to eat unholy food, was a young man with sober thoughts. He could have sunk sulking about his losses, about God rejecting him, but such is not mentioned. Today many people would have blamed God for actually carrying out the judgement He prophesied, yet Daniel’s heart was right with God. He was a principled young man, who was not bothered about being politically correct, not living in fear and also not quitting after his request was first denied.
Even though He knew that God had punished Israel he did not sulk saying God had left them, his actions actually showed that of someone who was very confident in God’s protection and blessings. It was like this whole thing of losing his promised land didn’t get to him. He was taken from his parents, yet showed no hatred towards the Babylonians.
Surely his peers were putting pressure on him to comply, to be obedient, to forget about Israel and just to fit in, not to be killed or having all of them punished for his so-called resistance to change.
We only need to think a bit what it would have been like to realize how amazing this young man was, but if Daniel didn’t have this attitude there would not have been a book about him in the bible. Instead, three other young men came to him and joined in a common cause of honouring God despite all else.
We know how that story ends – God honoured them in return and gave them more wisdom, knowledge and insight above all else. Surely some of their peers were jealous of them.
There is a Daniel 3, that followed the earlier victory of Daniel 1. Here beloved brother Daniel was probably not around as only Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego has been challenged. These young men were greatly envied, for the respect they have received from the court, for the financial benefits they enjoyed and the status in society. Yet, the tale shows exactly the same integrity as children of the Living God, as it was earlier.
Surely they were warned once again by their fellow citizens not to go against the king, to be politically correct for the sake of society and the remaining Jews. Can you imagine the shock it sent through the civil service that these young men were refusing to honour the king? Boldly they told Nebuchadnezzar that they would not worship him, that even if they would be killed it would not make a difference.
And again God honoured them and bestowed more power onto them and honouring their God as the supreme Being in the universe.
The problem today is that we are not taught to be bold for our faith, to stand firm on biblical principles. “You can worship God quietly”, or “Do not preach this or that”. Will the preachers of today stand like this? Would the church members have more guts than the board or preacher perhaps?
In our country, South Africa, the judges are addressed as “Your worship”, which was part of the communistic agenda. I think this is blasphemy – against the 1st Commandment. How about preaching against topics like false religions, of warped morals and speak out against evil? Is it so important to be politically correct that the church became useless to protect the new generation against the daily attacks? Why are our churches full of broken homes even more than the world? Why are Christians sometimes being branded as bad for business, instead of people having reverence for the children of God being Unashamedly Ethical?
What about speaking against injustice and judgement, about repentance and submission, about taking up your cross?
Young people do not want political correctness from the previous generation, they need something to believe in. They are not stupid and can figure out who has substance and who not. They need us to show the way, how to fear God, to be strong and courageous.
It starts with a decision today, perhaps a repentance of past mistakes. It is OK to be scared, but vital to fear God more.
In recent times every time the enemy attacked and stole from me God has given me back more. Daniel 1, 3 and the whole book of Job is there to show you it has always been his way. So, you don’t have to fear. Even if you would be killed for your faith, nothing in this earth can every compare to eternity in God’s presence. May God make us strong like those four youngsters in the book of Daniel!