I decided over my summer break to take the leap and begin this book with my students, a group of young ladies. We are three weeks into the study and I got through verse 8! I've been fascinated with this young man and the sovereign hand of God in His life.
Daniel was about 15 years old when he and about 70 other royal boys were taken captive by Nebuchadnezzar, during the reign of Jehoiakim. It's a fairly familiar story, however there are things that are not so obvious. For instance, I never realized that Daniel was born about 18 years after Josiah, one of the few godly kings, began reigning in Jerusalem. Daniel's parents were part of the revival and the finding of the lost scrolls. Could that be why he was named "God is my Judge"? For certain it is a reason he knew his Scriptures and was committed to them.
The boldness of Daniel as he refused to compromise where God's Word was clear is a challenge to me. He didn't beat around the bush or make excuses. He simply told the ruler that his food would defile him. He was unwilling to step down but he was willing to accept whatever consequences there might be.
It seems to me that he must have had Psalm 37 memorized:
Do not fret because of evildoers,
Be not envious toward wrongdoers.
For they will wither quickly like the grass and fade like the green herb.
Trust in the LORD and do good;
Dwell in the the land and cultivate faithfulness.
Delight yourself in the LORD;
and He will give you the desires of your heart.
Commit yoru way to the LORD,
Trust also in Him, and He will do it.
He will bring forth your righteousness as the light,
and your judgment as the noonday.
The Psalm goes on a while longer, but the point is simple, obey God and trust Him to take care of your enemies. Daniel had to have had the bigger picture in his mind than just that one meal, he had to be trusting God to keep His word. Even more importantly he feared God rather than man. That is my prayer, for myself and my family. That we would be bold and uncompromising and fear God rather than men.