“Then the king instructed Ashpenaz, the master of his eunuchs, to bring some of the children of Israel and some of the king’s descendants and some of the nobles, young men in whom there was no blemish, but good-looking, gifted in all wisdom, possessing knowledge and quick to understand, who had ability to serve in the king’s palace, and whom they might teach the language and literature of the Chaldeans.” (Daniel 1:3-4, NKJV)
Have you ever experienced a situation so sudden and unexpected that it seemed your world changed completely overnight? One day life was good and the next it was chaotic. That must have been how Daniel (Belteshazzar) and his friends Hananiah (Shadrach), Mishael (Meshach), and Azariah (Abednego) felt when Nebuchadnezzar besieged their homeland, and they were carried away as captives.
We don’t know the exact age of the four Hebrew young men when they were taken to Babylon, but they were possibly in their mid-to-late teens. We do know that their life would never be the same again. This was not a small blip that would inconvenience them for a few days; this was a permanent change. They now lived in a new country, were given new names, taught a new language, and learned a new culture. Much of that culture was counter to their worship of the One True God. Although they eventually achieved impressive positions in the kingdom, they were still slaves at the command of a pagan king.
The faith of Daniel and his three friends was constantly challenged on many levels, but they did not waver in their beliefs. How did they stay true to their faith even when severely tested, even to the point of facing death? As we read through the Book of Daniel, we can discover how to live one’s faith even in a godless society. What worked for four Hebrew friends while captives in Babylon will work for us today.
- Resolve to live your convictions. (Daniel 1:8)
- Maintain a consistent prayer life. (Daniel 6:10)
- Show integrity and live above reproach. (Daniel 6:4)
- Keep an excellent spirit. (Daniel 5:12 and 6:3)
- Trust God completely. (Daniel 3:16-18)
As far as I can determine from Scripture, after Daniel was taken from his homeland as a youth, he never saw home again. He lived in Babylon until his death at 85 to 90 years of age. He faithfully served under several kings without compromising his faith. God blessed him and used him in amazing ways despite his difficult circumstances.
I don’t know what situation you may be facing today. Your “trip to Babylon” may mean grief, sickness, financial hardship, or a broken relationship. Perhaps you are being pressured to compromise your integrity on the job or are being ridiculed by others for your faith. Whatever the trials you face, however upside down your world may feel, I can assure you that God will never forsake you or leave you alone. He is right beside you on the journey.
“You are being guarded by God’s power through faith for a salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. You rejoice in this, even though now for a short time, if necessary, you suffer grief in various trials so that the proven character of your faith — more valuable than gold which, though perishable, is refined by fire — may result in praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” (I Peter 1:5-7, CSB)
You may be in the refining fires of affliction now, but those trials are revealing “the character of your faith.” Remain faithful in your trials. God is with you.
Lord, thank You for the many times You held me steady and brought me victoriously through turbulent times in my life. You always were and always will be my strength, my deliverer, my place of safety. I do not need to fear, for You are with me. I place my trust in You because You are completely trustworthy. I rejoice in Your love.