The Chief of the Wise Men

danielOne of my favorite Old Testament Books is Daniel. I guess I like it because I like Bible prophecy. But I also like Daniel. His life is an enormous encouragement to me.

First of all as a Jewish youth he is taken to Babylon after King Nebuchadnezzar besieged and defeated Judah. A devout Israelite, Daniel is immersed in a very worldly culture. He is chosen to for training in the language and literature of the Babylonians in order to serve this foreign king. The training will take three years! But he never responds in a negative way. He only “purposes in his heart that he would not defile himself with the King’s delicacies.” (1:8)

When he had completed his training, he and three of his friends were interviewed by the king. There were none found like him and his friends, and they served the king. (1:19)

It is clear that Daniel and his friends would not have had much in common with the Babylonians. In fact, God had often instructed the Jewish people to be separate from the nations around them so that they would not be tempted into following their wicked ways. But now as punishment for their disobedience, God placed the Jewish people in the middle of a culture that He warned against.

It is a picture of what God has done with the church – with you and me. We’re not here because he has punished us, but he has placed us in the world that wants to have nothing to do with Him. We live in the world but were not to be of the world. He has placed us here to testify of Him. So why do I complain of court rulings, governmental decisions, and politicians? Why do I criticize the way the world acts? Why do I moan when things don’t go right?

Like Daniel God has placed us where we are for His purpose. Daniel did his job, and he did it well in the midst of a godless culture. I believe he saw past his momentary conflicts and problems and saw an eternal divine purpose for his situation. Because of Daniel’s faithfulness God blessed him and brought Daniel “into the favor and goodwill of the chief of eunuchs.”(1:9) Eventually, the king promoted him and made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon and chief administrator over all the wise men of Babylon. (2:48) We may not rise to such a height. However, we can be faithful where we are and set a godly example for those around us. We must see our life in the purpose and plan of God.

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