Shocks happen – that’s life! Faithful Christians too can feel trapped in adverse circumstances. How will they cope, and even triumph in such crises? A lot happened to one of God’s heroes in the 34 years … and counting … between the opening date of Daniel chapter 1(verse Daniel 1:1) and the date with which the chapter closes (verse Daniel 1:21). The saga of his victory in trials is an instructive and inspiring story.
- Daniel’s Rearing His early advantages were all God-given. They mirror the birthright privileges of all who are in Christ Jesus:
 his royal blood (‘of royal family’, verse Daniel 1: 3; Hebrew ‘seed of the kingdom’) – compare ‘… you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through … the good news that was preached to you’ (1 Peter 1:23-25)
 his youth (verse Daniel 1:4a) – compare ‘… your youth is renewed like the eagle’s’ (Psalm 103:3; see 2 Corinthians 4:16)
 his health (verse Daniel 1:4b) – ‘… him who is able … to present you blameless before the presence of his glory’ (Jude 24)
 his skills (verse Daniel 1: 4c) – ‘… you are not lacking in any spiritual gift’ (1 Corinthians 1:7)
 his close fellowship circle (verse Daniel 1:6) – three famous fellow-heroes, and the public ministry of Jeremiah throughout his entire boyhood in Jerusalem (see Jeremiah 25:1-14)
- Daniel’s Restriction His uprooting from home and exile in a foreign land were also God-ordained (verse Daniel 1:2) – compare ‘elect exiles of the dispersion’ (1 Peter 1:1-2).
- Daniel’s Resolve (verse Daniel 1:8) to observe the kosher laws of diet (meat with blood in would have defiled him), and to abstain from wine (that was normally imbibed with strong drink at the annual temple festivals, see Deuteronomy 14:22-27). The temple vessels were now in Babylon’s pagan temple. And he and his mates had had name changes from Jewish versions ending with ‘El’ (God) or ‘Iah’ (the Lord) to names associated with pagan gods (Bel, Aku and Nebo, verses Daniel 1:6-7). Daniel’s diet declared ‘I don’t have table fellowship with local deities; my food comes from the God of heaven.’ After graduation he seemed to normalise his menu to include meat and wine – except during brief periods of intensified prayer and partial fasting (see Daniel 1:10:3).
- Daniel’s Resources came through God-given assistance (verse Daniel 1:9). The emperor’s agent felt empathy towards this gifted lad sent off to boarding school!
- Daniel’s Regime of a ten day trial diet paid off in radiant health (verses 10-16).
- Daniel’s Recognition (verses Daniel 1:17-20) – he graduated in both intellectual (‘in learning and literature’) and spiritual achievements (‘and understanding in all visions and dreams’ – see chapters Daniel 2:0; 4:0; 5:0; 6:0; 7:0; 8:0; 9:0; 10:0; 11:0; 12:0).
- Daniel’s Resilience (verse Daniel 1: 21) was lifelong due to postage stamp ‘stick-to-it-iveness’!
* Let’s quit bemoaning our lot, get stuck in and prove by God’s grace we too are heroes!