Summary: Everyone knows about Daniel in the lions den. Although do you know how he actually ended up where he was in the first place?
Introduction: A whole new world. A new fantastic point of view. Song lyrics from a song from the Disney movie Aladdin, in which the thought of things changing suddenly around you would be wonderful and exciting. Imagine looking down on a city or town and experiencing the excitement and happiness. Changes can be amazing! Although the changes in the life of Daniel were far less happy and exciting. Daniel was born during the middle of King Josiah’s reign, and he grew up during the king’s reform. This reform consisted of removing all Pegan alters and Idols from the Temple and destroying all religious sanctuaries so the Temple of Jerusalem would be the centralizing point of worship. Nebuchadnezzar was the supreme leader of Babylonia, feared by the world and next in line to be king. When Nebuchadnezzar came to overthrow a country, success was almost certain. After Babylonia had achieved victory, they would take all that they wanted and would live peacefully there. With the things that they took, the articles would be taken to the Temple of Jerusalem, to be given to the false god “Bal”. Although they also took captives back to Babylonia whom would serve in the king’s court. With having to serve their new king in a new land, they would also have to learn all about the Pegan culture. The brightest most useful people were taken captives.
Transition: With these many captives that were taken, Daniel was among that group. They endured a 500-mile trek in harsh conditions, in order to get to their “new home” and endure their new training.
Point 1: New Training- Daniel 1:1-4
Daniel wasn’t alone on this new journey; he had his three friends with him. Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. There is no way to tell how many were with them, although these four were the only ones who were named. Together they were going to Babylonia to endure the three-year rigorous training in order to work as assets in the king’s palace once it was completed. The training included learning about many subjects such as agriculture, architecture and many more. Though, the language Akkadian was the most likely to be learned. Akkadian is an ancient language that is sophisticated. Symbols are used in order to represent syllables. Just this language alone would take great discipline and practice. Learning a new language for many if not all people is hard and takes a lot of time. Imagine becoming fluent in a foreign language in as little as three years.
Those who were chosen to endure this training were taken for far more than just their looks or physical normality. They needed to be able to have great intelligence, in order to learn all, the new things that would be required, as well as being disciplined. The ability to demonstrate aptitude combined with integrity will serve them well in their new surroundings. Learning to conform to the ways of those around them lived, so they could fit into the society. All these new things were to be learned by a diverse group of people, whom would be used in Babylonia to give them an advantage on the surrounding areas. This group would also be responsible for teaching the next generation so they could become better and brighter than those before them.
Illustration: Cinderella, a beloved Disney movie, the first ever Disney movie, about a girl who loses her father and is left with her evil stepmother and stepsisters. Although Cinderella didn’t move to a completely new place, her surroundings changed and life as she knew it changed. Instead of being treated as a member of the family, she was now a servant. She did all the housework and chores. The circumstances around her changed. Although Cinderella was able to stay true to what she believed in which was, “to have courage and be kind”. This is precisely what she did. Through the treatment she endured, she stayed true to herself. She was kind and had courage until the very end (of the movie).
Application: In today’s world, and even back in the times of Daniel, it was easy to compromise what you believe in. The way people treat us or changes that are happening around us influence us maybe more than we choose to acknowledge. It’s important that we continue to stay true to God, and in tough times have those around who are also know God. For they can help us with our faith, and struggles. This world will try to get us to conform to their ways and views, but we need to stand strong in our faith no matter the circumstances. Change is inevitable, we can choose to fall over and let ourselves but ran over or stand with God and overcome the obstacles that may come our way.