Summary: Daniel 1


Avram Grant is known as the manager who succeeded Jose Mourinho at Chelsea Football Club when the latter left in 2007. Grant was unaware of his father's full story as a Holocaust survivor until he was a teenager when he heard his father screaming in his sleep. His father Meir Grant, the only family member to survive Siberia, was from the town of Mlawa in Poland, where three million Jews lived before the beginning of World War II.

In 1937, Meir's father took his wife and nine children (including Meir) on a three-year trek that would take them across Poland and eventually to Russia. One child was hidden in a monastery. Two were placed in an orphanage. The train they were on was stopped and two more were taken away and never seen again. In Russia the family was left them behind in -40 degrees temperatures and was forced to live in the forest. In total, Meir dug a grave for his father, his mother and other members of his family - all with his own hands.

Avram Grant said, "My father grew up an orthodox Jew, but lost his faith during the war because of what he went through. I think it's easy to understand why. It's impossible to bury half your family and remain unchanged. He never hated anyone. He always told me there were good people as well as the bad. He never held a grudge, never wanted revenge.

"My father suffered a lot but he was most optimistic guy I ever met in my life," Grant said. "He said don't live in past, live in future."

A few years before the southern kingdom of Judah fell to the Babylonians in 586 B.C., Daniel and his three other friends from the royal family were carried as captives and exiles by Nebuchadnezzar in the third year of Jehoiakim, king of Judah One of the four great Old Testament prophets, Daniel was the most outstanding and longest lasting Jewish official in Persia, serving at least 50 years to king Cyrus' reign (Dan 1:21).

How do you survive a Holocaust, a massacre or a tribulation? How do you live positively when negativity persists and prevails? What hope do you have to succeed in work, society and life when the odds are so heavily stacked up against you? Why do some Christians make it in the marketplace and why do some mess up?

Start from the Bottom

1 In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. 2 And the Lord delivered Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, along with some of the articles from the temple of God. These he carried off to the temple of his god in Babylonia and put in the treasure house of his god. 3 Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, chief of his court officials, to bring into the king's service some of the Israelites from the royal family and the nobility-- 4 young men without any physical defect, handsome, showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well informed, quick to understand, and qualified to serve in the king's palace. He was to teach them the language and literature of the Babylonians. 5 The king assigned them a daily amount of food and wine from the king's table. They were to be trained for three years, and after that they were to enter the king's service. 6 Among those who were chosen were some from Judah: Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. 7 The chief official gave them new names: to Daniel, the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abednego. (Dan 1:1-7)

Two young men who had just graduated from Harvard were all excited and talking effusively as they got into a taxi in downtown Boston. After hearing them for a couple of minutes the cab driver asked, "You men Harvard graduates?"

"Yes Sir! Class of '94!" they answered proudly.

The cab driver extended his hand back to shake their hand, saying, "Class of '58."

It is not a coincidence that the verb "besiege" is used for the last time in the Old Testament. It was a new country, a new community and a new culture. The old city was ruined, the old king was removed, and there was no reversal. Living in the new land entailed caution, confusion and compromise. There was nothing to pine for or return to because parts of the old were in the new land. The articles of the temple were carried off to the temple of Nebuchadnezzar's god in Babylonia and put in the treasure house of his idol. The best and the brightest were in exile. It could not get harder and harsher than this. He could not hold on to his country, family or name.

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