The book of Daniel is full of excellent reading material. It is rich with prophecy. It chronicles a period of Israel’s captivity into Babylon and of the Medes and Persians. The book of Daniel is full of such great truths such as the three Hebrew boys not bowing before the idol and being thrown into the fiery furnace, and Daniel continuing to pray to the One True God and being thrown into the Lion’s Den.
But at the very beginning is where I want to start in Daniel with this blog. Too often we jump to the most preached from stories and linger there. Today I want you to linger with me in the first chapter of Daniel.
Four “children” are taken into the king’s court to serve him. These children are noted for their skillful wisdom, cunning knowledge, understanding of science, and were well favored. Scholars place the age of these children somewhere around twelve years old. Among all the children, four stood out from the rest, and are the foundation of this blog:
1) Daniel - meaning, “God is my Judge.”
2) Hananiah - meaning, “God has favored, or God is gracious.”
3) Mishael - meaning, “Who is what God is?”
4) Azariah - meaning, “God has helped, or Whom God helps.”
These four, along with all the other children, were taken into the king’s palace and served wine and meat that had been sacrificed to idols. But the leader of these four children, Daniel, purposed in his heart not to defile himself in this manner. Imagine having children that know enough about God that they understand what NOT to do, even when mom and dad aren’t around to make sure!
WOW! Talk about standing out!
There was no pastor, youth leader, or Sunday school teacher to make sure that these children walked in obedience to God’s Word. Daniel and his companions knew that to disobey would invite God’s displeasure.
This is also a testimony to parents that had done what God instructed them to do…
Deuteronomy 6:4-9 (KJV Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord:  And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.  And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart:  And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.  And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes.  And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates.
Parents, don’t be afraid to “indoctrinate” your kids, Hollywood isn’t! Hollywood doesn’t mind being their babysitter and telling them stories. DON’T LET THIS HAPPEN! Stand up in your home! Stand up in your car! Stand up in your community! Stand up in church! Your children are watching you and want to be just like you when they grow up! Show them a good example to follow!
God forbid that you would die while your children are still young like these Hebrew boys, but if you do, I pray that you’ve invested time and truth into them that will live on long after your body is buried in the grave! I’ve said it countless times, “It’s better to leave something IN your children, than TO them!” Money will fade away. Cars will break down. Even heirlooms that you pass on will become lost or broken, or lose their sentimental value. But passing down a passion and love for truth will transcend generation after generation!
Back to Daniel 1…
These four Hebrew boys determine not to defile themselves, and even though Melzar, the prince of the eunuchs is unsure, he amazingly allows Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah to only eat vegetables during their “purification” before they are to appear before king Nebuchadnezzar. Milzar fears for his life, because if these four boys do not look presentable when it comes time to meet the king, his life will be in danger.
Day after day goes by. You can imagine Melzar’s fears begin to mount at the end of the ninth day. But to his shock, at the end of the tenth day, he sees Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah and notices that their appearance is BETTER than those that ate the meat sacrificed to idols.
The clincher, though, comes in verse twenty as the king notices these four Hebrews willing to stand up and stand out for their God, and the Bible records that the king found them “ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in his kingdom in ALL matters of wisdom and understanding.”
WOW! Talk about God putting the icing on the cake!
That’s what happens when you stand up and stand out for God! He causes you to be ten times better than those who don’t stand up and out for Him!
From the unchurhed people I’ve met recently, there is one common theme among them - they are looking for someone who genuinely stands up and stands out! Church, it’s time for us to stand up! It’s time for us to stand out! You might be made fun of initially. You may even suffer, like the three Hebrew boys did later in Daniel when they were thrown into the fiery furnace, BUT IF YOU STAND UP AND STAND OUT, GOD WILL STAND WITH YOU!
Who will join me? God is ready to stand with you!