Monday Memo 1137: Faith in Hard Times
It's time this to take a look at another young person who was a champion of purpose in the Bible, and that young person is Daniel. In the book named after him, we read,
The king ordered Ashpenaz, his chief official, to select from among the Israelite exiles some young men of the royal family and of the noble families. They had to be handsome, intelligent, well-trained, quick to learn, and free from physical defects, so that they would be qualified to serve in the royal court. Ashpenaz was to teach them to read and write the Babylonian language. The king also gave orders that every day they were to be given the same food and wine as the members of the royal court. After three years of this training they were to appear before the king. Among those chosen were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, all of whom were from the tribe of Judah. The chief official gave them new names: Belteshazzar, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego (Daniel 1:3-7).
Let's review what we know. Since the king was looking for young men who were "handsome, intelligent, well-trained, quick to learn, and free from physical defects," we can assume that Daniel met those criteria since he was selected. He was probably an older teenager when he was sent off to Babylon, 600 miles away from where he lived. There he was sent to a Babylonian university, given a new name, and introduced to a brand new culture, including new food, language, and other customs.
What does the Bible tell us about how Daniel responded? "Daniel made up his mind not to let himself become ritually unclean by eating the food and drinking the wine of the royal court, so he asked Ashpenaz to help him" (Daniel 1:8). It's remarkable that after all Daniel had been through to get to Babylon, he still wanted to stay faithful to the law of God concerning what foods he could and could not eat. And because of that, we are told, "God made [the man who guarded him] sympathetic to Daniel" (Daniel 1:9).
Daniel probably thought he would live and die where he had been born, just as his ancestors had done, but God had something else in mind.In a sense, Daniel was God's missionary or emissary to Babylon, even though he was a young man. Daniel would spend his entire life there in service to Babylon and its kings, never to return to his native country. Therefore, Daniel went through a lot of changes to learn how to succeed where God had sent him.
Just like Daniel, God has a purpose in mind for you and you won't find out how it's all going to work out until you start to pursue it. Many unexpected changes will come to your life, and the best way to flow with them is to remain true and faithful to God, the One who never changes. Daniel stayed true to God and His ways and therefore God stayed true to him.
Are you ready for your purpose adventure? Are you prepared to serve God wherever He chooses, even if it's not your homeland or with the people with whom you grew up? Will you remain faithful to His ways and purpose even when times get hard? The way to get and stay ready for your purpose journey is to study young people like Joseph, David, and Daniel and learn from their example.
Then be prepared for some significant changes of direction in your life before they come. Then be like these other purpose champions and become a young person of purpose. As you do, you will be a good model for others to follow as they learn from you that even a young person can be true to the Lord when tested. Have a blessed week.