Monday Memo 1138: Good Students
Last week, we looked at the life change that Daniel went through as he was carried off as a prisoner of war to Babylon. Daniel refused to eat the food there, which would have been in violation of God's dietary laws as described in His Word, and because he was faithful, God gave Daniel favor with his overseer. That's not all God gave him:
God gave the four young men knowledge and skill in literature and philosophy. In addition, he gave Daniel skill in interpreting visions and dreams. At the end of the three years set by the king, Ashpenaz took all the young men to Nebuchadnezzar. The king talked with them all, and Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah impressed him more than any of the others. So they became members of the king's court. No matter what question the king asked or what problem he raised, these four knew ten times more than any fortuneteller or magician in his whole kingdom. Daniel remained at the royal court until Cyrus, the emperor of Persia, conquered Babylonia (Daniel 1:17-21).
We assumed in the last entry that Daniel was about 17 years old, but further research has led me to believe that he may have been younger, perhaps as young as 14 or 15 when he arrived in Babylon. After his three years of study, he would have been 17 or 18. Notice how God had already used him, despite his youth: "God gave the four young men knowledge and skill in literature and philosophy. In addition, he gave Daniel skill in interpreting visions and dreams." At the age of 18, Daniel became an advisor to the king for "no matter what question the king asked or what problem he raised, [Daniel and his three friends] knew ten times more than any fortuneteller or magician in his whole kingdom."
Did you notice that God didn't give Daniel and his young friends wisdom or ability in religious matters? He gave them "knowledge and skill" in literature and philosophy. They were good students who liked to read and discuss philosophical matters of life, human existence, and reality. Where did they study? In Babylonian schools, after God relocated them to Babylon. And of course, Daniel had a special gift of interpreting dreams so there was something spiritual that Daniel did to go along with his other talents.
Are you a good student? For example, do you like to read? That's important to take seriously, for if you do, God gave you that desire and He may want you to use it to grow in knowledge of His creation, areas like biology, chemistry, or physics. Do you like to talk about issues of life that go beyond childhood matters, things like politics, psychology, or sociology? Those matters may not seem spiritual, but God can use them to expand your intellect and ability to think and reason and then to help others. Do you have insight into people's problems and then can you counsel them, offering them wisdom for how to live and serve God? You may do that in church, but you also may do that in your job and career.
The important thing as you search for your life purpose is not to ignore anything. What you love to do—what you seem to do or understand better than some adults—is something God has done in your life. If you are a good student, learn quickly, and are able to grasp what others would say are difficult things, then God has empowered you to be like Daniel was. And we are learning that God doesn't waste anything He puts into you, but wants to use it not only in the future, but also right now—even if you are a young person among those who are older and supposed to be wiser. Have a blessed week.