Take a Stand: Handsome Smart and Conquered

“Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, chief of his court officials, to bring in some of the Israelites from the royal family and the nobility — 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.” (Daniel 1:3-4)

Babylon had conquered Jerusalem and hauled a good portion of the population back home. Four Jewish teenagers we know as Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were included in that group.

takestand_350Part of Babylon’s plan for conquering the world forever was to take the good-looking, talented, and smart students from all the nations they defeated—especially the ones connected to royal families—and educate them into good and happy and productive Babylonians.

That way, the conquered nation’s best and brightest were less likely to ever think about going back home to try to lead their people—and Babylon became all the stronger for putting the world’s all-star youth to work for them. All they had to do was to get these kids to conform to Babylonian culture.

This week, we’ll watch Daniel and his friends try to stand up to authorities and a culture that wanted them to compromise their convictions—and have a good time doing it.

Think: Does anyone in your life want you to compromise your biblical convictions? Are you trying to stand strong against that or hoping someone can talk you into trying something new?

Pray: Ask God to help you to recognize when friends or family or authorities in your life are asking you to make a compromise with biblical teaching—and to give you the courage to resist that.

Do: Read Daniel 1:1-7 or so to get ready for our study this week.