Prophet Daniel photo by Allie_Caulfield on Flickr.
By Lisa Nordell-Detres
The book of Daniel is rich in history and prophecy. The key point to be taken from the book this time around involves the impeccable character traits of Daniel and his three friends mentioned in the book: Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. First of all, they were given Chaldean names, respectively, Belteshazzar, Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-Nego when they were conscripted as teenagers into King Nebuchadnezzar’s service.
The young men stood up for their faith when served food from the King’s menu that was not acceptable to their Kosher diets. Rather than arguing about the food, Daniel asked for a ten day trial during which he and his friends would only eat vegetables and drink water. Daniel and his friends looked so much better than the rest of the men after the ten days that all of the young men were put on the diet. (Daniel 1: 3-4)
God’s favor was on Daniel and his friends and they were given positions high up in the kingdom. (Daniel 1:19-20; 3:30)
Despite the fact that Daniel and his friends were captives in a foreign land, they maintained attitudes of honor, honesty and respect for all the kings. Daniel had the reputation of having “the Spirit of God in him” (Daniel 4:18; 5:11, 14) and the only fault that his enemies could find in them was their faith. (Daniel 3, 6:4-5)
Hananiah (Shadrach), Mishael (Meshach) and Azariah (Abed-Nego) refused to bow down before a 90 foot golden statue of Nebuchadnezzar. They were thrown into a fiery furnace, but were miraculously delivered. (Daniel 3)
I don’t know about you, but if my country were destroyed, thousands of my countrymen were killed by hostile forces, it would take everything I could muster not to be bitter and vengeful towards my captors, but there is no reference to this attitude by Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael or Azariah. On the contrary, their exemplary service and attitude earned them positions high up in the kingdom. Little is known about Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah after the furnace incident, but those are examples enough of the impact their faith had on the King.
Daniel served four great kings during his captivity: Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar, son of Nebuchadnezzar, who used the gold and silver tableware from the Temple in Jerusalem for a party (Daniel 5); Darius, king of the Medes & Persians who conquered Babylon soon after Belshazzar’s ill-fated party; and Cyrus, who allowed the Jews to return to Israel/Judah and commissioned the reconstruction of the Temple in Jerusalem. (Ezra 1)
The impact that the faith of these men, especially Daniel, had on the Kingdom of Babylon may never be fully known, but tradition suggests that the Magi who visited the baby Jesus may have been from the Persian region.
What we do know is that Daniel and his friends set a great example for us all by their faithfulness to God in the roles to which He called them; captive servants and advisors as they were.
Lisa Nordell-Detres is a mother of four, grandma to three boys, a pastor’s wife and has worked in the garment and customer service industries in southern California. Besides writing, Lisa enjoys cooking, sewing, organic gardening, hiking, skiing and doing most anything outside. Lisa is a member of the Central Oregon Writers Guild.
Lisa was born and raised in Denver, Colorado, studied Christian Apologetics at Simon Greenleaf University, holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Fashion Design from Woodbury University and an MBA from California State University at Northridge. Lisa, her husband and their youngest child now live in central Oregon.