In sports vernacular they use the word “phenom.” It is used to describe someone who “stands out” at an early age. In music they are called “rock stars” or “country stars” or any other use of the word “star.” Hmmm. That phrase “rock star” is now used to describe some of the younger pastors who hit it “big” early in their ministry.
But that is not how I want it to be used in this post. Let me explain.
Over the course of the year, I have taken several different approaches to reading the Bible. I have read Psalms about 5 times this year, taking a monthly break twice. I read the book of Proverbs every other month. I am currently in I John as I read through the New Testament. I have also read Ecclesiastes and Malachi and today (Tuesday) began reading Daniel. After reading just the first chapter, my thoughts were stated out loud and in my Moleskine journal:
NOW. THERE. IS. A. STANDOUT!
Probably like many of you, I know the story of Daniel and his three Hebrew friends. I was taught that since I was knee high to a grasshopper (yeah, I know, an ooooold saying). If you have never read the first chapter of Daniel here it is. Daniel and his friends and thousands of others were taken captive into Babylon, but then Nebuchadnezzar had certain young men put into a class of excelled learning. The first test to their faith was eating the king’s food. They asked to eat only vegetables and drink only water for ten days and then to be compared to the others who ate the king’s food. Two things stood out to me as I read that passage:
The first is in verse 9 it says, “And God gave Daniel favor and compassion in the sight of the chief of the eunuchs.”
The second is in verse 17 when the test was over. It says, “God gave them learning and skill in all literature and wisdom.”
Notice the source of all they had. I have no doubt they had some mental acuity and some “natural” abilities. But the Scripture states clearly where they got it from. I believe what happened was when they submitted to God and refused to compromise their convictions, God gave them an even stronger hold on essentials.
That has me thinking how often we may compromise our convictions to be accepted. Of course we read later how both the three Hebrew young men passed their own test (chapter 3), and then Daniel passed a further test (chapter 6). I have read these stores many times before, but I look forward to doing so again, especially now that I have noted the two phrases used in chapter 1. I will also read with renewed conviction on how God “honors” those who take a stand.
Do you struggle with taking a stand for your convictions? Do you have any other take-aways from Daniel 1?