Daniel 1:1-4 NLT
During the third year of King Jehoiakim’s reign in Judah, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it with his armies. The Lord gave him victory over King Jehoiakim of Judah. When Nebuchadnezzar returned to Babylon, he took with him some of the sacred objects from the Temple of God and placed them in the treasure-house of his god in the land of Babylonia. Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, who was in charge of the palace officials, to bring to the palace some of the young men of Judah’s royal family and other noble families, who had been brought to Babylon as captives. “Select only strong, healthy, and good-looking young men,” he said. “Make sure they are well versed in every branch of learning, are gifted with knowledge and good sense, and have the poise needed to serve in the royal palace. Teach these young men the language and literature of the Babylonians.”
Brief Commentary on verse 4 –
(a) The King required that they should be of noble birth, that they should be intelligent and learned, and that they should be of a strong and handsome nature, so that they might do him better service. He esteemed learning, and knew that it was a necessary means to govern by.
(b) That they might forget their own religion and country fashions to serve him the better to his purpose. Yet Daniel in all points refused the abuse of things and superstition, and would not eat the meat which the King appointed him, but was content to learn the knowledge of natural things.
Our challenge – teaching a subject which is part of the history and context of scripture (commerce, wages, business, leadership) but a subject that some believe could be contrary to or contradict scripture (pursuit of wealth, money only good as a tool to propagate the gospel, love of money the root of all evil).
To what is Babylon connected? World systems, material ‘god.’ Some commentators have identified the Babylon in Revelation 18 as commercial Babylon. Some authors view Baylon as a metaphor for a world financial or commerce controlled world-system (Cayce, 2002; Collins, 2009)
Babylon in scripture was also known for –
o National greatness – Isaiah 13:19; Jeremiah 51:41
o Wealth – Jeremiah 50:37; 51:13
o Commerce – Ezekiel 17:4
o Manufacture of garments – Joshua 7:21
o Represented in scripture by – A great eagle (Ezekiel 17:3)
But remember the long-term story of all the young men: though their names were changed to honor the Babylonian gods and not their own, though food was given to them which was dedicated to the Babylonian gods, Daniel and his friends besought the Lord to remain true to their faith, and they were faithful even while facing death for standing up for what they believed.
Os Guinness wrote, “Each of us is called to relationship with God through Jesus Christ. We are called by Him, to Him, and for Him. Once we enter that relationship with Christ, we are called into the physical expression of that relationship. This is where our vocations are manifested as a result of that call, not as an end in themselves” (Guinness, 2002).
So, why do I teach Business? Does there not need to be some people who are standing in the gap for our young people, teaching them to be “business savvy” and competent in their discipline while living a life of integrity? Who will challenge them to be ‘Daniels’ in the marketplace, learning the language of a materialistic culture while seeking to integrate their faith and not compromise?
“I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me…” Philippians 3:14 NIV
* Cayce, K. (2002). Revelation, Chapter 18. Bible-Studys.org. Retrieved June 27, 2015 from www.discoverrevelation.com.
* Collins, S. (2009, January 24). Babylon the great’s global system heading for a fall? Steven M. Collins Blog. Retrieved June 27, 2015.
* Guinness, O. (2003). The call: Finding and fulfilling the central purpose of your life. Nashville, Tenn.: W Pub. Group.