Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon invaded Judah and basically took everything that he found to be valuable to him. It seemed to be a practice to not only take silver and gold, but to also take young men and women who might be useful to the Babylonian Empire. In this raid, Nebuchadnezzar took some young men that were good looking, well-educated, and had the ability to enter into the kings service. Among these young men were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. For the next three years they were to learn the literature and language of the Babylonians, so they would be able to be in the kings palace. Daniel had already made up his mind before hand not to eat the wonderful royal delicacies that the king assigned for them to eat. Daniel decided this because eating some of this food would have broke the Mosaic law dealing with unclean foods and the drinking of strong drink. Daniel talked with his overseer to see if he could eat only vegetables and drink water, but the overseer was fearful of losing his head. Then Daniel had to speak to the overseers boss for permission and he agreed for them to try that diet for ten days. At the end of the ten days, these four young men looked healthier than the others, so they were allowed to stay on their vegetable diet. Throughout this God’s hand was on these young men, because “in every matter of wisdom and insight the king asked them, he found them to be ten times better than any of the magicians and astrologers that were in his entire empire.” (Dan 1:20)
The text does not say how many young men were taken, but only four are mentioned that remembered their Jewish heritage and did not conform to their new world around them. It seems that they took a bold stand without the worry of “fitting in” or being popular among their peers. They knew that God would be with them and that He would bless them for their obedience to His Word.
If you are a follower of Christ, you must rebel against conformity to this world. Each time we follow the evil ways of this world, we are like silly putty being molded into something other than Christ likeness. I see Daniel here as a bright light shining during a dark time in Judah’s history. He refused to be conformed to the world around him. Be a Daniel, rebel against conformity to this world.
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:2 NASB)