Honor From An Enemy

When the training period ordered by the king was completed, the chief of staff brought all the young men to King Nebuchadnezzar. The king talked with them, and no one impressed him as much as Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. So they entered the royal service. Whenever the king consulted them in any matter requiring wisdom and balanced judgment, he found them ten times more capable than any of the magicians and enchanters in his entire kingdom.

Daniel remained in the royal service until the first year of the reign of King Cyrus.

Daniel 1:18-21 New Living Translation

Daniel and his friends were rewarded for their devotion to God and standing by their convictions, even when it meant disobeying the king. They didn’t just keep up with the rest of the young men in their training program, they excelled beyond their peers. God equipped them with the wisdom and stamina to stand out on the testing day of all the recruits. They were given high places of service and were found to be some of the best advisors Nebuchadnezzar had. Daniel would go on to serve at least 65 years under multiple kings from two different empires. God would use these four men to demonstrate his authority above the gods of their captors again and again over the years of their service.

Humble obedience to God can give us opportunities we would never dream of. Can you imagine what Daniel and his friends were thinking when they were first turned over to Nebuchadnezzar as hostages to appease an invading king? They may have felt betrayed by their own countrymen. They may have felt that God was no longer blessing them and all their goals in life were gone. They most likely felt distrust for their captors at times. Still, God gave them favor among their peers and used them greatly for the next six decades.

We also need to imagine what this day was like for Ashpenaz, Nebuchadnezzar’s chief of staff, and the attendant who agreed to Daniel’s compromise. They had taken a great risk and God rewarded them by giving their trainees a prominent place in their king’s service. One can only imagine what they felt like that day. Perhaps, as the years went on, there were times that Nebuchadnezzar would again thank Ashpenaz for the talented advisors he had found. There is no indication of whether or not Ashpenaz became a follower of Yahweh, but the influence of four Hebrew captives was probably significant in his life.

We never know where God will bring us in life or the influence He will give us. The important thing is not to seek after becoming important. Instead, we should focus on humbly obeying God and leaving the outcomes in His hands. If we live a life of humble obedience, we never know where God will use us.

God, help us to humbly obey You in the details of life and then leave the outcomes in Your hands.

Published by llongard

I grew up in northeast Wisconsin. After high school, I moved to Minneapolis, MN to attend North Central University and graduated 1992 with a degree in Biblical Studies and Humanities. I spent most of the next fifteen years in the Twin Cities area until my family and I moved to Indiana in 2007. For most of the first seventeen years after college, I was involved in university ministry either as a volunteer, bi-vocational, or full-time campus minister. Through those years, I also worked in the main street marketplace as a retail manager/trainer and as a service representative in the insurance industry. I've also worked in various education roles. Most recently, I have been working on various projects addressing homelessness in Indianapolis and as team lead for Diakonos Community, a Communitas International missional initiative. Through this ministry, we seek to build missional communities in Indianapolis that serve and bring the life of Christ to those on the margins of society. Our strategy is to collaborate with community agencies that serve those in need and share Christ through meaningful relationships. I am blessed with a wonderful wife, three amazing daughters, and two cats (can't forget the cats, LOL). As a family, we enjoy camping, hiking, gardening, and going to the YMCA together. I also enjoy fishing, riding bicycle, and being involved in whatever my daughters are doing. Though I have not lived in the Green Bay area for over 20 years, I am still a major Packer fan.

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