My Journal for Today: John MacArthur, in Strength for Today for this date, highlights today’s passage from Daniel by writing, “You can’t always prevent personal loss; but you can respond to it in ways that glorify God.” And in today’s passage we read of four young Hebrew boys, probably in their late teens or early 20s, being stripped of their way of life, separated from their families, and even renamed to take away their former Hebrew identities. For most of us, this kind of treatment would lead to extreme frustration, which, in turn, would likely lead to anger, bitterness, and then possibly to some kind of ungodly backlash.
But this was not to be the story of Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, who were given the names of Belteshazzar, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. No, … in the face of isolation and intense mind shaping by their Babylonian captors, we will see that these four clung to and trusted their one, true God. They exhibited intense and immense spiritual integrity. And as John MacArthur summarized it, “[These boys] couldn’t prevent their losses; but they could trust God and refuse to let those losses lead to despair and compromise.”
And so, for this month’s study, we have our first major lesson in Godly integrity from God’s Book and the life of Daniel, who, along with his three friends, chooses to cling to Godly values in the face of whatever personal loss and challenge may be inflicted by the world. When the world challenges our Christian values, even trying to strip us of our identity in Christ, we must CHOOSE to do as our Lord commanded, and that’s what our four young Hebrew role models did, … to deny self, take up their crosses, and follow God (see Luke 9: 23).
My Prayer Today: Lord, help me to be like these boys, a shining light of integrity in the darkness of worldly dishonesty. Amen