Today’s Bible reading is Daniel 1 and 1 Peter 5.
But Daniel resolved… (Dan 1:8)
He was forcibly removed from his homeland by Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, and replanted in the heart of a pagan empire. He was one in a group of “youths without blemish, of good appearance and skillful in all wisdom, endowed with knowledge, understanding learning,” judged “competent to stand” in Nebuchadnezzar’s palace. He was to be given a three year reeducation in the literature and language of the Chaldeans–assigned a different diet, a different name, and a different trajectory for the rest of his captive life.
“But Daniel resolved.” He remembered who (and whose) he was, resisting the pressure to conform. He refused to be defiled, respectfully but unashamedly requesting a distinctive path forward.
And Daniel was there until the first year of King Cyrus. (Dan 1:21)
It’s easy to miss what we’re being told in Daniel 1, but don’t fly too quickly past that last verse. “Daniel was there.” He had been taken captive as a youth in 605 B.C. He was there, nineteen years later, when news of Jerusalem’s destruction reached the palaces of Babylon. Daniel was there as kings proudly rose, were humbled, and fell. Over and over again, Daniel had the uncomfortable task of delivering unpopular news to unbelieving powers. He was there during an empire-wide prohibition on prayer. Overnight in a den of lions? Daniel was there. As mighty Babylon eroded and the Persians ascended, Daniel was there. A distinctive light in the darkness. A bold messenger of out-of-season truths. Kings came and went, empires rose and fell, but for more than 70 years, “Daniel was there.”
That long and difficult journey had a beginning. A first step. Where did it start? With a “but,” when Daniel, as a youth, resolved to live–no matter what–for God.
What about you? “I am resolved…” To do what? To be what? What will that resolve fuel within you? Will it be able to sustain you when life gets tough? Seventy years from now, where will that resolve have carried you?
“Daniel was there” because “Daniel resolved.” Today’s resolve shapes tomorrow’s reality.