Stuart Olyott has a wonderful little commentary on Daniel entitled "Dare to Stand Alone" (in the Welwyn series published by Evangelical Press). I read the closing paragraphs of his comments on chapter one this morning and was freshly encouraged by his plain and direct manner of making the point. He writes:
"Many believers are yearning for higher positions where they can have more spiritual influence. Teachers long to be heads, juniors look forward to being managers, and union members hope to become shop stewards. ‘If only I were there,’ they say, ‘what influence I could have for the Lord!’
None of us can make a higher position count for God unless we live for Him now, where we are. If we are unwilling to stand up and be counted for Him over small things, how will we ever do so over bigger things? Is it possible to be faithful in much without first being faithful in little? If we cannot resist comparatively small temptations, what will we do when they are intensified?"
The four young Jews in Babylonian captivity did not compromise over what many would have thought was not that big a deal - eating food sacrificed to idols. There are all kinds of ways to justify that action, aren't there? But these (probably) 14 year olds held fast to God.
You are ripped away from family, your name is changed to honour a pagan deity, you are being schooled daily in a new language and culture and you are 14. As in Grade 9. Freshman. And you hold fast to God.
No wonder the Lord could trust these 4 with much!
[Endnote: I would commend to you anything Olyott has written. He is a choice servant of our Lord with a real knack for making the truth of the Word hit home. He has a great commentary in this Welwyn series on Romans (even though I disagree on his view of Israel in 9-11!) and many recorded sermons and such. I met him once at an ARBCA (then RBMS) Assembly and he was powerfully used of the Lord to give me some much-needed wisdom. Maybe I will blog about that one day...]