Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah chose to keep faithful to God while the others they were with let themselves be defiled. It may have seemed like a simple issue of food and what to eat, but it was still a test and because the four boys were faithful to God and what He called them to, they were blessed above the others.
“God gave these four young men an unusual aptitude for understanding every aspect of literature and wisdom.”Daniel 1:17
Not only did they grow in their studies in a way that none of the others could but later on they were given the highest positions and were able to be examples for God on all levels. There may have been others who, after seeing the physical, spiritual, and mental benefits the four received, followed Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah’s example but this others would not have received the same original blessing.
It’s not like they didn’t know better. The young men who were taken captive with the four were some of the most promising young men of their province. But they let outside sources like fear and greed come between their relationship with God. It wasn’t that they didn’t know better in that first test, they had been raised with God’s Law from birth, they just chose to ignore what they knew they were called to do: to obey God in all things in all ways. Only the four stood up and only the four received the greater original blessing. Only the four grew up to be Nation-Changers.
We will always be blessed for following God but sometimes we miss out on the greater, original blessing because we delay. It is not God’s will that we miss out nor is it His doing. It is the consequence of our own actions that takes away that original blessing. Perhaps because we delayed we missed out on the opportunity to meet someone whom we could’ve blessed and who could’ve been a blessing to us in return. Because they delayed, the other captive young men missed out on the opportunity to be Nation-Changers. More importantly they missed out on an opportunity to be closer to God. I’m not saying ghat the others couldn’t or didn’t get closer to God, but it wouldn’t have been the same. Instead of being able to get close to God from the get-go, they would have had to work past the issues that delaying would have caused in them. This delay could’ve led to other delays and missed opportunities.
What blessings might we encounter, might we become, if we don’t hesitate? In what ways will we become closer to God if we don’t ignore what He’s telling us, showing us, or asking of us? It couldn’t have been easy for the four to set themselves apart. It might not be easy for us either. Yet God has already sanctioned us for something more, something better. We can be the Nation-Changers of our world now, but only, only if we listen to God. Only if we follow Him. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to wait. I don’t want to miss out on being a Nation-Changer simply because the things of this world are calling my name or because I let other things interfere with my relationship with God. God has so many amazing things in store for us. I’d hate to miss out on a single one.
You can read all about Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah throughout the book of Daniel. The most famous stories can be found in Daniel Chapter 3 (The Burning Furnace) and Daniel Chapter 6 (The Lion’s Den).