Weekly Devotionals – 10 June 2024

Daniel and his three friends were among the first group of Jews taken into captivity from Judah to Babylon. They displayed remarkable courage in their unwavering faith despite the pressure in a foreign land. Their steadfastness, a beacon of inspiration, illuminates the power of resilience in the face of adversity, empowering believers in their spiritual journey. 

Daniel 1:3 tells us that King Nebuchadnezzar, the powerful ruler of Babylon, instructed his chief steward, Ashpenaz, to select the best of the exile to be groomed for his service. This was not a mere suggestion but a command that carried the weight of the king’s authority. Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah belonged to that category. They were selected, placing them in a position where they had to navigate the delicate balance between their faith and the king’s demands.
Cultivate a steadfast mind  
Placed in a foreign land, far from their home, Daniel and his friends faced the daunting task of adapting to a new culture. The Babylonians sought to groom them for service, a process that required a shift in their worldviews. This struggle to adjust and maintain their faith in a new environment is a deeply relatable experience, underscoring the shared challenges of living out one’s faith in a secular world.
Maintaining a godly perspective is not just important; it’s crucial in a believer’s walk with God. It’s a choice between deriving principles for life from the Word of God or worldly opinions. The Babylonians attempted to change their godly perspective in various ways, such as altering their diet, names, and daily routines. But Daniel and his friends held onto their faith, showing us the importance of worldview in our spiritual journey. They found creative ways to resist the pressure, such as requesting a different diet and continuing their daily prayers, even when forbidden. These examples of resistance can inspire us to find ways to stay true to our faith in the face of worldly pressures.
Cultivate a steadfast life    
Despite being introduced to a life of luxury, with the king ordering them to be given rich food and a choice of wine, Daniel and his friends did not compromise their faith. They understood that pleasure and luxury, while appealing to the flesh, can lead to a hedonistic lifestyle. Their commitment to their faith was tested daily, as they had to resist the allure of the lavish lifestyle and the pressure to conform to the Babylonian customs. This is a powerful reminder to prioritise our beliefs over worldly temptations.
Cultivate a steadfast allegiance
Then, they had to face the pressure of changing their names. Daniel’s name means ‘God is my judge,’ a testament to his faith and identity. He was renamed Belteshazzar, meaning ‘May Bel protect his life,’ a name aligned with the Babylonian belief system. Hananiah’s name, which means ‘The Lord is gracious,’ was changed to Shadrach, meaning ‘Aku is exalted.’ Mishael, meaning ‘Who is what God is,’ was renamed Meshach, meaning, ‘Who is what Aku is.’ And Azariah, meaning ‘The Lord is my helper,’ was changed to Abednego, meaning ‘the servant of Nego.’ These name changes were not just a matter of linguistic adaptation but a symbolic act of cultural assimilation, a direct challenge to their faith and identity.
Bel, Aku, and Nego were all Babylonian gods. Imagine being addressed by these names daily. They were probably calculated to make them forget their God and become familiar with the Babylonian gods.
Pressures of life can do two things in our spiritual journey. They can cause us to compromise on our walk with the Lord or cause us to trust and rely on Him to see us through the pressures. The story of Daniel and his friends teaches us that these pressures are not insurmountable barriers but opportunities for us to demonstrate our faith and trust in God. It can result in us giving up our faith or make us stronger and more faithful in our journey with God. The choice is ours, and the story of Daniel and his friends can guide us in navigating these pressures.

Monday – Hebrews 3:6
but Christ was faithful as a Son over His house—whose house we are, if we hold fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end.
Tuesday – 2 Peter 3:17
You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand, be on your guard so that you are not carried away by the error of unprincipled men and fall from your own steadfastness,

Wednesday – 2 Thessalonians 3:5   
May the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the steadfastness of Christ.
Thursday – Romans 12:2  
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
Friday – Joshua 22:5  
Only be very careful to observe the commandment and the law which Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you, to love the Lord your God and walk in all His ways and keep His commandments and hold fast to Him and serve Him with all your heart and with all your soul.”

Saturday – 1 Thessalonians 5:21
But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good;
Sunday – Hebrews 10:23
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful;

All scriptures are quoted from the New American Standard Bible 1995 (NASB1995).
By Pastor Clarence Goh