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When Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and captured it, he ordered Ashpenaz, chief of his court officials, to bring into the king's service some of the Israelites from the royal family and the nobility, young men without any physical defect, handsome, showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well informed, quick to understand, and qualified to serve in the king's palace. From this royal family, Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were chosen.

Reference: Daniel 1:17 New Living Translation (NLT) "God gave these four young men an unusual aptitude for understanding every aspect of literature and wisdom. And God gave Daniel the special ability to interpret the meanings of visions and dreams."

In the land of Babylon, Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, even though they were to be trained for three years, after which they would enter the king's service. Although the King of Babylon was to teach them the language and literature of the Babylonians, God already blessed these four young men with an unusual aptitude for understanding every aspect of literature and wisdom, and in addition to this, He bestowed on Daniel, the special ability to interpret the meanings of visions and dreams.

Literatures are written works, especially those considered of superior or lasting artistic merit. In the aspect of divine gift, the four Hebrew young men, Daniel inclusive, were very good at literatures and wisdom nuggets, and in their days, Daniel authored and published ancient scrolls, epistolary novels and high quality write ups on every aspect of literatures and wisdom subjects. In the aspect of ability, Daniel's speciality was majored in interpreting the meanings of dreams and visions. However Daniel was different. The result of their submission to God was very different than selfish, worldly ambition. As a result, they willingly sacrificed opportunities for instant gratification and pleasure in the palace. Instead, they trusted God in a foreign land and made themselves available to serve the needs of others in that environment.

This is indeed a good lesson to learn from the four Hebrew boys. Sometimes in life, when a man chooses not to defile himself in a foreign setting like Babylon where wisdom is required, it is usually a function of sacrifice and divine intelligence. By divine intelligence, I mean that God inspired Daniel to do so because if you observe the next verse (Daniel 1:9), God instantly responded to Daniel's decision and choice by causing the official in charge to show him favour and compassion. Remember Daniel was quick of mind, as a sharp-witted young man. He didn't function from the realm of senses because the Bible noted that he had an excellent spirit in him (see Daniel 6:3).

While in the King's palace, many in their shoes at that point in time would've chosen to enjoy the royal food and wine and to function by their self-motivated interest, thereby becoming fixed in that approach to life and getting trapped in it, because they relied on their five senses. As for these four Hebrew youth, they refused to view life from the vantage of self-interest. For this reason, the desire for observation and experimentation was stirred up in Daniel who requested for them to be tested as they ate their own choice of food (vegetables). So the chief official appointed over them agreed to this and tested them for ten days. At the end of the ten days they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food.

Beloved, God-given gifts and abilities are priceless. No wonder the Bible says, "eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit" (1 Corinthians 14:1 NIV). The NLT reads, "But you should also desire the special abilities the Spirit gives." Beloved, they are readily available. The question is: what kind of desire do we nurture? King Nebuchadnezzar was heavily astonished because in every matter of wisdom and understanding about which he questioned them, he found them extraordinarily intelligent such that none of his wise men, magicians and enchanters were equal to the four young Hebrews, rather the Hebrew youth were ten times better than all in his whole kingdom. Stay tuned for part 2. Shalom!

Scripture Reading - Isaiah 11:2; Proverbs 19:8; Job 12:13; James 1:5; Colossians 1:9; James 3:17.

Guided Prayer: Precious Father in heaven, thank you for giving me an intelligent heart that voraciously acquires your knowledge and the ear of the wise that pays fitting attention to your wisdom. I'm forever grateful for abundant instances where your understanding, wisdom and knowledge have afforded me the advantageous opportunity to succeed and excel in the face of circumstances and oppositions. As a student of the Word, I desire and receive more of your supernatural gifts and special abilities, as well as shrewd mental acumen in understanding their true significance and also acuity in applying them in every aspect of life. By functioning in them, you are honoured and highly esteemed in my life in Jesus' Name, Amen!


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