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Affluent Christian Investor | September 20, 2017

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Daniel Was What He Didn’t Eat

Daniel's Answer to the King  (Painted by Briton Rivière) (1892)

Daniel’s Answer to the King
(Painted by Briton Rivière) (1892)

Let’s move on to compile another purpose profile, and this time I will focus on the life of Daniel. Daniel and Joseph are two “super heroes” of the Old Testament. They are almost too good to be real! They were faithful in the midst of temptation and loyal in the midst of persecution and trials. They are worthy of our study and emulation, but for now, we will focus only on Daniel.


In some American high schools, graduating seniors designate one of their classmates whom they deem most likely to succeed in the future. Daniel didn’t go to high school, but if he had, he would have been elected.  How do I know this? Let’s consider the kind of young people that King Nebuchadnezzar was looking for to serve in his kingdom:

“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”

– (Daniel 1:4).

Since Daniel was chosen, we know that he qualified based on the listed criteria—smart and good-looking.  Daniel had a bright future in his homeland of Judah, but God had other plans. Before he knew it, this young teenager was whisked off to Babylon, selected for royal duty and given a three-year crash course in Babylonian culture.

What was involved in this crash course? Daniel was sent to language school. He was assigned a new name – Beltheshezzar – which contained the name of one of the main Babylonian gods, Bel. He was then placed under the care of the chief of the eunuchs. Now I ask you: Why would Daniel be under this man unless they had made Daniel a eunuch himself?  Can you imagine? Here was this bright young man, with his whole future ahead of him. Suddenly he’s living in a foreign land, called by the name of a foreign god, learning a strange culture, and facing a future that didn’t include a wife and family!

Yet Daniel distinguished himself throughout his Babylonian career. He was a man of skill and efficiency and also penned a book in the Bible that carries his name. What enabled this man to be so successful?


Daniel was a man of purpose, but he was also a man of values. When he first arrived in Babylon to become a royal official, he was also assigned royal rations that he was to eat. Daniel refused:

“But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way”

– (Daniel 1:8).

If I am a teenager, having gone through all that Daniel had been through, the last thing I would have been concerned with was eating the local food. But Daniel remembered the dietary laws of a Jew, and he determined to maintain a kosher diet even in Babylon. As a young man, Daniel knew what was important to him and he was determined to follow those values no matter what.

The most impressive thing to me is that Daniel had such well-defined values at an early age.  The second most impressive thing is that he was committed to follow them, even in a foreign land after his life had been turned upside down. Have you defined your values? If so, do you think you could follow them if you went through what Daniel went through?  I’m not sure that I could.

So your assignment this week is to do some work to define your values. If they worked for Daniel, they will work for you. I have an article outlining how to do this on my website entitled “How to Develop Your Governing Values.” Spend 60 minutes this week giving thought and expression to what is important to you. I certainly hope you can, for values are a critical part of your PurposeQuest. As you work on yours, I will also review mine this week to see if they need adjusted and, more importantly, to see if I’m living them! If I can help you, let me know. Otherwise have a great week!


Originally posted on The Monday Memo.

John Stanko was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and attended Duquesne University where he received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in economics in 1972 and 1974 respectively.

Since then, John has served as an administrator, teacher, consultant, author, and pastor in his professional career. He holds a second master’s degree in pastoral ministries, and earned his Doctor of Ministry from Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Pittsburgh in 2011.

John founded a personal and leadership development company, called PurposeQuest, in 2001 and today travels the world to speak, consult and inspire leaders and people everywhere. From 2001-2008, he spent six months a year in Africa and still enjoys visiting and working on that continent, while teaching for Geneva College’s Masters of Organizational Leadership and the Center for Urban Biblical Ministry in his hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Most recently, John founded Urban Press, a publishing service designed to tell stories of the city, from the city and to the city.


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