“Daniel, I do not understand why you and your three friends feel you cannot eat this,” said the man in charge of the Israelite students. “It is the best food in our land. The king has said that all of you should eat this food for the next three years. But since it is so important to you, I will make a test. For ten days you may eat only beans or lentils and water, as you have asked. The other students will eat this food, which is the same as the king eats. At the end of the ten days we will see who is stronger and wiser – you and your friends or the others.”
Daniel smiled. He already knew what would happen. God had shown him that he and his friends should not eat the king’s food, even though that was the king’s command. Daniel knew God was pleased with them because they were doing what they knew was right. Even an order from the king could not make them do something that would make God unhappy.
One by one the ten days went by. At every meal, the other students ate delicious meat and fancy foods that were the same as the king’s food. And at every meal, Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego ate their simple food. Perhaps some of the other students were watching these four young men and wondering if they would pass the test. Were they starting to look thin and pale and hungry? What if they got sick because they weren’t eating enough? That didn’t worry Daniel and his friends at all. They were trusting God and doing their best to obey Him. They knew that He would not fail them.
And they were right! When the ten days had come and gone, the man in charge of the students could see it too. The four young men were in good health. In fact, they looked even healthier than the others! “You may continue to eat as you wish,” he told them.
The three years went by and at last the day came when all the students were to stand before the king. What would his decision be? God had helped Daniel and his friends to be more healthy than all the other students. But would they be as wise? The man in charge of the students brought them in. The king talked to all of them and asked them many difficult questions. He listened carefully to their answers.
The king could see that Daniel and his friends were wiser than all of the other students. The Bible tells us that they were ten times smarter than all the wise men of the land.
God blessed Daniel and his three friends for doing right. He has promised to do the same for us today. Let’s make sure we always choose to do what pleases Him!
This lesson deals with four boys who took a stand for God. Conversations with your child this week should develop the importance of putting God first in every aspect of his life. Help your child to realize that God blesses when we choose to follow Him. This is an important concept in establishing a good basis for Christian living.
Help him illustrate this idea by making a poster emphasizing this point. Sketch a large block numeral one (1) on a sheet of butcher paper. Let your child cut it out. Mount the numeral on a backing sheet and write across the top, “God Is First.” Inside the numeral, have him draw or paste pictures representing his activities, his friends, the places he goes, etc.