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Daniel 1:18-21 meaning

One of the central themes of the book of Daniel is God's continued sovereignty for his people who trust and obey Him. Because Daniel and his friends trusted God and only ate the foods He allowed, they were blessed with more strength and wisdom than any of their Babylonian peers. 

At the end of the three years of Babylonian teaching and training, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were presented before king Nebuchadnezzar. Because of their obedience toward God in following his commandments in what to eat and drink, God blessed these four, so that out of all their class no one was found like them. Because of this, the king appointed them to his personal service where he consulted them, and found them ten times better than all the magicians and conjurers who were in all [the king's] realm.

It is worth noting that these four faithful followers of God were ten times better than the locals at knowing the literature and language of Babylon. They became experts at Babylonian culture, but did so without abandoning the Lord God. They were great of examples of being shrewd as serpents while being innocent as doves (Matthew 10:16). The serpent in Eden deceived Eve by his craftiness (2 Corinthians 11:3). These Hebrews became crafty regarding Babylonian culture, without being tainted by its immorality.

The story of Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah is the direct opposite of the people of Judah. Daniel and his cohort followed and obeyed God's commandments. Because of this, God blessed them above all others and protected them against their enemies. But the people of Judah—who chose to disobey God even after Jeremiah warned them that the Babylonians would conquer them if they continued—kept on their path of rebellion.

Even in the face of temptation and the threat of death, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah continued to follow God's commandments.

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