The Story of Four Boys

Daniel 1  •  3 min. read  •  grade level: 7
They were four boys, probably teenagers, who had been taken as prisoners of war to be educated by Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon. Most likely their parents had been killed and their homes burned by the king’s victorious army.
They had good health, good looks and sharp minds, ready for education in the greatest country in the world at that time. The king ordered where they would stay, what they would eat and their education. In three years they would have their final exam before the king. We don’t know how many young men were in this class, but since the king was the conqueror of many nations, there were probably hundreds of handpicked young men in this competition. A man named Melzar was in charge of these four young men as principal.
These four had something special which set them apart from all the other young men in their class. They had the fear of the Lord, and we know that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom” (Proverbs 9:1010The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding. (Proverbs 9:10)). Daniel was their leader, but each of them trusted with all his heart in the God of heaven and was ready to stand with Daniel or, if necessary, to stand alone.
Do you know the fear of the Lord? Does it matter to you what God says about what you are doing or plan to do? If not, then even if you are the smartest person in your class, you do not have the beginning of wisdom. Is it possible that you will find you are a fool after all, no matter how smart you are? God will count you a fool if you ignore what He says in the Bible.
I’m sure the royal food was very tasty and attractive, and it was a great honor to be offered the king’s wine. But Daniel and his friends were not interested in the king’s “good life” or the gods that he worshipped. Daniel asked permission to eat a simple diet of grains and vegetables with water to drink. Others might enjoy the king’s food, but God had told the children of Israel what they could and could not eat, and Daniel’s first wish was to please God.
You have choices to make too, not only in food, but in what you do, where you go, what you see and what you listen to. You make these choices every day, and your choices will end up marking you as wise or foolish before God.
Daniel’s three friends made the same choice. The people in charge liked Daniel very much, and so Melzar agreed to a ten-day test of the four young men eating only the simple diet while the rest of the students ate the king’s food.
After the ten-day test, their faces were happy and healthy, even healthier than the students who ate the king’s food. So Melzar continued to give them their simple diet for the rest of the three years.
Then came the big examination day when all the young men were brought before the king for questioning. The king quickly discovered that these four young men were full of wisdom and understanding. In fact, he found them ten times wiser than all the magicians and astrologers in his kingdom.
Where did all this wisdom come from? Certainly not from teachers or books, or the other students would have been just as wise. The wisdom of Daniel and his friends came from God who knows all things. And it is the same today. Neither the wisest men nor the most knowledgeable books can tell you how to have one of your sins wiped out from God’s record. But God’s book, the Bible, tells you. And if you ask a child who really knows the Lord Jesus as the Savior of sinners, that child will be able to tell you too.
We have more to tell you about Daniel and his friends, so be sure to read the next story. You may also read the Book of Daniel in the Bible and see if you can find out the names of Daniel’s three friends.