“Ha! If anyone knew I was going to a Bible study, they’d think I was a nerd for sure.”
“Who you calling a nerd?” demanded
Tony, as he and Shawnette came up. Tony was a lineman on the school football team. “I’m in Tiffany’s Bible study group.”
“Really?” asked Dan. “But how can the Bible help you? It’s all so old. Things were different then. Those people didn’t have to deal with the problems we have.”
“Oh yeah, what about Daniel?” Shawnette put in. “He and his three friends were captured by King Nebuchadnezzar and taken to Babylon. They were going to be educated in the Babylonian way of life.”
“Right,” said Tony. “They would be officials in the imperial government—if they learned how to fit in. They could have been made slaves. But they got a break.”
“It was no time for them to make waves,” said Tiffany. “But what did they do? The very first time they sat down to a meal, they made themselves stick out like four sore thumbs.”
“How?” Dan asked.
“They refused to eat the food that was sent to them from the king’s own table, that’s how,” said Tiffany.
“Were they on a hunger strike?”
“No way,” said Shawnette. “They’d just marched across the desert from Jerusalem, to Babylon. They were as tired and hungry as anyone else. But they wouldn’t touch that food.”
“Because it had been offered to idols,” put in Tiffany. “Daniel and his friends worshipped the one true God. If they ate that food, they’d be worshipping
the idols of Babylon. And they’d taken a vow to be true to God, no matter what.
“Yeah,” said Tony, “and, as Jews, a lot of the food was forbidden to them. There was no way they were gonna eat it.”
“Can’t you just see it?” said Shawnette. “There were captives from lots of different countries. All of them–even the Jewish ones–were eating the king’s food. And there stood these four, with all eyes on them, telling the steward they wouldn’t touch it.”
“Talk about your peer pressure,” said Tony.
Shawnette went on: “So they asked the steward, Melzar to give them just plain vegetables to eat, and water to drink. No wine or meat or rich sauces. And nothing offered to idols.”
“And Melzar said, ‘Are you kidding?’,” laughed Tiffany. “He told them, ‘If the king saw you looking sickly and pale, and found out I fed you vegetables and water, he’d have my head in a minute!”
“But the good thing was, Daniel’s good behavior had already impressed Melzar,” said Tony. “So when Daniel asked for a ten-day trial, the steward agreed.”
“And at the end of the ten days, guess what?” said Tiffany.
“Daniel and his three friends were clearly healthier-looking and more alert than the rest, who’d been eating all that rich food.”
“So, for the next three years of schooling, Daniel and his friends ate plain vegetables and drank water, said Tony.
“And when the king gave them their final exams,” said Shawnette, “he said that Daniel and his three friends were ten times wiser than even the experienced officials of the empire.
He gave them all high positions in the government.”
“So you see,” finished Tony, “the Bible can help. It tells us the best way to live. Then it shows us examples of how God can help us to do right.”
Just then, Bob and Jim came up. “Hey, Dan, you ready?” said Bob. “We’re gonna have some real fun this afternoon. Let’s go.”
Dan took a deep breath, and smiled at Tiffany, Shawnette and Tony.
“No, thanks,” he said. “My friends and I have something better to do. And, by the way, from now on, please call me Daniel.”