“And the king spake unto Ashpenaz the master of his eunuchs, that he should bring certain of the children of Israel, and of the king’s seed, and of the princes; Children in whom was no blemish, but well favoured, and skilful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science, and such as had ability in them to stand in the king’s palace, and whom they might teach the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans.”
Daniel 1:3, 4
The Babylonians had taken Israel captive. Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, ordered Ashpenaz to bring some of the choicest of the Jews, that some might be selected and used in the king’s court. He specified that they must be physically fit, knowledgeable, educated, capable of learning the language of the Chaldeans, and able to stand in the king’s palace.
We are very familiar with four of the men chosen to serve the king. Their names are Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. Later in the chapter, it says that in matters of wisdom and understanding, these four were found to be ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers in the land. God used these four men in an extraordinary way. Daniel’s interpretation of dreams, his commitment to prayer, and his deliverance from the lions have encouraged us all. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to bow to the king’s idol and were subsequently delivered from the fiery furnace.
What was it that caused these four men to find such strategic places of service in the kingdom of Nebuchadnezzar? Of course, we recognize it was God’s design and plan that allowed these Israelites to have an influence for God and righteousness in such an ungodly place. However, we must also see that the Lord used certain things on a human level to elevate these men to places of significant service. They were skillful, educated, and willing to learn. When the king’s servant initially looked for capable candidates for these positions, he was impressed with what he saw in these four individuals. After a period of proving themselves, the Hebrews had surpassed the achievements of all others. This speaks loudly to the matter of PREPARING TO SERVE.
It is imperative that we give God our very best. It is also extremely important that we take seriously the opportunities we have to learn, that when doors of service become available, we are already PREPARING TO SERVE.