Daniel 1: 4 “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.”
In the previous episodes of this discourse, we saw:
1. A brief historical background of Judah in the days of Nebuchadnezzar/Daniel
2. We defined Influence, explained our context and analysed some requirements necessary to become a divine influencer.
3. We saw that these influencers must be people without blemishes and well favoured.
4. They must be skilful in Wisdom.
5. They must be cunning in Knowledge.
6. Understanding Science and having the ability to stand in the King’s palace
In this last episode we shall consider two other important requirements, namely:
You Must learn the literature and tongue of the Chaldeans:
The ‘learning and the tongue’ of the Chaldeans in Daniel 1:4 refer to the literature and culture, including their customs/traditions.
So, language, fashion, food, music, arts, writings, mode of thinking, ideas, proverbs and political systems of the Chaldeans.
History records the existence of huge libraries in Babylon with books classified on all subjects.
As P. H. Hunter writes “The name “Chaldeans” is used by the Old Testament writers in a double sense. Sometimes it is used instead of “Babylonian,” and applies to the whole nation of which indeed it was the ancient name. Sometimes it refers to a certain order or sect within the nation, the “wise men of Babylon,” as they are called throughout the Book of Daniel.”
They were the most influential class of Babylon and enjoyed a monopoly of learning, both sacred and secular. Basically, these wise men of Babylon had religion, politics, science and education in their hands and their president stood next to the king.
“They were the civilisers of the empire; they gave continually to the national life, and conserved the national traditions; to them, it was owing that mental progress in any measure kept pace with the material.” He concludes.
Lessons for intending divine influencer
You must learn the literature and culture of the area you want to exert influence upon. Note the word ‘learn’ not ‘immerse’. Why? You may ask. Well, if the idea is to change the ungodly and unholy practices of the present age, you can’t afford to immerse yourself in the same; otherwise, you’ll be lost.
Daniel refused to eat the food sacrificed to idols; the other three young men refused to bow to the graven image of Nebuchadnezzar. So, certain things shouldn’t be tolerated no matter the prize.
You don’t expect to make much impact in any nation or community where you can’t speak their tongue. Understanding and speaking the language of the inhabitants of where you are is fundamental.
Wishing that the entire community or nation convert to your own mother tongue is a vain wish. That may never happen or will happen after you’re gone to eternity.
There are several benefits of holding a good conversation with the people of the community directly without intermediaries.
So, if for some cogent reasons you can’t acquire an advanced level of knowledge of that language, get the basics correct. There’s no running from this.
Knowing the language also entails familiarizing yourself with the modus operandi of the sector you want to influence for God. There’s a language in the IT world, music industry, fashion industry, world of politics, food industry, financial world etc. Know them and apply them, else you won’t get to the position of influence.
You must be trained and nourished for years before appearing in the palace as a courtier.
Nebuchadnezzar asked that the children be trained and nourished for 3 years. Babylon had special schools for these children that taught them things on administration, literature, science, technology, anatomy, history, writing, agriculture etc.
Exploiting the characteristics of young people including their curiosity, malleability and vigour, these teachers taught them the curriculum meant for future statesmen.
Although these were meant to be wise and knowledgeable young men, they had to be taught further. This is because the affairs of Babylon and her conquered territories will rest on them someday.
Unlike king Ahasuerus that simply asked his aides to choose young women that would serve in his government, Nebuchadnezzar wanted to groom them to his taste.
Lessons for an intending divine influencer
You should go to training and nourishment – intellectually and spiritually. Certainly, don’t eat the food sacrificed to idols but the vegetable diet from the heavenly kitchen served through God’s Word, prayers and praises.
Many times young people love to just go for quick objectives that cause some adrenaline release, instead of a good dose of hard-work of years. But doing something because it can give you immediate excitement and a sense of accomplishment is one way to keep running around and getting nowhere.
On the other hand, sustained efforts and sweat in a given area, which may take years of training, yields the best and long-lasting results. You should go for these.
Thanks for reading. God willing, I’ll see you next time when we analyse the skills Daniel acquired. See you.
“Then said I unto them, ye see the distress that we are in, how Jerusalem lieth waste and the gates thereof are burned with fire: come, and let us build up the wall of Jerusalem, that we be no more a reproach.” Nehemiah 2:17.
God is the source, I am the vessel.
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