The four boys looked around wide eyed. They had never seen anything like it in all their lives! It was all so different to what they had been used to. They were in a great high roofed room with pillars at the door ways. The floors were marble tiles, and the walls looked as though they were covered with gold.
Although they were from high-born families in their homeland of Israel, they weren’t used to such posh surroundings. The palaces they had seen had all been stripped by marauding kings. They themselves had been dragged from their beds in the night and roughly herded along with many others of their countrymen. They had travelled many miles across dry wastelands and sandy deserts, walking most of the way, and if they were caught talking to each other, they would be jabbed by the men who were in charge of them.
At last they arrived at a large city, in a strange land where they couldn’t understand a word that was being said. The boys wondered what was going to happen to them. But they made the choice of doing as they were told and making the best of things. After all, they still had God to help them. There was no-one else.
After a few weeks, they began to understand what people were saying around them. One day they were chosen along with other boys, to be trained to be “wise men” for the king’s court. This would be a three year course for them. So here they were, ready to start. Melzar, the man in charge of them, soon found that these four boys stood out far ahead of all the others. They always did as they were told. They were cheerful and happy, and always polite.
But Daniel, one of the boys, wasn’t too happy when he found that the food they were being given had been offered to the king’s idols first. He began to feel very uncomfortable. After all, he believed in the God of Heaven, and here he was eating idol’s food! The other three boys with him all felt the same. It bothered Daniel so much that he went to Melzar, and asked if they could have plain bread and water instead of the rich pastries, fat meat and poultry, and wine to drink.
“I can’t do that”, Melzar said, “You’ll all get thin and miserable looking and won’t be able to do your work, then I’ll be the one to get into trouble!”
But Daniel insisted. “Please just give us a trial for ten days, and if we look worse for it, then we’ll go back onto the king’s food again”.
Melzar agreed reluctantly He liked these boys and hoped that they would do well. After a few days, they began to feel great. They could think more clearly and were wide awake first thing every morning. They never had a headache, and were always top of their classes. By the end of ten days, they came before Melzar again, and he didn't need to weigh them to see that they looked fitter and fatter than any of the others in the class. They were allowed to stay on plain food for the rest of their course.
Because of the choice they made, Daniel and his three friends proved that God would honour their decision to do what was right.
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