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November 1, 2014

In this blog, I will discuss the character test. The dictionary defines character as: fiber, the inherent complex of attributes that determines a person’s moral and ethical actions and reactions; a distinctive trait; quality; attribute; the pattern of behavior found in an individual or group; moral strength; self-discipline; fortitude; a peculiar quality, or sum of qualities, by which a person is distinguished from others; the principles and motives that control the life. God allows kings, and jealous government officials to test the four testees who are found in the book of Daniel in this area. Were these testees successful, or did they fail? Continue reading to see what happens.

King Nebuchadnezzar has conquered Jerusalem and taken captives back to Babylon. Among the captives are handsome, intellectual young men of nobility who became chosen trainees to be taught the language, customs, arts, letters, wisdom, and laws of Babylon. In the group are four young men whose names can be found in Daniel 1:6-7 which states, “Now among these were of the children of Judah, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: Unto whom the prince of the eunuchs gave names: for he gave unto Daniel the name of Belteshazzar; and to Hananiah, of Shadrach; and to Mishael, of Meshach; and to Azariah, of Abednego.” No doubt the name change was to mark a new beginning and to obliterate their past.

In Daniel 1 we read the attempts to indoctrinate and assimilate these young men into the Babylonian culture; for it was the king’s desire after the three years training program to use the brightest of the trainees in his government. Besides the studies, the trainees were fed sumptuously from a diet that was contrary to their heritage and religious teachings. Rather than succumb to the lifestyle of Babylon, these four trainees refused to partake and defile themselves like their counterparts. Daniel requested, “Prove thy servants, I beseech thee, ten days; and let them give us pulse to eat, and water to drink. Then let our countenances be looked upon before thee, and the countenance of the children that eat of the portion of the king’s meat: and as thou seest, deal with thy servants.” At the conclusion of the allotted time, their countenances appeared fairer, and they were fatter than the other trainees; so, they were permitted to continue with their restricted diet. Also, at the end of the three years the king communed with them and found them to excel above all the other trainees, magicians and astrologers in the land for God gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom: and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams.

In Daniel 3, years have gone by and King Nebuchadnezzar has made and set up a golden image that the people are required to bow down and worship. It was reported to the king that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were not following this mandate. This report infuriated the king, and he had them brought before him for questioning. Here are the details of this encounter as found in Daniel 3:14-18, “Nebuchadnezzar spake and said unto them, Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, do not ye serve my gods, nor worship the golden image which I have set up? Now if ye be ready that at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the image which I have made; well: but if ye worship not, ye shall be cast the same hour into the midst of a burning fiery furnace; and who is that God that shall deliver you out of my hands? Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, answered and said to the king, O Nebuchadnezzar, we are not careful to answer thee in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.” Further infuriated by their reply, the king has Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego bond and cast into the furnace which he had made seven times hotter and to his astonishment, he sees them and another man which he deemed the Son of God walking in the furnace unharmed. The king calls for Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego to come out of the furnace; he acknowledges their God to be a God that delivers, decrees that anyone that speaks against their God will be slaughtered, and he promotes Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in his kingdom.

Lastly, in Daniel 6 Daniel, who is in senior years, have lived through the reign of several kings, is now assigned as the senior president in Babylon by King Darius. This appointment causes jealousy among his constituents (presidents and princes), and they plot to have him killed. They fool the king into making a decree that anyone that ask a petition of any God or man for thirty days, except the king shall be cast into a den of lions. They knew that Daniel would not adhere to this decree, and when Daniel, in his usual custom, prayed to his God, they reported Daniel’s actions to the king and insisted that Daniel is punished. The king reluctantly enforced his decree, and Daniel was cast into the lion’s den. The king spent that night fasting, and in the morning he goes to the den, and in a lamentable voice he spoke these words to Daniel, “O Daniel, servant of the living God, is thy God, whom thou servest continually, able to deliver thee from the lions?” Daniel responded and said, “O king, live forever. My God hath sent his angel, and hath shut the lions’ mouths, that they have not hurt me: forasmuch as before him innocency was found in me; and also before thee, O king, have I done no hurt.” The king was ecstatic, and he removed Daniel up out of the den, commanded those men who accused Daniel along with their families be cast into the den of lions and wrote the following decree, “ Peace be multiplied unto you. I make a decree, That in every dominion of my kingdom men tremble and fear before the God of Daniel: for he is the living God, and steadfast forever, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed, and his dominion shall be even unto the end. He delivereth and rescueth, and he worketh signs and wonders in heaven and in earth, who hath delivered Daniel from the power of the lions.” The chapter concludes by saying, “So this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius, and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian.”

In all three incidents, we see men’s character being tested; however, unlike their fellow countrymen, they refused to be tainted, influenced, or persuaded by the society in which they were thrust. Their actions and righteous behavior caused attacks; yet, they stood firm in their morals and ethics. They displayed self-discipline and unwavering trust in the God of their forefathers, and for this, they found favor with man. They lived the same throughout their lifetime, showing believers that no matter where we find ourselves, we can maintain a Godly character.

From → Test Series

One Comment
  1. I am extremely impressed with your writing skills and also with the layout on your blog.
    Is this a paid theme or did you customize it yourself?
    Either way keep up the nice quality writing, it’s rare to see a
    nice blog like this one nowadays.

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