As for these four youths, God gave them learning and skill in all literature and wisdom, and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams. DANIEL 1:17
That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him. EPHESIANS 1:17
In the days of Nebuchadnezzar and Israel’s exile to Babylon, four Jewish teenagers Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah are brought into Nebuchadnezzar’s school of leadership to be trained in the language and literature of Babylon. Part of the training was a daily regiment of the king’s choice foods. What was Nebuchadnezzar’s objective in taking a handful of young leaders from a slave nation and giving them a full ride to Babylon’s “Ivy League” university including room and board in the king’s palace and dining hall? I believe Nebuchadnezzar desired to cultivate an appetite in these future leaders for Babylonian comforts and pleasures, to erode their efforts to preserve Jewish heritage and their zeal to be set apart according to Jewish aw, and to dull their resistance from imbibing the spirit and culture of Babylon. With their admission to the University of Babylon, these four Jewish teenagers were also given Babylonian names: Daniel, whose name means “God is my judge”, is renamed Belteshazzar, meaning “Lady, protect the King.” Hananiah (“Yahweh has been gracious”) is renamed Shadrach (“I am fear of god”). Mishael (“Who is what God is?”) is renamed Meshach (“I am despised, contemptible, humiliated”). And Azariah (“Yahweh has helped”) is renamed Abednego (“Servant of Nebo”). Nebuchadnezzar wanted to redefine their very identity.
Like Nebuchadnezzar in Babylon, Satan, in the modern context of our secular, humanistic universities, desires to erode our zeal for holiness and wholeheartedness for Jesus and to dull our resistance to the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life. The same holy prescription applies for us today as it did for Daniel and his comrades in the days of Babylon: these young leaders gave themselves to a consecrated lifestyle of extended fasting and regular prayer. They voluntarily chose to forego the pleasures of the king’s fine dining and embraced a prayerful lifestyle of fasting on vegetables for the 3 years they were at the University of Babylon. In learning to refuse the legitimate pleasures of food, favor, and comfort, they grew in grace and strength to refuse the illegitimate pleasures of compromise, pleasing man, and selfish ambition. By allowing the Lord to operate on the appetites of their bellies through a lifestyle of fasting and prayer, God gave them “learning and skill in all literature and wisdom” ten times better than their peers, and they became leaders with understanding from heaven that shifted history.
Pray for God to raise up ones like Daniel on college campuses that would be set apart for God’s purposes and would fast and pray for breakthrough on their campus. Pray for God to raise up leaders on campus like Daniel who have the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of God.