Around 606 BC King Nebuchadnezzar began his first siege against the Hebrew people at the Battle of Carchemesh. The holy temple was plundered and those who were left after the slaughter became slaves. (Daniel 1:3) Among the hostages were four boys: Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah who were now without their parents or a home. As their feet stepped over the carnage and charred rubble of what use to be their city, they headed into Babylonian territory not sure of what would become of their lives. Today, we know them as heroes of the Bible, children, who in spite of all odds remained honorable to God and their values. When Kingdom Children are ushered into a dark world and tested, what will remain of their honor?
As we read on through the awesome book of Daniel, we see that being lost in a culture that wasn’t their own was just the beginning for these four lost boys. Hebrew children were primarily taught in the home. Any and all sacred and honorable values were cultivated under the same roof that protected them. Life was lived at home for children, they weren’t given up to systems in the world but, parents took on the sole responsibility of raising their children the way God intended. There are so many pressures in this world that impede parents from doing their best in securing the Word of God in the hearts of their children. Most times, it is left up to schools, governments, and television to raise them. Kingdom Children are not born, they are made and it matters very much who does the making. (Proverbs 22:6)
The first test of Daniel and his friends was, as usual, peer pressure. Be the cool kids who can eat from the king’s table, boast about the access you now have or, the freedom you possess away from your parents’ eyes. Instead, Daniel and his friends stayed loyal to things of God, including what they put into their bodies. (Daniel 1:8) The “Daniel Fast” is one of the most effective fasts today and all because children in the midst of devastation held on to the Word of God. Kingdom Children don’t see a need to fulfill the lusts of the world or bend and bow to fickle trends, what comforts them most is the honor and approval of God. Our children will be tested but just as Daniel and his friends were tested, their “yes” to God can influence generations to come.
The most popular biblical story from the book of Daniel that is passionately taught to children is the story of Daniel’s friends thrown into a fiery furnace. We all cheer when the three boys come out unscathed by fire and yet, can you imagine what they must have felt. The stomach drop, the sweat ever so slowly sliding down their backs as they stood in a crowd while everyone else bowed to a golden idol. The fear that warred with their faith as King Nebuchadnezzar ordered the furnace to be turned up seven times hotter, and the absolute faith in God it took as their bodies were violently shoved in to be engulfed by flames. (Daniel 3:16-18) Just as we praise God for the victory of that day centuries ago, it’s important to reward our Kingdom Children for the honor they have for us and God. When they are tested, and they will be, the lessons under our roofs is what will remain. Prayerfully, not only have we taught them honor but, through our own lives, we’ve shown them.