Stanford University�wow! If you�re like most Christians, you�re excited and nervous at the same time. You�re excited because Stanford is such a great school, but you�re nervous about what it will do to your faith. If that describes you, I encourage you to meditate on the story of Daniel.
When Babylon defeated Israel around 600 B.C., the Babylonians took the children of the Israeli nobles to Babylon for reeducation (a policy designed to ensure the future loyalty of their captured countries), and so Daniel was taken to Babylon to undergo a three year course of studies in Babylonian law, mythology, and culture designed to prepare him for a career of public service. (Daniel 1:1-4)
Think about that: as a young adult he underwent a three year course of study designed to groom him for success in a specific career. In other words, he was a student at the University of Babylon! Let�s examine a few principles we can infer from their experiences:
Daniel remained true to his values, even at personal risk. (Daniel 1:8-16)
But Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the royal rations of food and wine; so he asked the palace master to allow him not to defile himself. Now God allowed Daniel to receive favor and compassion from the palace master. The palace master said to Daniel, �I am afraid of my lord the king; he has appointed your food and your drink. If he should see you in poorer condition than the other young men of your own age, you would endanger my head with the king.� Then Daniel asked the guard whom the palace master had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: �Please test your servants for ten days. Let us be given vegetables to eat and water to drink. You can then compare our appearance with the appearance of the young men who eat the royal rations, and deal with your servants according to what you observe.� So he agreed to this proposal and tested them for ten days. At the end of ten days it was observed that they appeared better and fatter than all the young men who had been eating the royal rations. So the guard continued to withdraw their royal rations and the wine they were to drink, and gave them vegetables.
Daniel excelled at his studies, even though he was studying pagan materials. (Daniel 1:17-20)
To these four young men God gave knowledge and skill in every aspect of literature and wisdom; Daniel also had insight into all visions and dreams. At the end of the time that the king had set for them to be brought in, the palace master brought them into the presence of Nebuchadnezzar, and the king spoke with them. And among them all, no one was found to compare with Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah; therefore they were stationed in the king�s court. In every matter of wisdom and understanding concerning which the king inquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in his whole kingdom.
Daniel took risks for God, even where others had failed. (Daniel 2:12-19)
…the king flew into a violent rage and commanded that all the wise men of Babylon be destroyed. The decree was issued, and the wise men were about to be executed; and they looked for Daniel and his companions, to execute them. Then Daniel responded with prudence and discretion to Arioch, the king�s chief executioner, who had gone out to execute the wise men of Babylon; he asked Arioch, the royal official, �Why is the decree of the king so urgent?� Arioch then explained the matter to Daniel. So Daniel went in and requested that the king give him time and he would tell the king the interpretation. Then Daniel went to his home and informed his companions, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, and told them to seek mercy from the God of heaven concerning this mystery, so that Daniel and his companions with the rest of the wise men of Babylon might not perish. Then the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision of the night, and Daniel blessed the God of heaven.
Resolve now that you will choose the course of Daniel during your time at Stanford! Meditate on Daniel and the challenges he faced, imagine what analogous situations you might encounter at Stanford, and decide in advance how you will respond!