I arrived in the United States, August 1966, as a young, 16 year-old teenager, leaving the war-torn country of Iraq to come to Aurora, Illinois.
During the week before leaving, my father and uncle would grill me about how to conduct myself in a new country. They would go over and over how to obey the laws of United States, not to get into any trouble or situations that would jeopardize my staying here, and to ask questions before I acted.
On the flight over, I read the Book of Daniel several times in my Arabic Bible. Questions would pop up on what would I be and do. In a small way, I identified with Daniel, coming to a different culture, language, and laws.
Daniel was raised in a different country, religion, and laws that he practiced. Israel was taken into exile to Babylon. Daniel and his three friends, SHADRACH, MESHACH, and ABEDNEGO were brought into the king’s palace to be trained to be future advisers. They were ordered to eat the king’s food and adhere to the diet of the land. Daniel went and negotiated with the steward (eunuch) of the king to stay vegetarian, and God honored their commitment.
God has called us to use our gifts and talents to bring Glory to Him. It does not matter how young or old we are. We are like shining stars bringing light to this dark world. We need to invest our gifts in Him to see what God will do with them. God invested His great gift of His Son to a sinful world and out of that He gained sons and daughters.
God made a big difference in their lives, and so we, too, should follow his example and see what God does in our lives. There are people that need to be saved, feet to be washed, and people to be encouraged.
“But Daniel PURPOSED in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s delicacies, nor with the wine he drank.” Daniel 1:8a
To make a difference we must purpose in our hearts to obey the Lord, and we will bring glory to the Father.
P.S. Daniel served and had influence in four kingdoms.
Bill Badal is Pastor Emeritus at First Baptist. He was born and raised in Baghdad, Iraq, and moved to the United States as a teenager.