This week on The Greek and Christian Podcast we’re starting a segment all about God and Pledging. We know the pledging process is different for everyone (Alison and John share some of their stories from this time on part one of this week’s episode!). If you are just starting the pledging process - or will later this year - this is tailored to you. Instead of a guest interview, we’re breaking down a story from Daniel. If you want the full discussion, make sure to listen to the podcast episode! We hope this devotional helps you dive in a little deeper and think about what this story could mean for you. If you’re an active member looking for advice on how to navigate the pledging process, check out part two of this week’s episode.
Daniel lived in ancient Israel around 600 BC, before Jesus’ time. The pagan nation of Babylon came and conquered Israel, then they deported all the people back to Babylon. Babylon was a totally different place than Israel. The land, language, history, lifestyle, and religion were all foreign to the Israelites. Daniel was an Israelite who followed the God of Israel. He was deported to Babylon where they started a “new member” process to change his cultural and religious values and beliefs, to those of Babylon. It’s basically the ultimate pledge experience.
3 Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, chief of his court officials, to bring into the king’s service some of the Israelites from the royal family and the nobility— 4 young men without any physical defect, handsome, showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well informed, quick to understand, and qualified to serve in the king’s palace. He was to teach them the language and literature of the Babylonians. 5 The king assigned them a daily amount of food and wine from the king’s table. They were to be trained for three years, and after that they were to enter the king’s service.
6 Among those who were chosen were some from Judah: Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. 7 The chief official gave them new names: to Daniel, the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abednego.
8 But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way. 9 Now God had caused the official to show favor and compassion to Daniel, 10 but the official told Daniel, “I am afraid of my lord the king, who has assigned your food and drink. Why should he see you looking worse than the other young men your age? The king would then have my head because of you.”
11 Daniel then said to the guard whom the chief official had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, 12 “Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. 13 Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food, and treat your servants in accordance with what you see.” 14 So he agreed to this and tested them for ten days.
15 At the end of the ten days they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food. 16 So the guard took away their choice food and the wine they were to drink and gave them vegetables instead.
17 To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds.
18 At the end of the time set by the king to bring them into his service, the chief official presented them to Nebuchadnezzar. 19 The king talked with them, and he found none equal to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah; so they entered the king’s service. 20 In every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king questioned them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in his whole kingdom.
Questions to Consider
Of course, Greek life has a very different aim in their pledge process than we see in this story. In the podcast, we share that many Greek chapters are shaped by Christian values, and we also know that most of the time we don’t see that in practice today. As you reflect on or begin to navigate your pledging process, pay attention to your values. In another episode of the podcast this season, Kimberly Blackford shared “You have to know who you are in Christ and what you’re willing to do and what you’re not.“ May you remember that this pledging season! Need help navigating the process? Fill out the contact form on our homepage so we can help connect you with a Greek IV chapter or staff.