For two years, Jerusalem lay under siege. No food, supplies, or medicine. Two years of siege led to starvation. And desperation.
The hands of compassionate women have boiled their own children;
they became their food during the destruction of the daughter of my people. Lamentations 4:10
Fingers of famine and fear snaked into every nook as the noose tightened around Jerusalem.
And finally, one night the Chaldeans broke through the Northern wall. The king fled and the Chaldeans set fire to the city. Panic reigned as soldiers raged through the street raping mothers, slaughtering fathers, and choosing young men.
Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were among the chosen. With the rest of the captives they marched 500 miles from Judah to Babylon. Some of the youth didn’t make it.
Every step toward Babylon was a step away from family, from culture, from community. A step away from who they were.
The assault on their identity was purposeful, calculated. They were chosen because they were young, bright, good-looking, of the royal family. By the time they arrived in Babylon, they were near death and ripe for the destruction of their identity.
Their captor became their friend, their savior, really, providing them with shelter, safety, clothing. No longer starving, they were feasting on the king’s food, drinking the king’s wine. And so, when Nebuchadnezzar offered them new names, Babylonian names, they were ready.
But not Daniel. Daniel refused the king’s food and wine. In spite of all the assault, he clung to what he knew to be true. He remembered who he was. He stayed true to himself.
And I’m wondering today … what or who is assaulting your identity? What siege is surrounding your heart, your mind? What horrors have you faced that make you question who you really are? What long, long road are you traveling that threatens to destroy your sense of self? What savior are you trusting? What name are you taking?
In the midst of the mess, the horror, the pain, the assault on your identity … remember who you really are. Stay true.
Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself … And God gave Daniel favor and compassion. Daniel 1:8-9