The Youth’s Instructor


September 6, 1900

A Lesson From Daniel's Experience


God helps those who place themselves where they can be best qualified for his service. Divine power unites with the efforts of the earnest seeker for truth, giving him the fitness he needs for God's work. Daniel placed himself in right relation to God, and to his outward circumstances and opportunities. He was taken a captive to Babylon, and with others was placed under training to be prepared for a place in the king's court. His food and drink were appointed him; but we read that he determined not to defile himself with the king's meat, nor with the wine which he drank. YI September 6, 1900, par. 1

In taking this step, Daniel did not act rashly. He knew that by the time he was called to appear before the king, the advantage of healthful living would be apparent. Cause would be followed by effect. Daniel said to Melzar, who had been given charge of him and his companions: “Prove thy servants, I beseech thee, ten days; and let them give us pulse to eat and water to drink.” Daniel knew that ten days would be time enough to prove the benefit of abstemiousness. “Then let our countenances be looked upon before thee, and the countenance of the children that eat of the portion of the king's meat: and as thou seest, deal with thy servants. So he consented to them in this matter, and proved them ten days. And at the end of ten days their countenances appeared fairer and fatter in flesh than all the children which did eat the portion of the king's meat.” YI September 6, 1900, par. 2

Having done this, Daniel and his companions did still more. They did not choose as companions those who were agents of the prince of darkness. They did not go with a multitude to do evil. They secured Melzar as their friend, and there was no friction between him and them. They went to him for advice, and at the same time enlightened him by the wisdom of their deportment. YI September 6, 1900, par. 3

It was God's purpose that these youth should become channels of light to the kingdom of Babylon. Satan was determined to defeat this purpose. He worked upon the minds of the youth who had refused to be God's representatives, causing them to be jealous of Daniel and his companions. At Satan's suggestion they laid plans to entrap those who were making such steady, rapid advancement in knowledge. They tried to mislead and deceive the Hebrew youth, endeavoring by flattery to lead them into wrong. But they failed signally, because these youth had on the armor of light; they fastened themselves to the promise, “Let him take hold of my strength, that he may make peace with me; and he shall make peace with me.” YI September 6, 1900, par. 4

Daniel and his friends knew that they must keep the eye single to the glory of God, seek wisdom and strength and grace from on high, and not allow themselves to be led, by smiles or frowns, to yield to the sophistry of Satan. They knew that no human power could be to them wisdom and righteousness and sanctification. Satan was trying to compass their destruction. Nothing but the wisdom and strength and firmness and heroism that God could give would enable them to maintain their position in the way of holiness. They knew that they were not yet fully acquainted with the character of Satan's enmity. They would have to watch unto prayer; for they were ignorant of the obstacles they would have to surmount. They knew that barriers would rise in their way, that embarrassment would surround them on every side. YI September 6, 1900, par. 5

They made a faithful study of the word of God, that they might know the divine will. By faith they believed that the One whom they served would communicate to them his will; and in answer to their faith God opened his will to them. The word of God was to them a light shining in a dark place. They made that word their text-book, looking upon it as the foundation upon which they must build character. They had only a part of the Old Testament. The youth of today have increased light. The Bible teaches the whole duty of men, women, and children. YI September 6, 1900, par. 6

Divine wisdom came to Daniel and his companions as they studied God's word. They knew that it was their authority, and that it demanded their obedience. The truth was to them of the highest importance; for it placed their duty before them in a clear light. YI September 6, 1900, par. 7

Satan often cast his shadow across their pathway, to obscure their view of divine light, and darken their faith and confidence in God. But they would not yield, and the Lord gave them wisdom and power to prevail with him in prayer. As they followed the course of study outlined for them in the courts of Babylon, they made it their aim to become statesmen who would never sacrifice principle in order to obtain advantages for themselves. They knew that they were in an enemy's country, under the power of the Babylonian king; and they were obedient in all things save where they were asked to sacrifice truth. YI September 6, 1900, par. 8

“Now at the end of the days that the king had said he should bring them in, then the prince of the eunuchs brought them in before Nebuchadnezzar. And the king communed with them; and among them all was found none like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: therefore stood they before the king. And in all matters of wisdom and understanding, that the king inquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm.” YI September 6, 1900, par. 9

He who gave wisdom and understanding to Daniel is willing to give wisdom and understanding to all who place themselves in the same relation to him that Daniel did. None need have a superficial education. Read how Paul enjoined on Timothy constancy and perseverance in the faithful performance of duty. “Thou therefore, my son,” he wrote, “be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.... Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” Work for God with humility and earnestness, teaching truth from love to God and man. Untold good is accomplished by the faithful, humble Christian, who prays, and then lives his prayers. YI September 6, 1900, par. 10

Mrs. E. G. White