Last Sunday, I spoke at Dixie Valley Church of God in Louisville, at the very gracious request of their pastor, Lindsey Cornett. Â He offered me the chance to introduce his church to the Emerging Scholars Network, and the visit resulted in a number of good contacts and good conversations.Â
Daniel is one of the Biblical models for ESN: a scholar, devoted to God from his youth, who became a redeeming influence in the kingdom of Babylon. Â If you’ve never thought about Daniel as a scholar, noticed how he was chosen to be taken to Babylon.Â
Â Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, chief of his court officials, to bring in some of the Israelites from the royal family and the nobility-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.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. (Dan. 1:3-5)Â
Here in Kentucky, we’re accustomed to hearing the term “brain drain,” when bright young students leave the state for better opportunities elsewhere. Â This was not a brain drain – this was a brain vacuum! Â Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, purposely sought the best and the brightest among the young Israelites, so that they could be trained in the ways of the Babylonians.Â
Daniel and his friends not only persevered: they flourished. Â Here is the final assessment at the end of their training.Â
Â At the end of the time set by the king to bring them in, the chief official presented them to Nebuchadnezzar.Â The king talked with them, and he found none equal to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah; so they entered the king’s service.Â 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. (Dan. 1:18-20)
Everything else that Daniel would accomplish was made possible by that early commitment to both God and his studies. Â
And you think that was good, then check out what’s coming at this year’s Following Christ.