In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with some of the vessels of the house of God. And he brought them to the land of Shinar, to the house of his god, and placed the vessels in the treasury of his god. Then the king commanded Ashpenaz, his chief eunuch, to bring some of the people of Israel, both of the royal family and of the nobility, youths without blemish, of good appearance and skillful in all wisdom, endowed with knowledge, understanding learning, and competent to stand in the king’s palace, and to teach them the literature and language of the Chaldeans. The king assigned them a daily portion of the food that the king ate, and of the wine that he drank. They were to be educated for three years, and at the end of that time they were to stand before the king. Among these were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah of the tribe of Judah. And the chief of the eunuchs gave them names: Daniel he called Belteshazzar, Hananiah he called Shadrach, Mishael he called Meshach, and Azariah he called Abednego. Daniel 1:1-7 ESV
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life—the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us—that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. I John 1:1-3 ESV
Ho Dae He was born in Taiwan, but when he was 12 years old he came to the United States. He left a world of bicycles and village markets and came to a world of cars and shopping malls. He didn’t speak any English at all, or even know the English alphabet, and he had to start all over again with his learning in American schools. He got a new name, David Ho, which made him sound more American. When David Ho grew up, he did some important work. He worked on fighting the disease called AIDS, and on developing medicines to treat it. David Ho benefited his new country and the whole world as well.
The exiles who were first taken to Babylon from Judah were the royal family and the noble families, and King Nebuchadnezzar intended the young people in these families to benefit their new county. He chose the strongest and best young men and took them into his royal court. They had to learn a new language and all about the culture of their new country. They were even given new Babylonian names. Daniel and his three friends were going to be expected to serve Babylon. God would be with them and help them do good for their new country.
When God came to live among us in Jesus, he became a human person who lived and ate and talked and worked among his people. Jesus came to benefit all the people in the world he had come to live in by showing us what God is like and teaching us his ways. He came to give his life so that our sins could be forgiven, and because of Jesus’ death, we are God’s people. The Lord works through us to bless other people as long as we live in this world, and in the end we will live forever with him in his heavenly kingdom.
Dear Jesus, thank you for coming to help us and bless us. Please work through us to help and bless other people. Amen.