young men in whom there was no blemish, but good-looking, gifted in all wisdom, possessing knowledge and quick to understand, who had ability to serve in the king’s palace, and whom they might teach the language and literature of the Chaldeans. Dan 1:4 NKJV

Let’s look at the context of the book of Daniel and the verses preceding the verse for today. The book of Daniel is a fascinating book and full of prophetic visions. In verses, 1 through 3, the Babylonian king, Nebuchadnezzar, conquers Jerusalem and takes the people into captivity.

The people were taken to Babylon in three waves. Royal families and nobles along with the skilled and educated individuals were taken into captivity in that first wave in 605 BC. Daniel, a gifted prince, was in that first wave. A second wave was brought to Babylon in 597 BC and the third wave in 586 BC. Although most Jews were taken into captivity, the very poorest of the Jews remained in Jerusalem. And those held in captivity were exiled for seventy years.

Today’s verse defines how the Babylonians sought to exploit the talents of those they brought into captivity and make sure they were indoctrinated into the Babylonian lifestyle.

Daniel didn’t fit in. He and his three friends: Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were different. But they stuck together and stood apart even though others from their nation sought to fit into the Babylonian lifestyle.

That’s true for us today. Especially in younger people. They seek to “fit in”. Every person is unique and beautiful having different personalities and gifts and shouldn’t have to worry about peer pressure. Encourage young people to develop their talents. Even if those talents lie in off-the-beaten-path areas. Explore your difference and celebrate it! Seek those who have the same gifts and are like-minded. That’s a way to fit in and still be true to one’s character and self.