Daniel was a young man of deep convictions. He knew and understood the ways of God, even in his youth. He must have spent much of his young life studying the law because he knew it well by the time he was taken captive into Babylon. Daniel knew the importance of remaining pure and undefiled, even in a culture that was saturated with pagan practices and idol worship. It was because of his love for God and his commitment to purity that God entrusted Daniel with the ability to understand and interpret dreams and visions. And this divine ability served him well many times during Daniel's service to the king.
Daniel was among the Israelites taken captive from Jerusalem when King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon besieged it. Although Scripture does not specifically state so, many scholars believe that Daniel became a eunuch. Yet despite the unfair circumstances, his faith remained strong. Daniel was selected to be part of the king's court because he met certain criteria according to the king's request. The men chosen were to be ones "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." (Daniel 1:4)
Daniel, even as a youth, displayed these characteristics. He already was considered one of the best of the best. But because of Daniel's obedient and submissive heart, God took him and made him better. In fact, the Bible says that in wisdom and understanding, Daniel and his three friends, Shadrach, Meshac, and Abed-nego, were 10 times better than any of the magicians and astrologers in the entire empire.
Daniel's new life in a foreign land included instruction in both the language and literature of the Babylonians. As a eunuch in the king's court, Daniel was exposed daily to the riches, the luxury, and all the other seductions of the Babylonian Empire. Yet he was determined to remain consecrated, not partaking of the delicacies provided to him by the king. To refuse the provisions meant sure consequences for him and for those overseeing his instruction. Yet Daniel remained steadfast, knowing that God would honor his choice to obey divine law rather than the laws of men.
Daniel had a greater respect for and fear of God than he did of the king. Knowing and believing that God would use him, Daniel kept his focus on God. In both the Babylon and the Persian Empires, Daniel was made great in the eyes of the kings and fellow men. The supernatural miracles that occurred in Daniel's life were recognized as ones that only the God of heaven and earth could do. To have the ability to not only interpret a dream but to state the dream without having prior foreknowledge, or to interpret the writings on the wall made by the finger of God, or to be rescued from the mouths of lions, are all displays of the faith of a man who, from his youth, determined to learn and follow the ways of God.