I’d like to introduce you to some fine boys—four of them, in fact: Hananiah, Mishael, Azariah, and Daniel. These boys were good-looking and smart, but they weren’t vain about it; they also honored and served God faithfully. They were the golden boys, they were the Rat Pack of their time and place, with Daniel playing Sinatra, and the other three assuming their proper lesser roles. Their potential was unlimited, their future bright. It would be tempting to believe that these good times would never end, that if they just followed the road they were on, it would lead them to a lifetime of prosperity, honor, and respect. It would be tempting to trust in the natural gifts the Lord had bestowed upon them, their good looks, their charm, their intelligence.
But then: a bend in the road.
It wasn't their fault, they had done nothing to deserve it, but suddenly the road they were traveling took an unexpected and unavoidable 90-degree turn to the left. Jerusalem was besieged, overrun, and conquered by Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon. The boys were given over as prisoners, spoils of war, slaves to this terrible foreign king. They would never see their beloved homeland again in their lifetime. They were probably made eunuchs, which meant they would never have families of their own. It would be tempting to despair, to doubt God, to doubt their position as God's chosen people.
And then: a bend in the road.