I may not overcome the inevitable, but O it is mine to see that the inevitable does not overcome me. — Mureil Strode, My Little Book of Prayer

The Babylonian exile ushered in a very dark season for the Hebrew tribe of Judah. Their king had been delivered into the hand of their enemies. Articles from their precious temple of God? These too were carried away and put in the pagan treasury of the Babylonian king. A dark day, indeed.

Put yourself in their place. The people of Judah probably felt that they were immune to this sort of thing. They probably thought that they deserved better. They had read the promises that God would “never forsake” them. They were His people, the chosen ones—so they should have been able to live simple, blessed lives. Right? Well, not so much.

Listen, Daniel and his friends found themselves living out a script that they never would have written for themselves. Kidnapped from their families, taken from their homeland, made into eunuchs, forced to study repulsive theologies and eat things that were contrary to the Law of God… No, this was not what Daniel and his friends had hoped for. But what could they do? They couldn’t change their circumstances, but they had the power to control their responses to it.

The chief official gave them new names: to Daniel, the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abednego. But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way. (Daniel 1:7-8)

Get this: When Daniel and his friends realized that living in exile was inevitable, they tactfully and respectfully put their foot down and said “no” to certain things. A request that questioned a direct order from the king was most likely punishable by death. Still, they said, “No. We draw a line here.” When we say “no” to the accepted norm, there will be consequences as well. But what can we do?

Dear Lord, I ask that You would move in my heart and my mind right now. Show me just one thing that I need to say “no” to today. I can’t refuse this thing on my own. I trust in You, and You in me, to give me both the will and the ability to say “no” to this thing. Thank You for removing it. Now replace it with awesome things that bring glory to Your name! Amen.

Taken from Pete’s series Living in Exile: God Working Behind the Scenes.