“When the training period ordered by the king was completed, the chief of staff brought all the young men to King Nebuchadnezzar. The king talked with them, and no one impressed him as much as Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. So they entered the royal service. Whenever the king consulted them in any matter requiring wisdom and balanced judgment, he found them ten times more capable than any of the magicians and enchanters in his entire kingdom. Daniel remained in the royal service until the first year of the reign of King Cyrus.” Daniel 1:18-21
It is just amazing what serving God can do for you. Here we have these young men that were no more than teenagers. Their wisdom was ten times better than anyone that lived in Babylon. They stood out simply because the hand of the Lord was upon them. They lived lives that were diligent before the Lord, being careful to walk with God in all areas of their lives. They were in Babylon but not of Babylon. They were just as we should be, in the world, but not part of the world. This is a difficult thing to do. The more we are in the world the more we become like the world. Daniel and his friends show us that inner conviction can overcome any outer pressure, and that God-honoring convictions yield God-given rewards.
Daniel continued serving until the first year of King Cyrus: Daniel had a long, successful career in the worst of circumstances. He worked for tyrants who thought nothing of killing their staff and advisors, much less of firing them. His employer suffered the worst kind of hostile takeover when the Medo-Persian Empire conquered the Babylonian Empire. I cannot think of anyone else in the entire realm of history that lived his whole life, from teenager to senior citizen, as a constant testimony for God. The impact of his life spread to the captives in Babylon. He was the only consistent thing they had throughout the captivity.