Saturday, February 14, 2009

Daniel 1

In the year 721 B.C. Israel was carried away captive by Sargon, into Assyria. These became the lost tribes of Israel, never to be heard of again. At the time of king Hezekiah, an angel destroyed the invading Assyrians coming to Judah. Hezekiah had foolishly shown all of his treasures to an envoy from Babylon and this brought Isaiah to the king with a message:

Isa 39:6 Behold, the days come, that all that is in thine house, and that which thy fathers have laid up in store until this day, shall be carried to Babylon: nothing shall be left, saith the LORD.
Isa 39:7 And of thy sons that shall issue from thee, which thou shalt beget, shall they take away; and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.

The time is 605 B.C. and the word of the LORD was to be fulfillled.

Dan 1:1 In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem, and besieged it.

Jehoiakim was a Judean king placed in power by the king of Egypt. His name meant "Yahweh raises up" but he was raised up by the King of Egypt. The King of Babylon came into Judah because the Pharaoh of Egypt had invaded Babylon. In response the young king of Babylon pursued the Egyptians, taking captive the Judeans and chased the Egyptians all the way to the Sinai. The Jewish nation fell because it was allied with Egypt, a symbol of the world. Judah had trusted the world and had turned from the LORD.

Dan 1:2 And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with part of the vessels of the house of God: which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his god; and he brought the vessels into the treasure house of his god.

Some of the articles of the Temple were taken, not all, perhaps the remainder were hidden. Removing the sacred vessels from the temple was as to say "my god is greater than your god," but God would show His glory to the mighty Babylons. There is none greater than our God.

Dan 1:3 And the king spake unto Ashpenaz the master of his eunuchs, that he should bring certain of the children of Israel, and of the king's seed, and of the princes;
Dan 1:4 Children in whom was no blemish, but well favoured, and skilful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science, and such as had ability in them to stand in the king's palace, and whom they might teach the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans.

2 Ki 24:12 And Jehoiachin the king of Judah went out to the king of Babylon, he, and his mother, and his servants, and his princes, and his officers: and the king of Babylon took him in the eighth year of his reign.
2 Ki 24:13 And he carried out thence all the treasures of the house of the LORD, and the treasures of the king's house, and cut in pieces all the vessels of gold which Solomon king of Israel had made in the temple of the LORD, as the LORD had said.
2 Ki 24:14 And he carried away all Jerusalem, and all the princes, and all the mighty men of valour, even ten thousand captives, and all the craftsmen and smiths: none remained, save the poorest sort of the people of the land.
2 Ki 24:15 And he carried away Jehoiachin to Babylon, and the king's mother, and the king's wives, and his officers, and the mighty of the land, those carried he into captivity from Jerusalem to Babylon.
2 Ki 24:16 And all the men of might, even seven thousand, and craftsmen and smiths a thousand, all that were strong and apt for war, even them the king of Babylon brought captive to Babylon.
2 Ki 24:17 And the king of Babylon made Mattaniah his father's brother king in his stead, and changed his name to Zedekiah.

A new home and a new language for Daniel who was among the young princes, in his early teens. He was uprooted, brought to a strange land to learn the wisdom of the land and the Chaldean language. Beginning in chapter 2 and verse 4, the book of Daniel was written in Chaldean.

Prov 1:7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Dan 1:5 And the king appointed them a daily provision of the king's meat, and of the wine which he drank: so nourishing them three years, that at the end thereof they might stand before the king.

A new diet. The king's fine food and wine, was a special diet given to the young men. The king's meal was the best the king had to offer, better than the average Babylonian meal. They were favored by the king.

Dan 1:6 Now among these were of the children of Judah, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah:
Dan 1:7 Unto whom the prince of the eunuchs gave names: for he gave unto Daniel the name of Belteshazzar; and to Hananiah, of Shadrach; and to Mishael, of Meshach; and to Azariah, of Abednego.

They were given new names after the gods of Babylon. The Hebrew given names were changed to Babylonian names; each had their own meanings.
Daniel, God is my judge was named Belteshazzar, Bel's prince.
Hannaniah, beloved of the LORD was named Shadrach, illumined by Sun-god.

Mishael, who is as God was named Meshach, who is like Venus.

Azariah, the LORD is my help was named Abed-Nego, servant of Nego

The four boys were dedicated to the LORD by their parents and had godly names. Now they were given names of Babylonian gods. The world will try to change the children dedicated to God, but God is faithful. If they were connected to the God of Israel, they would stay connected.

For three years the young men were to be trained in the knowledge of the Babylonians; the history, the literature and the language. Nebuchadnezzar was much more interested in indoctrination than in education. In a sense, this is no different from college today. Colleges and universities are all too often used to shape and bend the minds of young people to particular ideological views. Except for Christian colleges, most state and private schools are opposed to Christianity and it seems that three to four years is about the time needed to flush out Christianity and give a young person a new point of view. Would they stay true to the LORD or would they become as the world? The Hebrew children would serve the LORD first and then the king.

Daniel's Convictions

Rom 14:23 And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.

Dan 1:8 But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king's meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.

This was a decision based on spiritual convictions. The law of Moses has restrictions on foods and the meat prepared was to be bled and prepared in a "kosher" way. Orthodox Jews today will not eat meat that is not prepared under the law. No doubt the kings meat was sacrificed to idols. Paul in the New Testament speaks about not eating because it might offend. We are no longer under these laws, but we should be sensitive to those who are offended.

Rom 14:14 I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean.
Rom 14:15 But if thy brother be grieved with thy meat, now walkest thou not charitably. Destroy not him with thy meat, for whom Christ died.
Rom 14:16 Let not then your good be evil spoken of:
Rom 14:17 For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.
Rom 14:18 For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of men.
Rom 14:19 Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.
Rom 14:20 For meat destroy not the work of God. All things indeed are pure; but it is evil for that man who eateth with offence.
Rom 14:21 It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak.

Daniel chose to abide by the dietary laws that he had, under the law of his people. He had the courage to stand for his convictions. We are free to eat whatever we choose as long as it doesn't cause another to stumble. What are your convictions?

Dan 1:9 Now God had brought Daniel into favour and tender love with the prince of the eunuchs.

The man who was in charge of the keep and training of Daniel, was kind and sympathetic towards the young Daniel. This was of God, for surely many of us have had masters who were more as from the devil to work under.

Dan 1:10 And the prince of the eunuchs said unto Daniel, I fear my lord the king, who hath appointed your meat and your drink: for why should he see your faces worse liking than the children which are of your sort? then shall ye make me endanger my head to the king.

He was hearing Daniel, but he also feared the king. He was in charge to see that they were fed properly and kept in good shape. If he failed, his life would be in danger. Daniel stood by his convictions, yet others of his people were not spared. The king could be quite cruel. Just because we honor God, does not mean they will.

Jer 39:6 Then the king of Babylon slew the sons of Zedekiah in Riblah before his eyes: also the king of Babylon slew all the nobles of Judah.
Jer 39:7 Moreover he put out Zedekiah's eyes, and bound him with chains, to carry him to Babylon.

Dan 1:11 Then said Daniel to Melzar, whom the prince of the eunuchs had set over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, Dan 1:12 Prove thy servants, I beseech thee, ten days; and let them give us pulse to eat, and water to drink.
Dan 1:13 Then let our countenances be looked upon before thee, and the countenance of the children that eat of the portion of the king's meat: and as thou seest, deal with thy servants.
Dan 1:14 So he consented to them in this matter, and proved them ten days.
Dan 1:15 And at the end of ten days their countenances appeared fairer and fatter in flesh than all the children which did eat the portion of the king's meat.
Dan 1:16 Thus Melzar took away the portion of their meat, and the wine that they should drink; and gave them pulse.

This was God's doing, for eating vegetables only does not make one look fatter, they may make you healthy, but normally meat and gravy would make one fatter. God had his hand on these four boys. God has his hand on you too. Obey him and do not fear doing the will of God. Our convictions if based on God's word, will bring forth the blessings of God.

God Given Knowledge

Dan 1:17 As for these four children, God gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom: and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams.

God given abilities were given to these who were faithful and who trusted God. They gave themselves totally to God and he rewarded them with his knowledge and wisdom. Daniel was given understanding in all visions and dreams.

Jer 33:3 Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.

Dan 1:18 Now at the end of the days that the king had said he should bring them in, then the prince of the eunuchs brought them in before Nebuchadnezzar.

The three years of training were over. It is time to wait on the king. If the king required preparation to serve him, how much more should we be prepared to serve the King of Kings?

Dan 1:19 And the king communed with them; and among them all was found none like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: therefore stood they before the king.

They spoke together, they conversed. With the king, one must speak politely and be quick to hear and respond to the king's words. How do we come to the king of kings? Are we polite and do we listen to his words? We begin to listen by studying his word. Then we will know his voice from the voice of the devil. Do we come to God in anger and resentment? What would happen to those who approached the king of Babylon that way? Our God is loving and merciful, but his wrath will come to those who do not come to him through his son. He sent Jesus, because he loves us and desires to commune with us.

Dan 1:20 And in all matters of wisdom and understanding, that the king inquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm.

The children who served God were ten times wiser and more understanding then who? the wisest of the Babylonians who inquired in the the devil's magic and astrology. We do not receive wisdom from darkness. This is false knowledge. A dedicated person with God's spirit is wiser than the children of the world.

Dan 1:21 And Daniel continued even unto the first year of king Cyrus.

Daniel served in the government during the reigns of 4 kings including Nebuchadnezzar, Belshazzar, Darius, and Cyrus, over a period of 60 or more years. He served in three kingdoms: Babylon, Media and Persia.Daniel and his friends had convictions based on God's law. They were faithful and God rewarded their faithfulness by increasing their abilities. They had great character and wisdom when faced with change and retraining, they held on to their faith. He will do the same for all who trust him and live by faith.

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