Daniel Part 1 (By Ben Fronczek)
In Deut. Chapter 28, God promised to bless the Jewish nation as long as they remained faithful to Him and the covenant they had made with Him. He also warns them that if they turned their back on the covenant they made with Him and disobeyed His holy law, and if they chased after false foreign gods they would suffer the consequences until they repent.
But despite the numerous warnings over the years, the Jews turned their back on God and the covenant they had made with Him. After sending Israel and Judah prophet after prophet to warn them to repent, God followed through with the promises made during the time of Moses. In Deut. 28 God told them that He would allow another nation that they did not know to come in and invade them. Their nation would be destroyed, only a few of them would survive, and some of their sons and daughters would be carried off in exile to a foreign land to serve their conquering king.
It is not only a Biblical fact it is also a historical fact that all this took place in 587BC. That leads us to the opening chapter of Daniel.
But before we read Chapter 1 there is one lesson I would like you to remember here: God does not forget the promises He makes, to bless or curse. He never forgets His promises!
In 2 Peter 3:3-13 we read how some people made fun of and scoffed at the promises God has make. But Peter reminds and warns people that there is a great day coming.
“Above all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. 4 They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” 5 But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water and by water. 6 By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. 7 By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.
8 But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. 9 The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.
11 Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives
Even though men are short-sighted and forget, God, and His word, and His promises last forever. They are never forgotten by Him, so we can take comfort in His promises..
“In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. 2 And the Lord delivered Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, along with some of the articles from the temple of God. These he carried off to the temple of his god in Babylonia and put in the treasure house of his god.”
Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, chief of his court officials, to bring into the king’s service some of the Israelites from the royal family and the nobility— 4 young men without any physical defect, handsome, showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well informed, quick to understand, and qualified to serve in the king’s palace. He was to teach them the language and literature of the Babylonians.
Nebuchadnezzar conquered the Jews and some were carried off into exile as predicted. Then the king ordered that some of the finest young men be groomed and trained to serve in the royal palace.
I believe we see our 2nd lesson here. The king, (the enemy) was not interested in the weak, the blind, the poor, the lame, nor the simple in his service, but rather he wanted Israel’s finest, those of noble or royal birth, those who not only looked good, but also those who were intelligent, wise and able to learn. I would dare to say that our enemy the devil is just as cunning. I believe he is more interested in enlisting those of us who are children of God. He already has the rest of the world so I believe he especially goes after those who have the most influence in God’s kingdom; the elders, the preachers, the Bible professors and Sunday school teachers, and those who are dedicated Christians. I believe he wants to win us over and into his service hoping that we compromise truth; maybe so that we will allow that which is untrue, even ungodly into our churches and schools to influence those who are weak.
Herein is where we learn from Daniel’s example.
Read Dan. 1:5-16
“The king assigned them a daily amount of food and wine from the king’s table. They were to be trained for three years, and after that they were to enter the king’s service.
6 Among those who were chosen were some from Judah: Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. 7 The chief official gave them new names: to Daniel, the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abednego.
8 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. 9 Now God had caused the official to show favor and compassion to Daniel, 10 but the official told Daniel, “I am afraid of my lord the king, who has assigned your[c] food and drink. Why should he see you looking worse than the other young men your age? The king would then have my head because of you.”
11 Daniel then said to the guard whom the chief official had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, 12 “Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. 13 Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food, and treat your servants in accordance with what you see.” So he agreed to this and tested them for ten days.
15 At the end of the ten days they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food. 16 So the guard took away their choice food and the wine they were to drink and gave them vegetables instead.”
The Babylonian strategy was to take the brightest and best from each culture and make them Babylonian in their thinking and Babylonian in their religion.
Daniel and his friends were humble and smart enough not to balk at being renamed, they knew that sticks and stones and Babylonian spears can break their bones, but changing their names could not really harm them. Name back then had more significance than names today.
In Hebrew DANIEL meant: “MY JUDGE IS ELOHIM.” Or GOD IS MY JUDGE
BELTESHAZZAR meant: “BEL (Lord of the World) PROTECTS THE KING.” ( Bel was the patron god of Babylon.)
HANANIAH meant: UNDER YAHWEH’S GRACE. Or God’s favored
SHADRACH meant: UNDER AKU’S Command (another Babylonian god)
MISHAEL meant: WHO IS WHAT GOD IS?
MESHACH meant: WHO IS WHAT AKU IS?
AZARIAH meant: SERVANT OF YAHWEH. Jehovah has helped
ABEDNEGO meant: SERVANT OF NEGO. (their god of wisdom and Literature)
They could handle being renamed but when it came to changing what they had to eat and drink, that was another story. Long before we knew about germs and microbes and the nature of diseases, God knew. So He forbid the nation of Israel from eating certain foods that were prone to disease if not handled right. Foods like pork chops and crustaceans. Foods that the King likely to serve for dinner.
In addition, the Babylonians had a practice of offering their animals up to their gods as sacrifices before they ate them. So Daniel and his friends wanted to stay away from eating any meat that had been offered to idols. And this is where we see what Daniel and his companions are made of, and why I believe God preserved their lives and did not destroy them along with almost all the other Jews.
Neb. was trying to get them to do the very thing that God had told them not to do from the time of Moses. Neb. would have them turn their back on the Lord and what He commanded in His law. It was the very reason He allowed Babylon to conquer Judea in the first place. Even at a young age (probably around 16) Daniel and his companions recognized this and they made a decision not to eat the king’s food or drink the kings wine.
Another thing we see here is that Daniel and his friends never said anything negative about the Babylonians or their particular customs and eating habits. They didn’t necessarily agree with all of it, but they were wise enough not to insult them and simply chose not to do that was against their moral and religious beliefs. They simply chose to follow God’s way not matter what.
As I thought about this I could not help but ask myself, ‘In the land of the Jews where immorality seem to prevail and the fear of God had faded away, how and where did these boy acquire the good morals and religious ethics that we see them possessing here?’
I can think of no place other than their home. Either one or both of their parents must have thought it important to teach their sons about God and what pleases Him even though everyone else was doing their own thing. That up-bringing, the religious instruction, and hearts that loved and honored YAHWEH is probably what saved their lives and brought them to Babylon.
But here they were again, having to make a decision to do something different than what everyone else was doing. Before they probably acted different than everyone else in Israel, now they chose to be different than everyone else in Babylon. They simply chose to do what God asked of them before they were ever captured.
But how could they do that? Why did they do that?
Well, they probably understood that God is in control. They may have even understood why God allowed Babylon to conquer their homeland and why they were in the palace this foreign king. It was all there in Deuteronomy 28. It was not a mistake. And maybe they recognized that God had placed them there for a purpose. So the culture did not threaten them. After all that they witnessed, they probably feared God more than they feared the king.
And because of their desire to obey God, rather than taking the easy way out they chose to obey God rather than this man. And what happens, God shows them favor in the eyes of the kings servant who would care for them.
Not only that, God blesses Daniel and his companions with healthy bodies, healthier than all the other young men. So the servant allowed Daniel and his companions to continue on with their diet.
So Here is Another lesson:
If you want to be wise and set yourself on a course for success always chose to do what God wants you to do over what others want and expect of you. You don’t have do what everyone else is doing. You don’t have to go along with things that are popular in our culture, in your workplace, or school. Nor should we be the one going around complaining and criticizing the culture we live in or particular customs of others. Instead, live with freedom and peace of mind knowing that our God in heaven rules. Just live right, be a good example. Be salt and light and God will help you rise above and even lead others if you put Him first. He was even polite as he asked the servant of the king, by saying, ‘please’.
Read Daniel 1:17-21
“To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds.
18 At the end of the time set by the king to bring them into his service, the chief official presented them to Nebuchadnezzar. 19 The king talked with them, and he found none equal to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah; so they entered the king’s service. 20 In every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king questioned them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in his whole kingdom. And Daniel remained there until the first year of King Cyrus.
Because Daniel and his companions remained faithful and true to Him, we read here that God continued to bless them with intelligence, wisdom and more over the next three years of their training. The text goes on to say that they were 10 timeswiser that anyone else in the kingdom.
I personally believe Daniel and his companions entered Babylon with more wisdom and understanding than any of those other young men from other conquered lands. Why do I believe that? Because faithful Jewish boys in that day, as well as some today, are taught by their fathers to read, study, and memorize Scripture. And Scripture carries with it a promise of making your wise and smart. – This might explain why over 90% of all Nobel prizes have been won by ethnic Jews, even though ethnic Jews make up less than 1% of the world’s population.
They study the scriptures.
The author of Ps. 119:99-100 wrote,
I have more insight than my teachers, for I am always thinking of your laws. 100 I am even wiser than my elders, for I have kept your commandments.
Daniel and his friends had high I.Q’s. because they knew God’s word.
Daniel and his friends had high I.Q’s. because they knew God’s word.
So our final lesson for today is seen right here. If you want to grow in wisdom and understanding, read God’s word, study it, digest it, even memorize it if you can. By doing so, the wisdom of God will become yours.
For more lessons click on the following link: