Prophecies of Daniel 1, Part 5

October 17, 2015 at 8:57 AM 1 comment

Daniel is examined by King Nebuchadnezzar

Daniel is examined by King Nebuchadnezzar

Previously, in our most recent installment of this series, we covered Daniel 1:15-17.  Let’s pick things up with Daniel 1:18.

Then at the end of the days which the king had specified for presenting them, the commander of the officials presented them before Nebuchadnezzar.

The time period set aside by Nebuchadnezzar had come to an end, which was three years, according to Dr. Thomas Constable. “At the end of their three-year curriculum, the four faithful friends received a final examination that included an oral testing by the king himself (cf. Prov. 22:29).” [1]

Imagine the things that happened to Daniel and his friends, happening to you. First, the country and even city where you were born and raised is overrun by a neighboring ruler. Nebuchadnezzar and his troops would have needed to go north from Babylon so that they could go around the northern part of the Mountains of Israel in order to attack and besiege Israel and Jerusalem. This they did and they seemed to be able to conquer the area without much resistance. This is because God gave Israel into Nebuchadnezzar’s hand.

As a young man of 17, you are hauled off to make the long trek to Babylon where it will become your new home. You are in essence jailed in a foreign land, forced to learn a foreign language and customs, and made to eat foods that your own God has determined to be “unclean.” That was the first test Daniel and his friends faced and God blessed Daniel’s resolve not to defile himself with the king’s choice foods and instead was permitted to eat vegetables and drink water for 10 days to determine what effect this diet might have on him (and his friends).

God blessed Daniel’s desire to please Him and the food he ate and the water he drank did profit him. We can assume that for the remaining three years of his Babylonian education, Daniel and his friends continued to eat this same vegetable diet.

Also during this time, Daniel and his friends were students in Nebuchadnezzar’s court. It is where they learned the language, the customs, and the beliefs of the Babylonians. It is also where God gave Daniel great discernment and the ability to understand visions and dreams (as noted in Daniel 1:17).

Three years later, the time of education had come to an end and a final time of testing has arrived. The young men would stand before King Nebuchadnezzar himself and the king would determine who – if any – of the young men would become part of his personal court and serve him as counselors. The young men were presented to Nebuchadnezzar and those who had charge of them and their education also came under the scrupulous interrogation of Nebuchadnezzar. Not directly, but as Nebuchadnezzar tested the young men through questioning, it would also become clear how well his people had trained them. The next verse – Daniel 1:19 – provides us the results, not only of Daniel’s obedience to God in choosing the proper diet, but also in how God blessed these young men because of their obedience to Him.

The king talked with them, and out of them all not one was found like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah; so they entered the king’s personal service.

What we learn is that out of all the young men taken captive by King Nebuchadnezzar to Babylon, placed in an educational program designed to retrain them so that they would forget about their Jewish upbringing and the God of Abraham and educate them in the ways of Babylonians, only four far-exceeded the learning of the others. Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego (the Babylonian or Chaldean names of three of the men are given in the text), were literally choice young men, while the others did not even come close. It was a simple matter for the king to see such a variance and choose the four young men.

Let me also say here that while God blessed these four young men, it seems that He specifically had plans to use Daniel for His purposes. We should be extremely glad of that because had not God chose Daniel or had Daniel been in some way disobedient and compromised his commitment to God, we might not have the book of Daniel today. It was due to Daniel’s supreme desire to please God, to live according to God’s decrees, that God was able to bless Daniel enough to actually reveal future events to us through Daniel.

This lesson should not go unnoticed by us. Above all things, we should seek to obey God because our obedience from the heart pleases Him greatly. This does not mean that He will give us the ability to understand dreams and visions, but He will bless us with greater discernment and a more solid desire to continue living in a way that pleases Him because our lives will bring Him glory, voluntarily.

In too many ways today, Christians wind up compromising their testimony with the world. We give a little here and give a little there. Before we know it, there is virtually no difference outwardly between the lives of many Christians and many unsaved people. Shouldn’t our lives stand out?

Please also note that Daniel did not take a “holier than thou” approach with those who were in charge of his care. He did not demand to eat only those foods Judaism considered to be clean. He did not even become righteously indignant. In all things, he acted the part of the gentlemen and established respect even to his captors. Daniel seemed to know right away that God had allowed him to be captured. He clearly believed God was with him and that God wanted to use him.

We will not know how Daniel’s faith affected his captors until we get to heaven. Then, we may well learn of the impact Daniel’s godly life had on those who were in charge of his keeping. It may well be that many were turned to the true, the only God, the God of Israel.

Because Daniel was faithful in what might be considered the “little” things (though they are not little to God), He was given greater responsibility as he and his friends were placed into the king’s personal service. Beyond this, Daniel was also used mightily by God as the human vehicle through which a great many things related to Israel and the end times became known. Without the twelve chapters of Daniel, we would know nothing of the “70 weeks” or of anything else that was foretold by God, through he angelic messenger, to Daniel and ultimately to us.

Yes, the events that were foretold long before they occurred in Daniel 11, as a for instance, would still have taken place in history. However, we would not have God’s record of the event long before those events transpired. This should instill within us tremendous faith that the things God reveals do occur. Reading the book of Daniel should cause our faith to grow as we see how much God stooped in order to reveal things to Daniel way before they actually happened on the timeline of history.

Had Daniel not been faithful to God in the area of clean and unclean foods, there is all probability that we would not have the book of Daniel today.

We will be back with Daniel 1:20-21 next time.

 

[1] Dr. Thomas L. Constable’s Notes on Daniel (2015 edition), p. 23

Entry filed under: christianity, israel, Judaism, Religious - Christian - End Times, Religious - Christian - Prophecy, Religious - Christian - Theology, salvation. Tags: .

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