Prophecies of Daniel 1, Part 6

October 20, 2015 at 2:24 PM

obedienceIn our previous installment, we discussed verses 18 and 19 of Daniel chapter one. There are only two more verses to discuss in Daniel 1, so let’s look at them; verses 20-21.

20 As for every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king consulted them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and conjurers who were in all his realm. 21 And Daniel continued until the first year of Cyrus the king.

Clearly, as we note from the above verses, God seriously blessed Daniel and his friends, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego. Notice that King Nebuchadnezzar felt that these four young men were not only wiser and more intelligent than the other captives who had been brought from Jerusalem after Nebuchadnezzar had laid siege to it, but in reality, Nebuchadnezzar believed they excelled in wisdom, discernment, and intelligence by ten times that of “…all the magicians and conjurers…” from Nebuchadnezzar’s entire kingdom!

This says a great deal about Daniel and his friends. It also tells us a great deal about God. This does not mean that God will bless us with tremendous intelligence or even wisdom in worldly things if we choose to obey Him. What it does mean is that God will bless us in ways that are perfect for us and most beneficial to Him.

Since God had a plan for Daniel especially with respect to how God would use him, the fact that He blessed Daniel with the powers of wisdom and understanding that far exceeded anyone in the Babylonian Kingdom tells us that God had a plan. The plan is known to us because of the book of Daniel itself.

All the events of chapter 1, beginning with Daniel’s insignificance in Judah and his quick rise to great significance in Babylon, demonstrate God’s sovereignty in the past. [1]

Because of this, Daniel 1 tells us a great deal about Daniel and his character. We then understand later when the angelic messenger tells Daniel that he was greatly beloved or highly esteemed (cf. Daniel 9:23). He was so because he placed a tremendously high value on obedience to God. But this obedience was not born out of a sense of duty only, but a true desire to please God in all things.

We can compare this to our first parents, Eve and Adam. They had a job to do in the Garden of Eden and they were free to eat anything they wanted to eat, except for the fruit of one specific tree (cf. Genesis 2 and 3). Had they remained obedient to God in this regard (the “small” thing), they would no doubt have been given great honor and eternal life. Instead, they cast God’s law aside, preferring to believe instead that God was selfish, that He did not trust His new Creation, that He did not want to share true knowledge with them, the knowledge of good and evil.

I believe that had Eve and Adam remained true to God and His Word, they would have gained the knowledge of good and evil appropriately and not through their own experience of transgression. However, as we know, they gained their understanding of evil by firsthand experience, their own experience of sinning through rebellion. Imagine what would have been avoided had our first parents been true to God and denied the temptation to ignore God’s law.

Daniel took a similar test and passed it with flying colors. He did so with a sin nature already resident within him, unlike Eve and Adam, who had been created without a sin nature, only to choose to have one develop later on through their desire to serve themselves.

In Daniel 1:8-14, we see Daniel’s desire to remain faithful to God. In Daniel 1:15-16, we see Daniel actually remaining faithful to God. His desire to remain faithful to God carried him through so that in reality, Daniel was faithful. It all starts with our desire. If we want to be or remain faithful to God, that is more than half the battle and wanting to be/remain faithful will help us get there.

Eve did not wish to remain faithful and apparently, neither did Adam. They both chose a path of unfaithfulness where God was concerned and it stemmed from their own inordinate desires. Eve saw that the fruit was good and satiated her own desires because of that.

When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate… (Genesis 3:6)

It shouldn’t have mattered how good the tree looked or how “desirable” it may have been for wisdom. None of that should have mattered but unfortunately, it did for Eve. There is no sense that Adam felt the same way Eve did about the fruit at all.

…and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate, (Genesis 3:6b)

I get the picture that Adam simply sat there, watching and listening to this conversation going back and forth between Eve and the Serpent. Instead of interjecting and telling the serpent to leave, Adam sat there like one would watch a tennis match. Once Eve made the decision to eat of the fruit and did so, she turns to her man and offers the same fruit. Adam takes it and eats without question without hesitation.

They both had desires that were unique to them. They both used those desires to determine truth and unfortunately for them (and us), actual truth, God’s truth, is not determined on how we feel about something. Truth is truth.

Instead, Eve and Adam used how they felt about something and through it, fell headlong into sin. They plunged the entire human race and all of Creation into a sinful state.

Daniel’s desires were to please God and because of that, he understood that he had to follow God’s truth (law) without question. Far from a legalist, Daniel desired to please God. He wasn’t simply going through empty motions. He endeavored to please God from his (Daniel’s) heart. His heart was “right” with God and because of it, the proper actions flowed.

Eve’s heart was not “right” with God and because of that, she sinned by falling away from God, just as Lucifer sinned before her.

Our main takeaway from Daniel 1 is to understand how much Daniel wanted to please God in all things. He didn’t want to simply give lip service to things. He didn’t want to just go through motions and he certainly did not want to compromise his faith because it would have been easier to do that.

Instead, Daniel wanted in all things to obey God. God paved the way for Daniel to do just that and then blessed Daniel because of Daniel’s desires.

Our desires as Christians should be to please God in all things. We should love others as God loves us. We should love them enough to want them to enter into their own personal relationship with Jesus that begets salvation, eternal life.

If you have a desire to please God in the little things, He will give you increased responsibility in bigger things. It all starts with our desire though. What is your desire?

This brings us to the end of Daniel 1. Thanks for joining me.

 

[1] Dr. Constable’s Notes on Daniel (2015 Edition), p. 12

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

Jack Kelly of Grace Thru Faith Goes Home to His Lord Prophecies of Daniel 2, Part 1


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