A Man Of Prayer & Prophecy

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World Bible Challenge

In our study of Daniel chapter one, we will look at a great man of prayer and examine the prophecies that were given to him concerning the end times. In this first chapter, we will get a little background on the man and his character.

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Daniel 1:1 & 2

In the third year of the reign of Y'hoyakim king of Y'hudah, N'vukhadnetzar king of Bavel came to Yerushalayim and laid siege to it; and Adonai handed Y'hoyakim king of Y'hudah over to him, along with some of the articles from the house of God. He took them to the land of Shin'ar, to the house of his god and placed the articles in the storehouse of his god.

Jehoiakim was a king that did not follow in the footsteps of his father who was a righteous ruler. Instead, he showed contempt for the word of God as was given by the prophet Jeremiah. We see that the events that follow took place in the third year of his reign as king and we are reminded that the number three speaks of God revealing his will on earth. We see a lack of faith in the fact that the Babylonians laid siege to Jerusalem instead of the army of Judah going out to meet the enemy. Because of his lack of repentance, the Lord turned him and the city of Jerusalem over to the Babylonians. With the victory came spoils from the fallen city which were taken back to Babylon.

Daniel 1:3 & 4

The king ordered Ashp'naz, the eunuch serving as his chief officer, to bring into the palace from the people of Isra'el some of royal or noble descent. They were to be boys without physical defect, handsome in appearance, versed in all kinds of wisdom, quick to learn, discerning, and having the capacity to serve in the king's palace; and he was to teach them the language and literature of the Kasdim.

Along with other treasures was taken the best and the brightest of the children from the royalty of Judah. The purpose was to teach them to serve as slaves in the palace. This was a matter of pride in that, when people visited the king, they would see that the best and the brightest of Israel were brought down to the level of slavery by King Nebuchadnezzar.

Daniel 1:5

The king assigned them a daily portion of his own food and the wine he drank, and they were to be cared for in this way for three years. At the end of this time they were to become the king's attendants.

As we remember, the number three is associated with the display of God's will here on the earth. King Nebuchadnezzar wanted to train them for three years and then show them off like trophies. We may ask ourselves why God would allow his children to be treated like this. The simple fact of the matter is that he has a bigger plan and this is all a part of his will. We can remember this as we face the challenges in our lives and hold onto the fact that God is in control and his will is going to be done both here on the earth and in heaven.

Daniel 1:6

Among these, from the people of Y'hudah, were Dani'el, Hananyah, Misha'el and 'Azaryah.

We notice that, in verse 3, the people being brought into the palace were referred to as "people of Israel" while here they are "people of Judah" and this change is to make us notice that these were individuals who wanted to give God praise. Among the men taken to be trained were four in particular: Daniel whose name means "God is my judge", Mishael "Who is what God is", Hananiah "Whom Jehovah has graciously given" and Azariah "whom Jehovah helps". All of these names give us the expectation of God about to do a mighty work.

Daniel 1:7

The chief officer gave them other names - to Dani'el he gave the name Belt'shatzar; to Hananyah, Shadrakh; to Misha'el, Meishakh; and to 'Azaryah, 'Aved-N'go.

The first step in making these young men proper servants of Babylon was to make them forget their old identity. Therefore, they were given new names and each of them had a meaning: Belteshazzar "Bel's prince" Bel was the principal god of Babylon and it would have been an attempt to flatter Daniel by calling him a prince of their god. Meshach "little sheep" who was one they thought they could lead astray with this idolatry. Shadrach "rejoicing in the way" was an attempt to get them to see how they would prosper by turning their backs on the one true God. Abednego "servant of Nebo" really lets us see the purpose and that was to get them to join in idolatry. This is a good lesson for us today, in that, we must continually remind ourselves that our identity is in Christ or we can be enticed to forget.

Daniel 1:8

But Dani'el resolved that he would not defile himself with the king's food or the wine he drank, so he asked the chief officer to be excused from defiling himself.

We see, here, that Daniel had a choice of whether to take the easy way or to listen to God. He chose to listen to God but we also see that he was not arrogant about it. Instead of flatly refusing to eat the king's food, he asked for permission from the chief official. That is a good example for us as well in that how we go about something can be just as important as what we are doing. Daniel honored God not only through obedience but also through his humility.

Daniel 1:9 & 10

God caused the chief officer to be kind and sympathetic toward Dani'el; however, the chief officer said to Dani'el, "I'm afraid of my lord the king. After all, he has given you an allowance of food and drink; so if he were to see you boys looking worse than the others your age, you would be putting my own head in danger from the king."

The guard was worried because, if anything happened to those that were in his care, he would be killed but, in the face of his fear, God caused the officer to Daniel mercy and grace.

Daniel 1:11-14

Then Dani'el said to the guard whom the chief officer had put in charge of Dani'el, Hananyah, Misha'el and 'Azaryah, "Please! Try an experiment on your servants - for ten days have them give us only vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then see how we look, and compare us with how the boys who eat the king's food look; and deal with your servants according to what you see." He agreed to do what they had asked and gave them a ten-day test.

The number ten is associated with the earthly completion and divine order and so it is no coincidence that this was the period of time for the test that is described. This young man of faith (Daniel) simply trusted God and asked his guard to look at the results. We can have that same confidence if we pray and seek God's will for each of our steps in our daily life.

Daniel 1:15 & 16

At the end of ten days they looked better and more robust than all the boys who were eating the king's food. So the guard took away their food and the wine they were supposed to drink, and gave them vegetables.

We see, here, that God took care of the men because they were obedient to his leading. It was obvious to the guard that God was taking care of them and so he showed them favor. The same type of thing can happen to any believer that is following the lead of the Holy Spirit. God can cause others to show the same kind of favor to us as well. A saying that I have heard is: "If it's God's will, it's his bill" meaning we can trust him to take care of us while we are following him.

Daniel 1:17

To these four boys God had given knowledge and skill in every aspect of learning and wisdom; moreover, Dani'el could understand all kinds of visions and dreams.

The men, led by Daniel, were obedient to God and he raised them up by giving them knowledge. Daniel, as the leader, was given a special blessing as he could understand messages from God. This verse reminds us that (1) God uses children sometimes to teach us adults a thing or two about him; (2) knowledge and wisdom for all things is a gift of God; (3) God rewards his obedient children.

Daniel 1:18 & 19

When the time the king had set for them to be presented came, the chief officer presented them to N'vukhadnetzar; and when the king spoke with them, none was found among all of them to compare with Dani'el, Hananyah, Misha'el and 'Azaryah. So they entered the king's service;

At the end of their training period, they were brought before the king and found to be better than all of the others that had went through the training. So, they became the servants of the king. Although it may not seem like it, this was a blessing from God as they would have eaten better and had many other advantages over those that were not in the service of the king. That is a good example for us to remember as many times we find ourselves in positions that, at first glance, seem lowly but in fact are a blessing from God.

Daniel 1:20

and in all matters requiring wisdom and understanding, whenever the king consulted them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and exorcists in his entire kingdom.

The men were not just slightly better than the others throughout the kingdom; they were ten times better. Throughout the Bible, the number ten is associated with the earthly completion of divine order. We see in this, that, complete wisdom and understanding can only come from God. You can go and seek out all kinds of manmade wisdom but, in the end, if you want to know about the things of God, it comes through the power of the Holy Spirit. On our own, we do not have the ability to understand the things of God but the Counselor knows the things of God and can guide us in His ways.

Daniel 1:21

So Dani'el remained there until the first year of King Koresh.

We see that Daniel stayed in service to the king for the entire time of the Babylonian captivity and, as we shall see, that is exactly where God wanted him to be.

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