A study on the book of Daniel.
We will divide the study into two major parts:
Part I: A History of the Times…And the Setup for Coming Attractions:
Part II: Events Prophesied…Prophecies Fulfilled.
… These two parts will be broken down and delved into in detail.
We want to continue our study in the book of Daniel by finishing up the first chapter.
Daniel 1:17 – 2117 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. 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. 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. 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. 21 And Daniel continued even unto the first year of king Cyrus.
There must be something about the power of beans. But for ten days? I think that’s about the only diet I haven’t heard about in all the hype and hoopla of today’s weight management programs. Of course, the beans and water didn’t make the difference-the food was simply the vehicle of faithfulness that God used to prove that He was God, and that there was no other.
Now that the experiment was over, Daniel and his friends began to focus on more serious business-such as praying to God to help them develop their gifts of wisdom, ability to discern truth from error, and the skill to differentiate between true dreams and false dreams. This was a lot for young shoulders to bear, but God was faithful to his four righteous servants, and He gave them more wisdom and knowledge than they ever could have imagined.
The Best of the Lot
We can safely assume that Daniel and his compatriots did not dine at the king’s table for the entire three years of their training. Yet, when the king took one look at Daniel and his friends, he realized there were no others in his realm who were as healthy or insightful as these four Hebrew boys. They had proved by their faithfulness to God-while maintaining an attitude of courtesy and respect for their foreign ruler-that God had sent them to the king’s palace, and that they were committed to serving their God. The king quickly picked up on this, and we read that:
“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” (1:20).
The Message for Today
What is the special word from God for us here?
I believe God would have us understand that our heavenly Father wants us to be faithful, regardless of our circumstances. What if Daniel and his friends had chosen to comp
romise their ideals in that foreign environment? What if they had decided it made no difference to put on rolls of fat from the king’s bounty, to play around with foreign gods, to engage themselves with sensuous women, and to allow their active minds to accept the ungodly mind-set of Babylonian life? If they’d taken the easy way out, they would have been ineffective servants. Just four more captives doing their time.
And the king would never have honored them by saying, “I would trade ten of my best magicians and astrologers for one of these men because they have some supernatural power.” Ten times better! What a recommendation. What enviable job security. And what a God-given opportunity for Daniel and his friends to begin to influence a king and the affairs of an entire kingdom at the highest level. All this was taking place because four young, God-fearing men were filled with the Spirit of God and were determined to follow His commands.
As we move from one exciting page of the Book of Daniel to the next, we’ll notice that the expression, “The spirit of the gods” will appear often. As believers, we know there is only one Spirit, the blessed Holy Spirit. And when our Savior returns-a theme we’ll investigate as we go along-there will be only one power. The Nebuchadnezzar’s of the world will have had their day. The once powerful, high, and mighty will take a backseat to the Divine Redeemer who will come for His own. At that day there will be only one power, one driving force, and one Spirit. That’s why we are reminded in Ephesians 5:18 to “be filled with the Spirit.” The literal Greek reads, “Be being filled with the spirit.” It’s a continuous process.
The kind of filling that will energize you and me, just as it provided the power for Daniel to remain faithful to God during his time of trials in a foreign land. And just as Daniel stood boldly and confidently before King Nebuchadnezzar~ so we have received the mandate to demonstrate the boldness of Acts 1:8:
“But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.“
In Daniel’s day, the wisdom of the world-which was Nebuchadnezzar’s world-was put to shame by the wisdom of God manifested in the lives of four committed young men. That same wisdom must be exhibited in our day-a time in history when a movement against the one true God is picking up speed and will march us to the end of the age.
Daniel is not just a prophet from history, and his book is not just another book.
It is our must-read guide to show us where we are heading.
And the Book of Daniel will take us to a fuller understanding of the latter days and the great mysteries unsealed, beginning with Nebuchadnezzar’s amazing dream of a statue and Daniel’s fearless interpretation.
A MESSAGE OF HOPE FROM DR. JACK VAN IMPE