CHAPTER ONETHE YOUNG HEBREW CAPTIVES
Memory Verse: Psalm 37:5,6
The Book of Daniel is a book of revelations, visions, and deliverances given to a spiritually minded man. In this chapter we have four men who were spiritually minded and who as a result, were given knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom. If we would be individuals to whom are given revelations, unusual spiritual understandings and deliverances from danger we need to be like these four men. Lets study the record of their lives just before God blessed them and note some truths that can help us to be blessed of God, also.
I. Their ConditionVerse 1-3.
1. The Fall of Jerusalem Verse 1,2. Jehoiakim. Cf. II Kings 24:1,2; II Chronicles 36:5-7; Jeremiah 25:1; 52:12-30; II Kings 20:12-18. The city of privilege that contained the Temple where Gods Glory dwelt; that had the Inspired Word of God; that had heard the Prophets of God. Privilege brings responsibility. They had failed to honor God, neglected the Word of God and persecuted the messengers of God; hence, the judgment of God had come upon them.
The vessels of the House of God. These were for use in Gods Holy Temple. But now they were taken to the house of the god of Nebuchadnezzar. This came about because of the sin of Gods people. (Note: Gods church can be destroyed if Gods people wont live right and preserve its purpose and truth by right living and service.
2. The Captives in Babylon Verse 2, 3. They desecrated (failed to give it proper respect) Gods house. II Kings 20:17,18; Isaiah 39:7. Now as a result they (God people) are desolate. In a strange land, amongst strange people, with strange gods. What occurred to Israel is occurring today. They suddenly were taken to Babylon and placed in strange surroundings, but because Christians are not serving and living for God, America is becoming more and more wicked and we are constantly reminded that we, too, are in a strange land, amongst strange and ungodly people. Herein; however, is a situation that tests the true character of a Christian and determines whether or not he is willing to stand alone.
II. Their Description Verse 3-7. A Picture of the Ideal Model Christian.
1. Physical Well favored. Verse 4. A healthy body is a great asset in life. Emphasize the value of keeping the body fit and under the control of the Holy Spirit. Cf. I Corinthians 6: 19,20.
2. Mental "Wisdom", Verse 4. Cf. James 1:5. A healthy mind must be cultivated to study. II Timothy 2:15.
3. Social Verse 4. "Stand in the Kings Palace." The ideal Christian should always be a gentleman, courteous, refined, considerate.
4. Spiritual "Children." Galatians 3:27. Above all, Daniel put God first. Verse 8. Cf. Matthew 6:33; Proverbs 3:6; 1:7. Verse 6 and 7. The Babylonian prince wanted these Jewish boys to forget their God. Each of them had been given by his parents a name that would remind them of the Lord. Their new names were to make them think of the Babylonians gods.
Daniel means "God is my Judge."
Hananiah means "God has been gracious."
Mishael means "Who is equal to God?"
Azariah means "God has helped."
Belteshazzar means "The prince of Bel", a heathen god.
Shadrach means "Servant of sin", the moon god.
Meshach means "The Shadow of the Prince."
Abednego means "Servant of Ishtar", a goddess.
Remember, Satan will do all he can to get Christians to forget God, to forget their conversion, and to forget that there is the next world in which to live.
III. Their Resolution Verse 8.
1. The Motive of it Gods honor. Doubtless, this meat and wine had been offered to idols as was the custom in Babylon. Cf. I Corinthians 8:1--13. Daniel refused to acknowledge any God, save the true God, the God of redemption, deliverance and preservation. I Samuel 2:30. "God first" was their motto.
2. The Strength of it Purpose of Heart. His heart was fixed on God. Cf. Proverbs 4:23; Acts 11:23; II Timothy 3:10; Psalm 17:3.
3. The Cost of it Self Denial. "Pulse", a kind of vegetable porridge. While the others ate and enjoyed the Kings meat and wine, they denied themselves. Titus 2:11, 12; Matthew 16: 24; Mark 8:34; Luke 9:23; Phillippians 3:8.
4. The Reward of it Verse 10-16. God honored their bold stand for Him. He will be no mans debtor. No one ever loses who puts God first. Cf. Noah, Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Paul.
IV. Their Education Verse 17.
1. Its source God. What a teacher! What a school! Compare the Christians school.
A. The Teacher. John 16:7-15; 14:26.
B. The Textbook. II Timothy 2:15.
C. The Course of Lessons. Titus 2:12.
D. The Purpose to educate in His will, Romans 12:2; and be to His Glory. Ephesians 1:12; I Peter 2:9.
2. Its Effect Verse 17. All needed wisdom. James 1:5; Proverbs 2:6-11.
V. Their Approval Verse 18-21.
1. The Test. Verse 18,19. The world is looking at Christians to see if Christianity is all that it is proclaimed to be.
2. The Triumph. Verse 20, 21. These young men had stood true to God and as a result, God had blessed them so that they were by far the best of the whole group.
Because these stood alone for God and denied themselves, they became better individuals (wise, better speakers ) and were looked upon as the outstanding men of their day. We too, can be the cream of the crop on this earth and in Heaven, if we will serve God with determination as they did.