Dan 1:1-7 — Daniel Taken to Babylon
Dan 1:8-21 — Daniel Stays Faithful
Thoughts about serving others
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One Reply to “Jun 26 — Daniel 1”
Jehoiakim, the 3rd to last king of Judah, reigned 11 years. In the third year, “Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it” (Daniel 1:1). God allowed Judah to be carried off to Babylonia, as prophesied by Jeremiah, in particular “some of the Israelites from the royal family and the nobility” (1:3), including Daniel (Belteshazzar), Hananiah (Shadrach), Mishael (Meshach) and Azariah (Abednego). Renaming them was an official part of “owning” these men, now subject to Nebuchadnezzar.
By God’s grace (1:9), they immediately make a favorable impression on the official charged with their care. Daniel and his cohorts choose to honor God by not eating the king’s defiled food. As the story tells, they are beyond fit for duty, better than the others who ate the king’s food, so much so that “In every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king questioned them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in his whole kingdom” (1:20).
The story is familiar, but what caught my attention this morning was the fact that Daniel (et al) are convicted to serve God through their reverence and respect for his laws. King Jehoiakim, who “did evil in the eyes of the Lord” (2 Kings 23:37), must have heard Jeremiah’s prophesy, but it appears to me that some heard the warning and remained resolute to honor God, in particular, Daniel and his small company of three. Even though the king defiled God’s laws, others in the royal family, other nobles, continued to serve him faithfully and God honors this commitment. I envision Jeremiah’s words being read to the king in Jerusalem and most of his officials scoffing at the prophesy while Daniel hears the words and commits to honoring God no matter what happens next. This was not the easy road for him to take–he chose not to follow the popular crowd or opinion. Lord help me to hear your word clearly and not be enticed to simply follow popular opinion, even if it doesn’t seem to make sense. May you be honored above all.