TODAY’S READING: DANIEL 1-3
Daniel and his friends taken captive to Babylon away from their families; Nebuchadnezzar’s dream and Daniel’s interpretation; The image of gold erected by Nebuchadnezzar and the refusal of Daniel’s three friends to bow down and worship it.
HIGHLIGHTS & INSIGHTS:
Since the Jews had refused to repent and obey the Lord, the Babylonian army came in and conquered their land just as the prophet Jeremiah had warned! Daniel and his three friends (all teenagers at the time) were snatched from their homes in Jerusalem, and taken to Babylon since they were all princes and belonged to the royal family (1:3). It was the custom at the time to take the best of the youth to Babylon to be trained in the king’s court. The king’s goal, of course, was to conform them to the ways of Babylon. This conforming process involved a new home, new knowledge, new diets, and new names. Don’t miss the fact that Satan’s strategy is no different today than it was then. He is bent on conforming God’s people to this world (Rom. 12:1-2)! Daniel and his friends, however, purposed in their heart that they would not defile themselves with the king’s meat (1:8). They dared to stand for what they believed to be true and right, even though it meant doing so at the ri!
sk of their own lives. Risking their own lives was one thing, but it also meant risking the life of Melzar, the one the king had appointed to control the diets of the Hebrew children. He understood that if it would become evident by their physical appearance that they were not following the king’s directions; it would mean his neck as well as theirs! Daniel believed God would honor their refusal to eat the king’s meat, and asked Melzar, in whom he had found favor, for a 10 day trial of simply eating pulse (vegetables) and water to prove that God would step up on their behalf. God did indeed step up, as their countenance was much healthier looking than the others who were eating according to the king’s prescribed diet. So often we talk about the law of sowing and reaping from a negative standpoint (Gal. 6:8). This happens to be a positive example of the principle. Because of the great faith and trust these young men sowed at this point in their life, they reaped God’s p!
romotion and protection in the worldly kingdom of Babylon thr!
the remainder of their lives!
In chapter 2, Nebuchadnezzar has a dream and demands that the wise men not only interpret it, but to actually tell him what the dream was about. None were up to the task, so Nebuchadnezzar ordered all of the so-called wise men to be slain. At the last minute, however, God reveals the dream and its interpretation to Daniel, so he proceeds to tell the king, sparing the lives of the wise men from certain death. Nebuchadnezzar is quite impressed and pleased with Daniel, and to show his appreciation, promotes Daniel and his three friends to key positions of authority in his kingdom. It should be noted that the dream that Daniel interpreted was actually an outline of world history. It describes the kingdoms and governments that would rule the world beginning with Babylon at that time, all the way up to this present day. In fact, without the revelation of the prophecies in the Book of Daniel, it would be impossible to interpret the Book of Revelation. The two books go hand i!
n hand (I Cor. 2:13).
Chapter 3 takes place approximately 20 years after Nebuchadnezzar’s dream. While Nebuchadnezzar had acknowledged that Jehovah God is the “God of gods, and a LORD of kings” (2:47), he evidently suffered a major lapse in memory in that 20 year period. In this chapter he sets up a golden image of himself, requiring every person in the entire kingdom to bow before it and worship it. Obviously, this poses a major problem for Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego (Babylonian names of Daniel’s three Hebrew friends). If they were so surrendered to God’s Word that they refused to eat the king’s meat, they certainly would have no part in bowing down before the king’s image! (Daniel must have been away from the kingdom at the time the image was set up, because his uncompromising and godly character most certainly proves that he would have been among those who refused to bow down to the image!) Their refusal to bow to his golden image caused Nebuchadnezzar to have them cast into the fier!
y furnace. In the midst of the furnace, there is an incredible preincarnate appearance of the Lord Jesus Christ, the fourth man in the fire, who protected them, not only from the flames, but even the very smell of smoke! Nebuchadnezzar was reminded once again of the power of Jehovah God, and made a decree stating that it was illegal for anyone to speak against Him! He also promoted these three men in his kingdom.
There is an overarching biblical truth that we learn from today’s reading. God promises all of us three things:
1) Persecution (I Peter 4:12-19; Phil. 1:29)
2) Preservation (Isa. 43:2; Psalm 23; Eph. 1:12-14)
3) Promotion (I Peter 5:10)
CHRIST IS REVEALED:
As THE STONE – Dan. 2:35,45; Jesus is the chief corner stone (Eph. 2:20, I Pet. 2:6-7, and Rom. 9:31-33).