This is the first in a series of verse-by-verse exposition of the book of Daniel. This message was delivered at Hillcrest Baptist Church on the morning of July 29, 2012. The message deals with a commitment to Godly values, even in the face of adversity. This contains an audio recording of my message, along with my sermon notes and a study outline. Please note that the sermon notes are not a full transcript.
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Daniel 1:1-9 / The Commitment:
Introduction: Chapters 1-7 emphasize the gentile kingdoms in history and prophecy. Chapters 8-12 emphasize God’s plan for Israel in the end times.
It’s shorter than prophetical books like Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel, but Daniel is the most sweeping and comprehensive revelation recorded by any Old Testament prophet.
Daniel ranks with Moses and Solomon as being one of the three most educated men in the Old Testament.
Daniel was among the most thoroughly trained for his important role in history, literature, and God’s plan.
Daniel, because of its key importance to prophetic revelation, is one of the most attacked books of the Bible.
Critics claim 2nd century b.c. To believe such a thing is to believe that the book is based on a lie. Therefore, it could not be God’s word at all.
Babylon is in modern day Iraq.
God often used the heathen nations to be His arm of judgment against Israel.
We will see that God sets up nations and takes them down, all to serve His purpose.
Babylon was raised up as the world power of the day, to be His judgment against Israel.
God would later destroy Babylon, never to be rebuilt.
Shinar is simply another name for Babylon.
Judah had fallen into moral decay, and God had warned a century earlier that Babylon would destroy Jerusalem and the Temple, and take the people captive.
Not all of the Jews were worshipping the true God, God’s people had been reduced to the faithful remnant. The same is true of the church today.
We need to be vigilant in our efforts to stay true to the one true God.
For Nebuchadnezzar to take the items from the temple was a symbol of conquest.
To conquer one nation’s god was seen as a symbol of superiority of the victor’s god.
Little did Nebuchadnezzar know that the God of Israel was in control the whole time.
God was simply using him for His purpose, and when it was complete, Nebuchadnezzar’s Babylonian kingdom would fall forever.
“So wise and powerful is our God that He can permit men and women to make personal choices and still accomplish His purpose in this world.”
“When He isn’t permitted to rule, He will overrule, but His will shall ultimately be done, and His name glorified.”
One of Nebuchadnezzar’s first acts would be to get some of the Hebrew children.
It’s unlikely that the adults would ever become loyal subjects, but the children could be trained from their youth.
At about age 16, Daniel and his three friends were taken by their captors to Babylon.
Because they were the best and the brightest, they were to be trained as officers in the Kings palace.
This meant that they had to learn to think like Babylonians, adapt to a new land, new customs, and learn a new language.
Their captors attempted to brainwash them through education.
Much the same thing happens today in our public school system. (social engineering)
They would grow up, being educated as Babylonians, and the Babylonian way is the only thing they would ever know.
This would insure their conformity and loyalty to Babylonian culture.
He didn’t need the adults, he could conquer them and train the children.
Dictators typically work in this way, in fact Hitler used the same philosophy.
Much the same is happening in our society today, as children are being taught to be dependent on government, and to accept increasingly restrictive laws.
Before we know it, our kids will live in oppression, and they will think its normal. . . unless we do our job as parents.
The Parents of Daniel and his friends didn’t have that option, though.
The king would begin to assume total control over his new subjects, even going as far as deciding hat they would eat.
Admittedly, he was giving them the best he had to offer, food from his own provisions.
Even so, it was the king who was dictating what they would eat, he needed to take control of every aspect of their lives.
Here is the first mention of the four faithful young men, who would play such an important role in God’s plan.
The next step in the king’s total control was to give them new names, which would pay tribute to the Babylonian gods.
Daniel = “God is my judge” / Belteshazzar = “bel protect his life”
Hananiah = “The Lord shows grace” / Shadrach = “command of aku”
Mishael = “Who is like God” / Meshach = who is as aku is”
Azariah = “The Lord is my help” / Abednego = “servant of nebo”
This was all part of a systematic process of totally erasing their former identity.
Though Nebuchadnezzar was trying to totally transform them into Babylonians, only God has the power to transform, ultimately Nebuchadnezzar would fail.
God had a plan for these four young men, and nothing was going to stand in the way.
By trying to control Daniel’s diet, the king would erase yet another part of Daniel’s Jewish roots. As I said, it was a systematic plan.
This was “good” food, but it did not conform to Jewish dietary laws.
The meat had almost certainly been offered to pagan idols, and that was a big no-no.
The Babylonians did not dilute their wine as the Jews did, so it would certainly be considered strong drink, and would have defiled Daniel.
In fact, the Jews would routinely dilute their wine to as much as 10:1
Daniel and his three friends stood firm against the pressure to conform, even though conformity would have been the easy and safe thing to do.
In fact, we will see many instances where they chose not to follow the easy and safe route, where they chose to follow God instead.
He allowed himself to be transformed by God rather than conform to the world.
Daniel certainly proved the good and acceptable, and perfect will of God.
He knew that the king’s diet would not have conformed to his Jewish dietary laws, so Daniel chose to do what God commanded, not the king.
Daniel, as a youth, made a serious commitment, under potentially dangerous circumstances. He made up his mind not to participate in anything that would defile him.
This is a testament to his upbringing up until that point. Daniel obviously knew the law, and probably form a very young age. Its never too young to start teaching the Word of God.
It is so important to instill Godly values and the Word of God into our children when they are young, because we never know when they will placed in a faith testing situation.
God was the one pulling all the strings, and because of Daniel’s obedience, God brought him into favor with the eunuch.
God honored Daniel’s trust and allegiance, He honors those who honor Him.
1 Samuel 2:30
2 Chronicles 16:9
Do you honor God by your behavior, or do you take the safe route and conform to the world.
You cannot be a friend of the world AND a friend of God!
The choice is yours, you can purpose in your heart to follow God or the world.