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Daniel and His Friends Obey God

Daniel 1
In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with some of the articles of the house of God, which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his god; and he brought the articles into the treasure house of his god.

Then the king instructed Ashpenaz, the master of his eunuchs, to bring some of the children of Israel and some of the king’s descendants and some of the nobles, young men in whom there was no blemish, but good-looking, gifted in all wisdom, possessing knowledge and quick to understand, who had ability to serve in the king’s palace, and whom they might teach the language and literature of the Chaldeans.

And the king appointed for them a daily provision of the king’s delicacies and of the wine which he drank, and three years of training for them, so that at the end of that time they might serve before the king. Now from among those of the sons of Judah were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. To them the chief of the eunuchs gave names: he gave Daniel the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abed-Nego.

But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s delicacies, nor with the wine which he drank; therefore he requested of the chief of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.

Now God had brought Daniel into the favor and goodwill of the chief of the eunuchs. And the chief of the eunuchs said to Daniel, “I fear my lord the king, who has appointed your food and drink. For why should he see your faces looking worse than the young men who are your age? Then you would endanger my head before the king.”

So Daniel said to the steward whom the chief of the eunuchs had set over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, “Please test your servants for ten days, and let them give us vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then let our appearance be examined before you, and the appearance of the young men who eat the portion of the king’s delicacies; and as you see fit, so deal with your servants.” So he consented with them in this matter, and tested them ten days.

And at the end of ten days their features appeared better and fatter in flesh than all the young men who ate the portion of the king’s delicacies. Thus the steward took away their portion of delicacies and the wine that they were to drink, and gave them vegetables.

As for these four young men, God gave them knowledge and skill in all literature and wisdom; and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams.

Now at the end of the days, when the king had said that they should be brought in, the chief of the eunuchs brought them in before Nebuchadnezzar. Then the king interviewed them, and among them all none was found like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah; therefore they served before the king. And in all matters of wisdom and understanding about which the king examined them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers who were in all his realm. Thus Daniel continued until the first year of King Cyrus.

 

Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon did not serve God but that did not matter to God.  God uses whomever He chooses and He had a purpose and a plan.  There are multiple stories in the Old Testament that demonstrate God’s use of people who did not even acknowledge Him as God.

It is for this reason that we are not to fret or become disturbed when we see certain people prosper who do not even worship God.  God is ultimately in charge and He has a plan.  Nothing happens at any time anywhere on this earth that God is not completely aware of and watching.

We are not God.  The Bible says we do not think the way God thinks or understand what He knows.

As humans it is so easy to get caught up world affairs, politics, the government, or even the new car our next door neighbor just bought.  That same neighbor who never darkens the doorway of a church.  The one who never volunteers or gives to charity or tithes.  The one who brags about pulling one over on the IRS or slipping a few indiscretions past his wife.  Yes, that one.

It’s easy to turn green with jealousy or red with anger and indignation when we see others prosper and get things we wish we had when we know the life we have lived, the effort we have put into serving God and doing what is right even when it hurts.

Never the less.  We can rest assured that God knows and God sees and God is completely aware of every situation and our job is only to believe and to trust and to wait and see what He will do.  He never said it would be easy.  If it was always easy we surely would not need to put on the whole armor of God to withstand.

Daniel set a precedent early on that was not concerned with what was happening to him or around him.  Daniel was concerned with serving God and being faithful.  Daniel was focussed and of one mindset:  Serve God to the best of my ability no matter where I am or what is happening. 

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