I was excited about getting thru Ezekiel and into reading the book of Daniel....and I sure did take a lot of notes....over 13 notebook pages this week, to be exact....so we better get going!!!
Daniel was probably just a teenager when he was taken from Jerusalem into captivity by the Babylonians in 605 B.C.
Daniel's name means "God is my judge"....or, "My God is judge".
We can let Daniel be an example for us....because in times of crisis, he turned first to God in prayer.
King Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, ordered his chief of staff to bring to the palace some of the young men of Judah's royal family. He asked for only strong, healthy and good looking young men. He also wanted them to be educated in the language and literature of Babylon. They were given a daily ration of food and wine from the king's own kitchen. After 3 years or training they would enter into royal service. Four of the young men chosen were Daniel - renamed Belteshazzar.....Hananiah, renamed Shadrach.....Mishael, renamed Meshach.....and Azariah, renamed Abednego.
I thought it was kinda odd that Daniel was called by his own name throughout the book....and the other 3 were called by their new Babylonian names....but....since Daniel probably wrote the book...then, I guess he went by his Hebrew name!!!
Daniel wouldn't defile his body by eating the food and wine from the king (another example we can take from Daniel). He asked for permission to not eat those unacceptable foods and he and his friends were granted permission to eat only vegetables and drink water for 10 days to see if they looked better than the other young men....and they did!!!
God gave these 4 young men an extraordinary ability to understand literature and gave Daniel the special ability to interpret visions and dreams. At the end of the training period, all the men were brought before King Nebuchadnezzar - but he was most impressed by Daniel and his friends - so they entered the royal service.
King Nebuchadnezzar had a dream and was very angry that all of his magicians, enchanters, sorcerers and astrologers could not repeat the dream to him and explain what it meant. He was so furious that he ordered all the wise men of Babylon be executed. Daniel went to the king and asked for more time to know and explain the dream. He and his friends prayed to God and that night the secret was revealed to Daniel by God....Daniel praised God, saying that He has all the wisdom and power (and still does today!!!) I love what Daniel told the king....
"There are no wise men, enchanters, magicians, or fortune tellers who can reveal the king's secret. But there is a God in heaven who reveals secrets, and he has shown King Nebuchadnezzar what will happen in the future."
Daniel told the king that he was revealing the dream not because of his own wisdom, but because God wanted the king to understand what was in his heart. The dream was about things to take place in the future - the fall of Babylon. Because of what Daniel had done, he was rewarded by the king given a high position and many valuable gifts. He was made ruler over all of Babylon as well as chief over all his wise men. At Daniel's request, the king appointed Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in charge over all the affairs of Babylon, while Daniel remained in the king's court.
Yet another example Daniel set for us....to not just think of ourselves....but others!!!
King Nebuchadnezzar made a gold statue 90' tall and 9' wide. He sent messages that all officials should come and stand before the statue. Then a shout went out to all the people to bow down to the statue when they heard the sound of the musical instruments being played. Anyone who refused would be thrown into a blazing furnace. The king was informed that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to bow down and worship the statue....the king flew into a rage...and ordered them brought to him.
Gotta love their response to why they refused....
"O, Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us."
The God whom we serve is able....AMEN to that!!!
King Nebuchadnezzar....in a rage so terrible that his face became distorted....commanded that the furnace be heated 7 times hotter than usual. The 3 men were bound and thrown into the fire, fully clothed. The soldiers who threw them into the fire died because the fire was so hot.
Oh....here's where it gets really good....the king jumped up and said....didn't we throw 3 men into the furnace? Look - I see FOUR men, unbound, and walking around in the fire unharmed. And...in the KJV...the king says...."and the form of the fourth is like the SON OF GOD"!!!
The king called for them to come out of the furnace....and there wasn't a hair on their heads singed and they didn't even smell like smoke!!!
Then....King Nebuchadnezzar praised the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.
As we read this, Pappy and I wondered where Daniel was while all of this was happening....and as I walked one morning this week and pondered on what I had read the night before....I decided that I knew exactly where Daniel was....PRAYING!!!!
After King Nebuchadnezzar's death, King Belshazzar held a feast for 1,000 of his nobles and insisted on drinking from the gold and silver cups that King Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the Lord's Temple....they used them to praise their idols. Suddenly, they saw fingers of a human hand writing on the plaster wall of the king's palace, near a lamp stand. King Belshazzar was so scared that his knees knocked together. He shouted for enchanters, astrologers, and fortune tellers to read the writing, but none of them could. When the queen mother heard what was happening, she told King Belshazzar about Daniel. He was offered gifts to interpret the writing but refused them....he told the king what the writing meant. King Nebuchadnezzar had become so puffed up with arrogance that he was brought down from his royal throne and stripped of his glory - driven from human society - given a mind of a wild animal - until he learned that the Most High God rules over the kingdoms of the world and appoints anyone He desires to rule over them. Even thought King Belshazzar knew all of this....he did not humble himself. They showed honor to their gods using cups from the Lord's Temple - but showed no honor, or respect, to God who gave them the breath of life. So God sent His hand to write a message....which said....
MENE, MENE, TEKEL and PARSIN.
These were Aramic units of measure meaning....
MENE - means numbered. God numbered the days of King Belshazzar's reign and brought it to an end.
TEKEL - means weighed. King Belshazzar was weighed on the balances and didn't measure up.
(this was scary to me....because I know that I often don't measure up either)
PARSIN - means divided. The kingdom had been divided and given to the Medes and Persians.
At King Belshazzar's command, Daniel was made 3rd highest ruler in the kingdom and that very night the king was killed and Darius the Mede took over. Because of Daniel's great ability, King Darius planned to place him over the entire empire. Other officials became jealous so they began to plot against Daniel, trying to find fault in him, but could find nothing. They decided to get Daniel into trouble in connection with the rules of his religion. So....they went to the king and told him to enforce a law that for the next 30 days, people could only pray to King Darius - or they would be thrown into a den of lions. So....King Darius did as they asked. When Daniel heard about the law, he went home and knelt down as usual in his upstairs room, with the windows open toward Jerusalem....right in the open where he would be seen. He prayed 3 times a day, as he had always done, giving thanks to his God.
(now....right here I want to say....I probably would have done the same as Daniel, continuing to pray to my God....except the difference would have been....I would have probably hidden and done my praying....like a coward)
Daniel was reported to the king by the other officials. The king tried his best to think of a way to save Daniel, but the officials reminded him of the law and that it could not be changed. So...King Darius gave orders to arrest Daniel and throw him into the lion's den...but King Darius told Daniel....
"May your God whom you serve so faithfully, rescue you."
The king spent the night fasting and couldn't sleep. The next morning he hurried to the den and shouted out to Daniel....
"Was your God able" to rescue you from the lions? Daniel told the king that God had sent an angel to shut the mouths of the lions.
King Darius was so happy....Daniel was taken away from the den without a scratch on him....
FOR - HE - HAD - TRUSTED - THE - LORD!!!
The king gave orders to arrest the men who had maliciously accused Daniel and they were thrown into the lions den, along with their wives and children.
Chapters 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, and 12 were a continuation of Daniel's visions of the future.
I'll leave you with these sweet words from Daniel 10:19....
"Don't be afraid" for you are very precious to God. Peace!
Until next week....may your weekend be blessed!!!
In His Most Precious Love....and with mine!!!