Daniel 1 – January 2
Who’s really in charge of your 2017? To start us out in our right place this new year, we’re walking with Daniel this month, learning how God crafts every detail in His plan from creation of the world and history to the smallest details in our lives. He reigns over everything, and still He loves us through every moment of our lives. Join our study by following along with the reading plan then reflecting and journaling on each day’s reading to humble yourself before Him and listen. Below is the NIV version of today’s reading followed by a SOAP journal note from one of our study leaders. If you’re wondering what SOAP is…it’s a method of Bible study that focuses on applying scripture to our every days. Read more about it on our website.
Daniel 1 – Daniel’s Training in Babylon
1 In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. 2 And the Lord delivered Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, along with some of the articles from the temple of God. These he carried off to the temple of his god in Babylonia and put in the treasure house of his god.
3 Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, chief of his court officials, to bring into the king’s service some of the Israelites from the royal family and the nobility— 4 young men without any physical defect, handsome, showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well informed, quick to understand, and qualified to serve in the king’s palace. He was to teach them the language and literature of the Babylonians. 5 The king assigned them a daily amount of food and wine from the king’s table. They were to be trained for three years, and after that they were to enter the king’s service.
6 Among those who were chosen were some from Judah: Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. 7 The chief official gave them new names: to Daniel, the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abednego.
8 But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way. 9 Now God had caused the official to show favor and compassion to Daniel, 10 but the official told Daniel, “I am afraid of my lord the king, who has assigned your food and drink. Why should he see you looking worse than the other young men your age? The king would then have my head because of you.”
11 Daniel then said to the guard whom the chief official had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah, 12 “Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. 13 Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food, and treat your servants in accordance with what you see.” 14 So he agreed to this and tested them for ten days.
15 At the end of the ten days they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food. 16 So the guard took away their choice food and the wine they were to drink and gave them vegetables instead.
17 To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. And Daniel could understand visions and dreams of all kinds.
18 At the end of the time set by the king to bring them into his service, the chief official presented them to Nebuchadnezzar. 19 The king talked with them, and he found none equal to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah; so they entered the king’s service. 20 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.
21 And Daniel remained there until the first year of King Cyrus.
Abide | Becky Newman
King Nebuchadnezzar had a plan to gain land and power. He didn’t choose older and wiser government officials from Judah to help him rule his conquest because they were set in their ways and would be more likely to plot a way out for their people. He chose young men, impressionable but with good educations and upbringing, who would be more likely to get along in this new way of life. But the king’s scheming and calculations did not consider the most important factor in all of this — these kids’ God is in control of the entire universe, seen and unseen; wherever they go, He’s there. God has a plan too, far greater and bigger than a silly king, and God’s plan is so much bigger that it can even include four teenagers to carry His people through exile under the most powerful earthly reign at this time. Despite being torn away from his home and family and forced to serve a king in a foreign country with a language he didn’t know, Daniel points his survival and endurance to God here in verse 17. God is the reason he and the three others were chosen to serve, and I don’t mean just serving King Nebuchadnezzar; they were chosen to serve the King of all Kings. Even the names their parents gave them keep them grounded in their identity and is probably why the king tried to change their names in verse 7, but God is bigger. My Bible notes say Daniel means “God is my judge”, Mishael means “Who is like God?”, Hannaniah means “Yahweh is gracious”, and Azariah means “Yahweh is my helper”. Their names help keep them connected to God during exile away from their home.
A new year is a good time to look at life from a larger perspective, and I think God has a big plan in store for doing just that through this study in Daniel. For the last week, the Spirit has been speaking the word “abide” into me. The concept of abiding is from John 15:1-17, remaining in God like a branch growing off a vine. So today, He has me looking for ways Daniel stays connected to, or abides in, God. His family taught this principle of abiding since the day he was born by giving him an identity in God with his name. This principle carried through his upbringing and made him appealing to be chosen by the king’s officials (vs. 3-4). But this principle also made him realize that God was the reason for his knowledge, understanding, prophesying, and interpretations, and in a circular expanding manner, gave him more faith to put more trust in God and stay connected even more to survive this exile and be used for God’s purpose. Being obedient in God’s plan means an ever-growing and expanding abiding in Him. This year, I want to expand that, to remain connected so You can use me readily in Your plan. That whole being ready thing (Matthew 25:13, 1 Peter 3:15) is grounded in abiding. That means more time at Your feet, reading Your Word, journaling, and praying, more time acknowledging Your presence and overflowing Your love through me and to others. That means more instilling this principle in my kids too so that it’s part of their identity, that You are always with them and always in control.
You are sovereign in my life and sovereign everywhere and through all time. Help me stay connected to You and instill in my children the same, as willing vessels in Your plan. Thank You for loving me and teaching me through Daniel
The Discover One Thing main website follows a reading plan that goes through the entire Bible in one year. Click HERE to check out today’s Discover One Thing post.