God gives favor, skill, and knowledge
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 gave Jehoiakim, king of Judah, into his hand, along with some of the furnishings 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.
- God did this because over centuries His people refused to obey Him.
- God is still God no matter where His people are and no matter where His treasures are.
- He is still working all things together for good to those who love Him—Romans 8:28.
- Deuteronomy 30:1 tells God’s purpose—to get His people to return to Him.
- Psalm 96:5 For all the gods of the nations are idols: but the LORD made the heavens.
3 Then the king instructed Ashpenaz, the master of his eunuchs, to bring back some of the children of Israel, some of the king's descendants, and some of the nobles, 4 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. 5 And the king appointed them a daily provision of the king's delicacies and 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.
- These children were taken to Babylon as political hostages.
- This was a technique used by conquering forces to keep the conquered people from rebelling. It combined kidnapping and blackmail. If you obey us, we will treat your captive children well.
- However God’s plan was much bigger.
- The idolatry of Israel was leading these children to eternal death.
- God stepped in and brought them to eternal glory. God’s plan for us also is way beyond this.
- Revelation 3:21 To him that overcomes I will grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.
6 So taken from among those of the sons of Judah were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah.
7 The chief of the eunuchs gave them new names: he gave Daniel the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abed-Nego. 8 But Daniel purposed in his heart that he
would not defile himself with the portion of the king's delicacies, nor with the wine that he drank; therefore he requested of the chief of the eunuchs that he might not defile
- Life is from the heart. We think it before we do it. We set our courses and reset them regularly.
- Proverbs 23:7 For as he thinks in his heart, so is he.
- Proverbs 4:23 Guard your heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.
9 Now God had brought Daniel into the favor and goodwill of the chief of the eunuchs. 10 And the chief of the eunuchs said to Daniel, I fear my lord the king, who has appointed your food and drink. Why should he see your faces looking sadder/worse than the young men who are your age? Then you would endanger my head before the king. 11 So Daniel said to the steward whom the chief of the eunuchs had set over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. 12.Please test your servants for ten days, and let them give us vegetables to eat and water to drink.
- Notice God’s presence with them in exile.
- Isaiah 63:9 In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them: in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; and he bare them, and carried them all the days of old.
13 Then let our appearance be examined before you, and compared with the appearance of the young men who eat the portion of the king's delicacies; then do as you see fit. 14 So he agreed, and tested them ten days. 15 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. 16 So the steward took away their portion of delicacies and the wine that they were to drink, and gave them vegetables.
God gave them knowledge and skill
17 As for these four young men, God gave them knowledge and skill in all literature and wisdom; and he gave Daniel wisdom of understanding in all visions and dreams. 18 Now at the end of the days, when the king had said that they were to be brought in, the chief of the eunuchs brought them in before Nebuchadnezzar. 19 Then the king interviewed them, and among them all none was found like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah; therefore they served before the king. 20 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. 21 Thus Daniel continued until the first year of King Cyrus.
- God uses visions and dreams to communicate with people.
- However, if a dream or a vision contradicts His word, His word is right since dreams can also be used by evil to distort and distract from God.
- God kept Daniel in a high position in the government of the nation that ruled the world for 60 years, throughout the reign of four kings.
- God took these young people from their own idolatrous nation and gave them noble and good lives, and places of service that honored the true God in the courts of heathen kings.
- 1 Samuel 2:30… for those that honor me I will honor, and they that despise me will be lightly esteemed.
- Joshua 23:10 One man of you will chase a thousand: for the LORD your God, it is he that fights for you, as he has promised you.
God does amazing things and is exalted above all
1 In the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, Nebuchadnezzar dreamed dreams that troubled his spirit, and his sleep broke from him, 2 Then the king commanded to call the magicians, the astrologers, the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans to show the king his dreams. So they came and stood before the king. 3 And the king said to them, I have dreamed a dream, and my spirit was troubled to know the dream. 4 Then the Chaldeans spoke to the king in Syriack, O king, live forever: tell your servants the dream, and we will show the interpretation.
- The major cause of insomnia is revealed in this verse—his spirit was troubled.
- There is only one way that anyone can live forever.
- Isaiah 26:3 You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on tyou: because he trusts in you.
- John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life
5 The king answered and said to the Chaldeans, The thing is gone from me: if you will not make known to me the dream, with the interpretation of it, you will be cut in pieces, and your houses will be made a dunghill. 6 But if you show the dream and its interpretation, you will receive gifts and rewards from me, and great honor: therefore show me the dream and its interpretation.
- Contrast this ruler (who plans to kill them if they can’t figure out the dream) with God’s chosen ruler who loved us enough to die for us.
- God wants to bestow on all those that He has created the greatest possible gifts and honors.
- Revelation 3:21 To him that overcomes I will grant to sit with me in my throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with my Father in his throne.
7 They answered again and said, Let the king tell his servants the dream, and we will show the interpretation of it. 8 The king answered and said, I know for certain that you would gain time because you see the thing is gone from me. 9 But if you will not make known to me the dream, there is but one decree for you: for you have prepared lying and corrupt words to speak to me until the time is changed: therefore tell me the dream. Then I will know that you can show me the interpretation of it.
- If they can tell what the dream was, then the king will be certain that their interpretation will be correct.
10 The Chaldeans answered before the king, and said, There is not a man on the earth that can show the king's matter: and there is no king, lord, or ruler, that asked such things of any magician, or astrologer, or Chaldean. 11 It is a rare thing that the king requires, and there is no one that can show it before the king, except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh. 12 This made the king was angry and very furious, and commanded to destroy all the wise men of Babylon. 13 So the decree went out for the wise men to be killed; and they sought Daniel and his friends to kill them.
- God is bigger than any disaster.
- The kings of this earth often abuse the power that God has given them.
- God shelters and protects His own from this.
- Psalm 46:1 God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
14 Then Daniel replied with counsel and wisdom to Arioch the captain of the king's guard/chief executioner who had gone out to kill the wise men of Babylon: 15 He answered and said to Arioch the king's captain, Why is the decree so hasty from the king? Then Arioch made the thing known to Daniel. 16 Then Daniel went in, and asked the king for time so that he could show the king the interpretation. 17 Then Daniel went to his house, and made the thing known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions: 18 That they would seek mercies from the God of heaven concerning this secret so that Daniel and his friends would not perish with the rest of the wise men of Babylon. 19 Then the secret was revealed to Daniel in a night vision. And Daniel blessed the God of heaven. 20 Daniel answered and said, Blessed be the name of God forever and ever: for wisdom and might are his: 21 And he changes the times and the seasons: he removes kings, and sets up kings: he gives wisdom to the wise, and knowledge to those that know understanding.
- Those that ‘know understanding’ are those that seek God according to Psalm 14:2
- Psalm 14:2 The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God.
- Jeremiah 27:5 I made the earth, the man and the beast that are on the ground by my great power and by my outstretched arm, and have given it to whom it seemed fitting to me.
22 He reveals the deep and secret things: he knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with him. 23 I thank you, and praise you, O God of my fathers, who has given me wisdom and might, and has made known to me now what we desired of you: for you have now made known to us the king's matter. 24 So Daniel went in unto Arioch, whom the king had appointed to destroy the wise men of Babylon: he went and said this to him; Do not destroy the wise men of Babylon: bring me in before the king, and I will show the king the interpretation.
- 1John 1:5 This then is the message that we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.
- John 3:17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
25 Then Arioch brought Daniel before the king in haste, and said this to him, I have found a man of the captives of Judah who will make known to the king the interpretation. 26 The king answered and said to Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, Are you able to make known to me the dream that I have seen, and its interpretation? 27 Daniel answered in the presence of the king, and said, The secret that the king has demanded cannot be shown to the king by the wise men, the astrologers, the magicians, the soothsayers; 28 But there is a God in heaven that reveals secrets, and makes known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what will be in the latter days. Your dream, and the visions of your head on your bed, are these; 29 As for you, O king, your thoughts came into your mind upon your bed, what will happen in the future: and he that reveals secrets made known to you what will come to pass.
- Isaiah 48:5 I have, even from the beginning, declared it to you; before it came to pass, I showed it you.
30 But as for me, this secret is not revealed to me for any wisdom that I have above any living, but for their sakes I will make known the interpretation to the king, and that you might know the thoughts of your heart. 31 You, O king, saw, and behold a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before you; and the form of it was awesome. 32 This image's head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his sides of brass, 33. his legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay. 34 You looked until a stone was cut out without hands, which struck the image on his feet that were of iron and clay, and broke them to pieces. 35 Then the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, were broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshing floors; and the wind carried them away so that no place was found for them: and the stone that struck the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth. 36.This is the dream; and we will tell the interpretation of it before the king.
- Luke 20:17 The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner.
- Psalm 2:8 Ask of me, and I will give you the heathen for your inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for your possession.
God rules over all and gives kings their power
37 You, O king, are a king of kings: for the God of heaven has given you a kingdom, power, strength, and glory. 38 And wherever the children of men dwell, the beasts of the field and the fowls of the heaven he has given into your hand, and has made you ruler over them all. You are this head of gold. 39 And after you there will arise another kingdom inferior to you, and another third kingdom of brass, which will rule over all the earth. 40 And the fourth kingdom will be as strong as iron: for as iron breaks in pieces and subdues all things: and as iron that breaks all these, it will break in pieces and bruise. 41 And, whereas you saw the feet and toes, partly of potters' clay, and partly of iron, the kingdom will be divided; but there will be some in it with the strength of the iron, for you saw the iron mixed with miry clay. 42 And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom will be partly strong, and partly broken. 43 And whereas you saw iron mixed with miry clay, they will mingle themselves with the seed of men: but they will not adhere one to another, even as iron is not mixed with clay.
- Nebuchadnezzar is a king of kings, not the King of Kings.
- These world ruling empires came about as predicted because God rules.
- The symbols He used to describe the nations make them easily identifiable with the most basic knowledge of history.
The God of heaven will set up an eternal kingdom and rule through His Son, Jesus Christ
44 And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that will never be destroyed: and this kingdom will not be left to other people, but it will break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it will stand forever. 45 And as you saw the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God has made known to the king what will happen in the future: the dream is certain, and the interpretation of it sure. 46 Then king Nebuchadnezzar fell on his face and worshipped Daniel and commanded that they should offer an oblation and sweet odors to him. 47 The king answered Daniel, and said, It is true that your God is a God of gods, and a Lord of kings, and a revealer of secrets, because you could reveal this secret. 48 Then the king made Daniel a great man, and gave him many great gifts, and made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon, and chief of the governors over all the wise men of Babylon. 49 Then Daniel requested of the king, and he set Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, over the affairs of the province of Babylon: but Daniel sat in the gate of the king.
- Psalm 75:6-7 promotion does not come from the east or from the west or from the south. 7 But God is the judge: he puts down one, and sets up another.
- I John 3:20 …God is greater than our heart, and knows all things.
SUMMARY: Daniel 1-2
- God gives favor, skill, and knowledge
- God does amazing things and is exalted above all
- God rules over all and gives kings their power
- The God of heaven will set up an eternal kingdom and rule through His Son, Jesus Christ