Today we will be studying the Book of Daniel, Chapter1. We will be observing HOW GOD USES….ordinary people to transform abnormal communities.
This book is rich in history. It starts with Nebuchadnezzar seizing Jerusalem and taking Israelites captive.
The decision as to who would be given an opportunity to train and serve in the palace was given to the King’s servant, Ashpenaz. He would be the teacher for three years and if anyone was chosen, they would enter the king’s service.
Judah’s captives included Daniel, the prophet; whose named was changed to Belteshazzar. Other captives – Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah whose names would be changed to: Shadrack, Meshach, and Abednego. They were chosen to be trained as they were men without physical defect, handsome, showing aptitude for every kind of learning; They were well informed, quick to understand and seemingly qualified to serve in the King’s palace.
These men from Judah/Israelites were ordered to eat the King’s food and drink the king’s wine; however, Daniel did not want to defile himself with the King’s food. How would he convince Asphenaz to allow them to have a different menu. A menu of vegetables and water?
Well, God always goes ahead of us in stressful situations……
Daniel asked that he, Shadrack, Meshach and Abednego only eat vegetable for ten days. Asphenaz was concerned that these men would appear weak when they eventually went before the king and he, himself could die because he was assigned as their trainer. Would he allow the 10 day trial?
Wouldn’t you know it—God’s favor over Daniel and the three others set in and Asphenaz agreed. After ten days, he noticed that they looked healthier than those eating from the King’s table. Vegetables would be these Israelites way to eat from then on.
God had equipped Daniel, and the three others with knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and the unique ability to learn in depth. Daniel could even understand visions.
After the designated time, men were brought before King Nebuchadnezzar. He was greatly impressed with Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. They were soon selected to enter into the King’s service.
The King and all the others would soon learn that Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego’s wisdom was 10 times greater than all the magicians and enchanters found in the King’s service.
As Chapter one closes, we ask you….How do we enter a culture that is broken and create a subculture that God can use for His Glory?
These four men were changing culture by bringing their excellence into what God was calling them to do. Even in a situation where they were forced to enter a community that they did not agree with and serve a culture that they could not embrace– they found their place– Not without trials though….
Peter in the bible reminds us, in Acts 10:34, that God is no respecter of persons. His favor is for all who do His will in the earth.
Would Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego soar in the land they were destined to be in for 70 years. In our next study, Chapter 2, we will dive into their many challenges with relationships and detail their strategies. Will they again rise to the many challenges that they will face?