Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Daniel's First Order of Business

Daniel 1:1 -10

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[a] 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.[b] 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[c] 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.”

I love this book.  It gets right in to the story and doesn't mess around.  The second verse immediately tells that God's hand was on this adventure from the start.  God delivered King Jehoiakim to Nebuchadnezzer.  Then Nebuchadnezzer decided to take the brightest and most promising young men and train them.  Being taken from their country against their will was bad enough, but then he renamed them and gave them his food and wine.  The plan was for them to be trained for three years, and then be servants of the king.  Daniel was loyal to God and knew right from wrong, even if it meant he would lose his life.  He defied the king and would not eat the food from his table.  The official was concerned and tried to talk to Daniel about it.  Daniel didn't budge, but instead made a deal to see if eating things other than the food from the king would have a difference in his health.  This scared the official.

I think I'd be scared every day that if I messed up, I'd be killed.  Daniel must have been scared.  But God was watching over Daniel.  He showed the official in charge of the young men that Daniel was smart, had a good head and that he was special.  Sometimes, you just know who to put in charge.  Sometimes, you know that there is something not right.  Sometimes you know that something is not good for you and you need to fight it, no matter the consequences.  I have a problem tooth.  I had a root canal for it last year, but it is starting to hurt again.  The dentist could not find a problem on the x-ray, but he realizes that I know my mouth as well as he does and is listening too me.  Maybe I need a crown.  Maybe I need to have the tooth pulled.  That remains to be determined.  But I know it is bothersome.

 Daniel knew that the food and wine the king offered was not the best for him, so he took matters in to his hands.  He didn't do it to defy God, he did it because of God.  What are you doing because of God that seems to be upsetting people?  Look around at friends that you have.  Are any of them refusing to do something and you are not sure why?  Don't push them to do something a certain way because that's the way we have always done it.  Push them to resolve it in a loving, Christian manner that will help everyone, or at least give everyone an understanding of the situation.  You may not always agree, but that is why God made us all different.

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