Daniel 1

Daniel 1 begins the story of how Nebuchadnezzar asked his chief of staff to “bring some of the people of Israel, both of the royal family and of the nobility, youths without blemish, of good appearance and skillful in all wisdom, endowed with knowledge, understanding learning, and competent to stand in the king’s palace, and to teach them the literature and language of the Chaldeans”.  Nebuchadnezzar showed himself a wise leader by taking these young men as hostages.  It reminded the people back in Jerusalem that they should not revolt against his Babylonian rule.

It was a given that the Babylonian government would provide for these young men in training. Yet, to have the same food and wine prepared for the king was intended as a special honor.  “The king assigned them a daily portion of the food that the king ate, and of the wine that he drank”. There are four names mentioned in scripture of some of the young men that the king had brought to this training – “Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah of the tribe of Judah”.  If you’ve had any Bible teaching as a kid – their names are probably familiar.

While I’m sure the food was very good, it wasn’t the diet that these young men were accustomed to.  “Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the king’s food, or with the wine that he drank”.  There was a spiritual basis for his request. He didn’t make it seem that he wanted to avoid the king’s food out of other reasons.  It was a bit of a risk – after all – the king had instructed that they eat the food from his table.  But “God gave Daniel favor and compassion in the sight of the chief of the eunuchs”.  God gave favor – Daniel didn’t go earn it – remember that.

Daniel not only asked permission to deviate from the plan, but he offered a counter plan.  “Test your servants for ten days; let us be given vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then let our appearance and the appearance of the youths who eat the king’s food be observed by you, and deal with your servants according to what you see”.  The plan was to just eat veggies and then see how these four compared to the rest.  God had a plan for them, so the outcome was pretty overwhelming.

God gave them learning and skill in all literature and wisdom, and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams…. in every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king inquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters that were in all his kingdom”.  Not only were the foursome equal to the test group, they far exceeded them.  Not by just a little, but ten times.  That’s how God works.  What He originates, He always orchestrates.  He will execute His plan in His way.  And He demonstrated that clearly with Daniel and the boys.

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