Sunday, June 9, 2019

Daniel 1

Today's reading in our daily plan is Daniel 1. Take a moment to pray, asking God to speak to you from this passage. Then read, using the following notes and questions to help you get everything out of the passage.

SAY WHAT? (What is the passage saying?)
  • In this opening chapter, we are introduced to Daniel. A king named Nebuchadnezzar had taken over the city of Jerusalem. Daniel is one of the young Jewish men taken by Nebuchadnezzar's assistants and selected to work as a servant of the king.
  • Daniel is an all-around good guy from a well-off family: he's educated, he's handsome, and he's firmly committed to the Jewish ways of doing things.
  • Verse 8 mentions that Daniel did not "defile himself" by consuming the food and wine provided by the king. Jewish laws had strict regulations about proper things to eat and drink, and Daniel did not want to risk violating his commitment to the Jewish lifestyle. 
  • Daniel has three Jewish colleagues who are a lot like him: Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. They all are impressive and demonstrate great wisdom. Daniel could even interpret dreams.
  • The king gives Daniel a nickname, Belteshazzar. This was likely to try to distance Daniel from his heritage.
SO WHAT? (What are the underlying principles?)
  • Even while under the authority of a king who didn't believe in God, Daniel remained committed to his faith. He didn't follow the rules or dietary suggestions of King Nebuchadnezzar, which must have been intimidating and scary.
  • We should remain committed to living the way God wants us to live even when people in authority over us try to force us to do otherwise. This doesn't mean we have to be belligerent or dramatic, but we should be firm.
NOW WHAT? (How will you personally apply this passage?)
  • Is there someone in your life you've been doing something for, even though what they're having you do doesn't match up with the life God wants you to live?
  • Maybe it's a boss who wants you to falsify or misrepresents numbers, or someone you're dating who tries to pressure you into having sex.
  • Whatever the situation, make sure your commitment to God is stronger than your desire to make them happy. This might mean you need to have a tough conversation, or it might mean you face consequences that are even scarier. But as we will see throughout the rest of the book of Daniel, faithfulness to God always pays off.