Daniel 1:1-7 Video Devotional

In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with some of the vessels of the house of God. And he brought them to the land of Shinar, to the house of his god, and placed the vessels in the treasury of his god. Then the king commanded Ashpenaz, his chief eunuch, 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. The king assigned them a daily portion of the food that the king ate, and of the wine that he drank. They were to be educated for three years, and at the end of that time they were to stand before the king. Among these were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah of the tribe of Judah. And the chief of the eunuchs gave them names: Daniel he called Belteshazzar, Hananiah he called Shadrach, Mishael he called Meshach, and Azariah he called Abednego. – Daniel 1:1-7

Albeit quick, this introduction sets up the entire story of Daniel very well. We see the destruction of the southern kingdom of Israel with the deportation of the Israelites as exiles to Babylon. We then learn that Nebuchadnezzar has intention with the exiles, as he schemes to bring in leaders of the exiles to groom and turn them into people that will help him assimilate the rest of the exiles. To do that, he chooses leaders from the tribe of Judah, most likely members of the royal family. Who he picks for this is key: they have to be prominent members of the kingdom to be recognizable to everyone else, but it can’t be the royal family, as they are “examples” Nebuchadnezzar uses as a fear and control tactic.

Basically, these are important people form the southern kingdom, but (and here is the key) they are NOT the ones responsible for the downfall of Judah. These chosen were not the ones who led Israel’s southern kingdom astray. They are innocent—as much as they can be, at least. Why does this matter? Well, things do not go well for them. And it sets up an important premise for the book: these main characters that we are following through the story are good. Though sinful as human beings, in as much as we know about them, live a righteous lifestyle and we see that consistently through the book of Daniel. Everything that happens to them in this book happens because they are living well – a life lived in devotion to God and they stay faithful throughout.

It is easy to look at our lives from rose-colored glasses and see ourselves as righteous individuals, thus making the trials we face NOT our fault (no one ever wants to blame themselves). However, more often than not, if we are honest with ourselves, a lot of our trials (or suffering) can be drawn from consequences of our own actions. Whether directly or indirectly, its our fault. This is not the case with Daniel and his friends. What happens to them in this book is not their fault and it is key we keep that in mind. Their trials are going to come because they are living rightly.

That means a few things for us today; 1) trials are inevitable (regardless of how righteous you live), 2) the reasons for our trials are many, and 3) what God uses those trials in our lives for is important to understand. Consider some recent trials you have faced. Were they because of your actions? What was God doing either in or through your life? Was there spiritual fruit born from that trial?

As we continue, we are going to learn more about these trials and the reasons they happen. Stay tuned!



Daniel Overview Video Devotional

In his days, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up, and Jehoiakim became his servant for three years. Then he turned and rebelled against him. And the Lord sent against him bands of the Chaldeans and bands of the Syrians and bands of the Moabites and bands of the Ammonites, and sent them against Judah to destroy it, according to the word of the Lord that he spoke by his servants the prophets. Surely this came upon Judah at the command of the Lord, to remove them out of his sight, for the sins of Manasseh, according to all that he had done, and also for the innocent blood that he had shed. For he filled Jerusalem with innocent blood, and the Lord would not pardon. – 2 Kings 24:1-7

Many might skim past this book and see it as confusing futuristic prophecy, there is a rich meaning to Daniel’s writing that is much more than foresight into the end times. The message of the book speaks much more to daily life.

The book begins in the time of King Jehoiakim, when Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, laid siege to Jerusalem and began the process of exiling the Israelites. The southern kingdom of Judah was destroyed and the kingdom sent off to a faraway land. Daniel and his three friends as we will get to know them in the book, are from the tribe of Judah (possibly part of the royal family) and will have to learn how to live faithful to God while in exile.

There are a few interesting notes that may help us gain a better understanding of the book as we delve into it together. The layout of the book seemingly divides into to two simple sections: 1-6 (stories about Daniel and his friends) and 7-12 (visions of Daniel). But there is an interesting twist in that Daniel wrote the book in two languages: Hebrews (Chs 1, 8-12) and Aramaic (Chs 2-7). This suggests that the layout of the book is not as simple as we thought. While there are two main sections to the book, Ch 1 stands out more on its own as an introduction, presenting through its example the main idea of the book. Chs 2-7 then serve as symmetrical story-telling to reinforce those themes (2&7, 3&6, 4&5), then finishes off with Chs 8-12 using Daniel’s visions to give us a Heaven’s eye view of what we the readers need to understand.

As the main character in this book, it is also interesting to note that Daniel is one of the only biblical characters (other than Jesus) where they don’t show us any glaring character flaws. This helps to show the idea that righteous suffering is what is important here (not suffering for our own sins). Peter discusses this idea of suffering for good (as opposed to evil) and its importance in growing the Kingdom of God in 1 Peter 3.

As we go through the devotional series, we will go into much more detail, but simply by learning about the layout and basic characteristics of the book, we can be challenged to live a more righteous life and prepare ourselves to face suffering as a result; and that is all for God’s glory.



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