Daniel 4:34-37 Video Devotional

At the end of the days I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High, and praised and honored him who lives forever,

for his dominion is an everlasting dominion,
and his kingdom endures from generation to generation;
all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing,
and he does according to his will among the host of heaven
and among the inhabitants of the earth;
and none can stay his hand
or say to him, “What have you done?”

At the same time my reason returned to me, and for the glory of my kingdom, my majesty and splendor returned to me. My counselors and my lords sought me, and I was established in my kingdom, and still more greatness was added to me. Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, for all his works are right and his ways are just; and those who walk in pride he is able to humble. – Daniel 4:34-37

Nebuchadnezzar’s story ends with him praising God after his ordeal in the wilderness. His was a journey with lots to overcome, but as far as we can read, through Daniel’s account, Nebuchadnezzar finished his life praising and extolling the God of Heaven. We don’t know for sure if this was a full-on salvation experience for him, but I think it is safe to assume that.

The Babylonian king’s salvation means a few things for us today. First, if the guy who destroyed Jerusalem and the temple can be saved, then anyone can! Think of all the death and destruction he brought to the Jews when he sacked the city. Not only that, but with his own people, he was an arrogant tyrant of a king who wanted people to only bow down to him!

But God is in the business of saving people just like that. People who are ruled by their sin; completely helpless without God, are some of God’s favorite salvation circumstances. Whether it is the thief on the cross next to Jesus, Peter (a bumbler in his own right) or Paul (murderer of Christians), the Bible gives many accounts of people being saved who would not pass a par role hearing. God saves the lost.

Next, in the process of saving, He chooses to use people who are willing to invest and even sacrifice for those that may never appreciate it. Daniel suffered greatly in his efforts to be a good influence on Nebuchadnezzar. It took a long time to get these results, but Daniel never gave up. Has anyone ever told you to give up sharing your faith? That it’ll never work on them? Never give up praying for them and loving them! No one ever knows what God will do – and He likes to surprise. Stay tuned to God’s marvelous work and allow yourself to be amazed at His creativity in saving His creation!



Daniel 4:19-27 Video Devotional

Then Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, was dismayed for a while, and his thoughts alarmed him. The king answered and said, “Belteshazzar, let not the dream or the interpretation alarm you.” Belteshazzar answered and said, “My lord, may the dream be for those who hate you and its interpretation for your enemies! The tree you saw, which grew and became strong, so that its top reached to heaven, and it was visible to the end of the whole earth, whose leaves were beautiful and its fruit abundant, and in which was food for all, under which beasts of the field found shade, and in whose branches the birds of the heavens lived— it is you, O king, who have grown and become strong. Your greatness has grown and reaches to heaven, and your dominion to the ends of the earth. And because the king saw a watcher, a holy one, coming down from heaven and saying, ‘Chop down the tree and destroy it, but leave the stump of its roots in the earth, bound with a band of iron and bronze, in the tender grass of the field, and let him be wet with the dew of heaven, and let his portion be with the beasts of the field, till seven periods of time pass over him,’ this is the interpretation, O king: It is a decree of the Most High, which has come upon my lord the king, that you shall be driven from among men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. You shall be made to eat grass like an ox, and you shall be wet with the dew of heaven, and seven periods of time shall pass over you, till you know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will. And as it was commanded to leave the stump of the roots of the tree, your kingdom shall be confirmed for you from the time that you know that Heaven rules. Therefore, O king, let my counsel be acceptable to you: break off your sins by practicing righteousness, and your iniquities by showing mercy to the oppressed, that there may perhaps be a lengthening of your prosperity.” – Daniel 4:19-27

I can imagine the sweat on Daniel’s brow as he listened to Nebuchadnezzar recount his dream. Realizing that it is a warning, Daniel hopes that it is for his enemies, but knows the truth. It is time for the king to be brought down a peg or two. I wonder how discouraged Daniel may have felt at that time, listening to this bad news and preparing himself how to explain it to the king. This is another in a line of negative encounters he’s had with the Babylon royalty thus far, and he has got to see the emerging pattern.  Thankfully, Daniel trusted fully in God, so no matter how discouraging that may have been, he held fast to God’s command and faithfully shared with the king the dream’s interpretation.

To Nebuchadnezzar’s credit, he encouraged Daniel by allowing him to speak freely no matter what the interpretation was. Granted, he didn’t know what it would be, but you can see a difference this time compared to the first. He was much more open to share and trusting to listen to what Daniel had to say. This book very clearly shows a nice progression for Nebuchadnezzar towards God, and though it takes time (and a situation like what he will experience with this dream’s outcome), it seems that Nebuchadnezzar’s journey to God has potential for a very happy ending.

If Nebuchadnezzar is in Heaven enjoying the fullness of God’s favor and grace, I bet he spends every second with a thankful and grateful attitude towards Daniel, who no matter the consequence, stayed faithful to keep sharing his faith with the king and being honest and open about God. As Romans 10:15 says, “How blessed are the feet of those that bring good news!”

Are you willing to face the risk and discouragement you might receive when sharing the gospel? Daniel was willing…and his rewards are eternal. Consider that.



Daniel 4:9-18 Video Devotional

“O Belteshazzar, chief of the magicians, because I know that the spirit of the holy gods is in you and that no mystery is too difficult for you, tell me the visions of my dream that I saw and their interpretation. The visions of my head as I lay in bed were these: I saw, and behold, a tree in the midst of the earth, and its height was great. The tree grew and became strong, and its top reached to heaven, and it was visible to the end of the whole earth. Its leaves were beautiful and its fruit abundant, and in it was food for all. The beasts of the field found shade under it, and the birds of the heavens lived in its branches, and all flesh was fed from it.

“I saw in the visions of my head as I lay in bed, and behold, a watcher, a holy one, came down from heaven. He proclaimed aloud and said thus: ‘Chop down the tree and lop off its branches, strip off its leaves and scatter its fruit. Let the beasts flee from under it and the birds from its branches. But leave the stump of its roots in the earth, bound with a band of iron and bronze, amid the tender grass of the field. Let him be wet with the dew of heaven. Let his portion be with the beasts in the grass of the earth. Let his mind be changed from a man’s, and let a beast’s mind be given to him; and let seven periods of time pass over him. The sentence is by the decree of the watchers, the decision by the word of the holy ones, to the end that the living may know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will and sets over it the lowliest of men.’ This dream I, King Nebuchadnezzar, saw. And you, O Belteshazzar, tell me the interpretation, because all the wise men of my kingdom are not able to make known to me the interpretation, but you are able, for the spirit of the holy gods is in you.” – Daniel 4:9-18

We come to another dream of Nebuchadnezzar’s – this one a warning. Despite his movements towards humility and honor of God, Nebuchadnezzar still holds on to a lot of arrogance, thinking very highly of himself. Though it is interesting that we have seen multiple instances of him praising God, this story shows us clearly that one’ coming to God is a process, not a one-time thing. This dream is the big change-maker in his life.

Of course no one but Daniel can interpret the dream, thus leading the king to go to one of his most trusted advisors for the answer (however, he still hasn’t learned to go to Daniel first). He recognizes the power in Daniel and trusts him with the interpretation.

The king had a lot to learn, but it is cool that we are shown his progression towards God. We don’t know har far he goes in his spiritual journey, but we definitely see a journey, and that is something we need to understand with all people. In our zeal to tell others about Jesus, we need to realize that everyone is on a journey and us jumping in at some random point is a small blip on the totality of their journey. It is an important blip, but they might be better served if we make sure our presence is more than one blip.

In other words, let’s make sure to enter in to other people’s lives and journeys before presenting Jesus. We need to build relationships with them, love them, and truly know them. Then we can be most aware to when the right time and the movement of the Spirit is leading us to present Jesus. Proper witnessing is a long-term relationship, sprinkling the gospel over many conversations. Take the time to invest in those relationships (like Daniel did) and watch the spiritual fruit grow!



Daniel 3:26-30 Video Devotional

Then Nebuchadnezzar came near to the door of the burning fiery furnace; he declared, “Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, servants of the Most High God, come out, and come here!” Then Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego came out from the fire. And the satraps, the prefects, the governors, and the king’s counselors gathered together and saw that the fire had not had any power over the bodies of those men. The hair of their heads was not singed, their cloaks were not harmed, and no smell of fire had come upon them. Nebuchadnezzar answered and said, “Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who has sent his angel and delivered his servants, who trusted in him, and set aside the king’s command, and yielded up their bodies rather than serve and worship any god except their own God. Therefore I make a decree: Any people, nation, or language that speaks anything against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego shall be torn limb from limb, and their houses laid in ruins, for there is no other god who is able to rescue in this way.” Then the king promoted Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in the province of Babylon. – Daniel 3:26-30

I’m curious how warm it was walking in the fire. Obviously no one got burned, but was it hot? How hot was it? Or was it a completely painless experience? Would it have been like taking a walk on a perfect afternoon with good friends?

Seeing that these initial chapters in Daniel focus on the idea of suffering, I am guessing that though I doubt there were lasting internal scars, being in the furnace was most likely physically an uncomfortable experience. However, being that they were joined by Jesus, I doubt they cared too much exactly how hot it was in there. God promises that we will go through trials like that, but He also promises to be there with us, and that is exactly what happened to these three guys.

On top of that, their suffering in the furnace was incredibly fruitful. Nebuchadnezzar was shown again the power of God, their influence gained more steam with their promotion, and God was given importance in the kingdom. Though only a step (Nebuchadnezzar has a long way to go), it is a significant step towards God and lasting influence given to God’s messengers.

This is the effect of righteous suffering. Notice not all suffering has this effect, but righteous suffering does. When we suffer for Christ, our efforts aren’t painless, but they will be rewarded and God will be glorified in them. It may not feel great, but going through those trials with Jesus beside you, the Holy Spirit in you and the rewards awaiting you make a strong argument. Trust Him, and He will make great use of you.



Daniel 3:8-19 Video Devotional

Therefore at that time certain Chaldeans came forward and maliciously accused the Jews. They declared to King Nebuchadnezzar, “O king, live forever! You, O king, have made a decree, that every man who hears the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, shall fall down and worship the golden image. And whoever does not fall down and worship shall be cast into a burning fiery furnace. There are certain Jews whom you have appointed over the affairs of the province of Babylon: Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. These men, O king, pay no attention to you; they do not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”

Then Nebuchadnezzar in furious rage commanded that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego be brought. So they brought these men before the king. Nebuchadnezzar answered and said to them, “Is it true, O Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, that you do not serve my gods or worship the golden image that I have set up? Now if you are ready when you hear the sound of the horn, pipe, lyre, trigon, harp, bagpipe, and every kind of music, to fall down and worship the image that I have made, well and good. But if you do not worship, you shall immediately be cast into a burning fiery furnace. And who is the god who will deliver you out of my hands?”

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.”

Then Nebuchadnezzar was filled with fury, and the expression of his face was changed against Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. He ordered the furnace heated seven times more than it was usually heated. – Daniel 3:8-19

Either Nebuchadnezzar’s repentance was very short-lived, or it wasn’t really repentance, but more of an acknowledgment. Yet, even then, it is obvious that the king’s arrogance knows no bounds. He sets up a statue of himself to be worshipped by all the people! This is a situation that I almost wish was something he was duped into by an evil henchman, but no. All we know about this story is that Nebuchadnezzar built the statue and was key on everyone bowing down to it.

With that, we can see in verse 8 that the three friends were set up to get caught. People had been looking for a way to take those guys down as the leadership of the Babylonian province, which they gained through Daniel’s suffering over the dream and its interpretation. They were earning influence in their own right, but up until now, they had mostly followed Daniel. In this story, however, they were on their own. The king was mad at those 3 individuals (though I would love to know where Daniel was during this trial) and they were going to have to stand up to this on their own.

Showing their own personal dedication to God, the 3 friends do just that. And although you cannot read into their language any tone of anger for frustration, it is clear their response really ticked Nebuchadnezzar off. So filled with rage was he that he had the furnace turned up seven times its normal heat!

This was their moment – they got the chance (again, notice this is completely disconnected from anything resembling a fault of their own) to stand up on their own against the king, holding fast to God and expecting to die. They stood. They suffered. All for the righteous call of God.

For all of us, there comes a time when the spotlight finally falls directly on us. We will have to stand up and face something ourselves – no more hiding behind your dad’s overcoat. These three friends, who for the most part had been content to follow Daniel, were now called to the carpet by the king himself. They willingly walked into the furnace. I don’t think anyone is being asked that exact question today, but maybe something smaller?

Notice they do not argue with the king, telling him he is wrong. They willingly go to the slaughter, knowing the outcome would most likely be grim. They turned the other cheek. What will you do with the spotlight is on you? The only thing you can do is what you’ve practiced. If you are faithful in the small things, you will be faithful in the big things. Practice well!



Daniel 2:46-49 Video Devotional

Then King Nebuchadnezzar fell upon his face and paid homage to Daniel, and commanded that an offering and incense be offered up to him. The king answered and said to Daniel, “Truly, your God is God of gods and Lord of kings, and a revealer of mysteries, for you have been able to reveal this mystery.” Then the king gave Daniel high honors and many great gifts and made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon and chief prefect over all the wise men of Babylon. Daniel made a request of the king, and he appointed Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego over the affairs of the province of Babylon. But Daniel remained at the king’s court. – Daniel 2:46-49

Here we have the payoff to Daniel’s suffering over the dream and its interpretation. Daniel’s direct and respectful response to Arioch, prayer and trust in God, and boldness in front of Nebuchadnezzar was met with nothing else than spiritual fruit!

I am sure Daniel was much happier about it than Jonah, but just as surprised. Nebuchadnezzar repented! Though it initially seems like the king was giving glory to Daniel, he recognized Daniel’s God as the One with the power and Daniel as the recipient. This led to Daniel being given real influence and leadership over the kingdom, which would be huge, but lead to more opportunities to suffer. Daniel’s trust in God and obedience saved the day and put a target on his back.

This ending to the story tells us a few things: 1) Daniel’s way of interacting with non-believers is correct, and 2) influence leads to opportunity and suffering. We can learn today from how Daniel treated those who could be considered enemies. This matches with 1 Corinthians 13 – without love, our truth is useless. We have got to put that back at the forefront of our actions; everything we do must be filtered through loving actions and a respectful attitude! If we do that, our opportunities will only increase.

What Daniel did accomplished a lot for the kingdom of God. People were saved and influence was gained. But we need to be prepared as we work (or rush) for our chances to gain that kind of leadership; it will lead to suffering. I have had a few experiences lately of opportunities to have influence and lead, but they both quickly lead to me suffering emotional pain over the outcome of those circumstances. It was great to experience God using me, but in the end it hurt. That’s ok – even good, but we need to be ready for it. Again, obey God and trust Him to take care of the consequences – that’s our only chance for real success.



Daniel 2:36-45 Video Devotional

“This was the dream. Now we will tell the king its interpretation. You, O king, the king of kings, to whom the God of heaven has given the kingdom, the power, and the might, and the glory, and into whose hand he has given, wherever they dwell, the children of man, the beasts of the field, and the birds of the heavens, making you rule over them all—you are the head of gold. Another kingdom inferior to you shall arise after you, and yet a third kingdom of bronze, which shall rule over all the earth. And there shall be a fourth kingdom, strong as iron, because iron breaks to pieces and shatters all things. And like iron that crushes, it shall break and crush all these. And as you saw the feet and toes, partly of potter’s clay and partly of iron, it shall be a divided kingdom, but some of the firmness of iron shall be in it, just as you saw iron mixed with the soft clay. And as the toes of the feet were partly iron and partly clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong and partly brittle. As you saw the iron mixed with soft clay, so they will mix with one another in marriage, but they will not hold together, just as iron does not mix with clay. And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed, nor shall the kingdom be left to another people. It shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand forever, just as you saw that a stone was cut from a mountain by no human hand, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold. A great God has made known to the king what shall be after this. The dream is certain, and its interpretation sure.” – Daniel 2:36-45

Nebuchadnezzar’s dream of the kingdoms enters us into the beginning of the prophetic illustrations of the book. In it, we see a frightening statue with a head of gold, chest and arms of silver, middle and thighs of bronze and legs of iron and feet of partly iron and partly clay. Then the statue was struck by a giant boulder and crushed it all to where the wind then blew the dust into the air.

These kingdoms that represented the statue were worldly kingdoms (Babylon was the head of gold), which would follow one after another, whose focus was self and sin. They will fill God’s world with violence. These kingdoms were then destroyed by the final kingdom, God’s permanent kingdom, confronting the evil of the worldly kingdoms, bringing righteousness and justice that the previous kingdoms ignored.

Simply put, it was a warning to Nebuchadnezzar that his kingdom would receive its retribution and be destroyed. Those who rely on the kingdoms of the world should take this to heart and be afraid. Worldly kingdoms will end. God’s kingdom will rule forever (this is a spiritual kingdom – please do not in any way think I am referring to the U.S. as God’s kingdom). Us Christians, who have chosen to live in the Kingdom of God on earth will reap the benefits of God’s restoration, but the entrance fee must be required: salvation through Jesus that leads to repentance and obedience. We should be comforted by this passage with the knowledge that God will restore everything to the way it was meant to be. Justice will be served!



Daniel 2:17-24 Video Devotional

Then Daniel went to his house and made the matter known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions, and told them to seek mercy from the God of heaven concerning this mystery, so that Daniel and his companions might not be destroyed with the rest of the wise men of Babylon. Then the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision of the night. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven. Daniel answered and said:

“Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, to whom belong wisdom and might. He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings; he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding; he reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with him. To you, O God of my fathers, I give thanks and praise, for you have given me wisdom and might, and have now made known to me what we asked of you, for you have made known to us the king’s matter.”

Therefore Daniel went in to Arioch, whom the king had appointed to destroy the wise men of Babylon. He went and said thus to him: “Do not destroy the wise men of Babylon; bring me in before the king, and I will show the king the interpretation.” – Daniel 2:17-24

This is incredible. Daniel, in full confidence back in v16, tells Arioch to set time with him in front of the king. Catch that for what it is: Daniel scheduled time in front of the king before he had the answer to the dream and its interpretation! Talk about bold! Daniel knew, even though he didn’t have the answer yet, that he would get it, and fearlessly chose to step up. Then he went to pray about it. Pulling together the other three, they took it to God and asked for the answer. And God provided. Daniel responds in praise and thankfulness.  

What stands out to me in this passage is that more “ink” is spent describing Daniel’s response to the prayer rather than the time spent in the prayer. God provided the answer pretty quickly – no fasting, no agonizing over it, no drops of sweat – just prayer and trust for the answer. Now, Daniel was seeking a factual answer to a problem he needed to figure out – no “why” questions or “how” questions, just “what”. So this may not apply to all prayer, but I think there are a few things we could learn from this.

First, he wasn’t looking for a specific answer. I wonder how much time we spend in extra prayer because we don’t like the answer we receive? I think we spend a lot of time pushing back, because we aren’t getting the answer we want in prayer. Now, Daniel wasn’t emotionally invested in the dream or its interpretation, so he wasn’t looking for a specific type of response. He just wanted the answer and left everything else up to God. That would be good for us to practice as well, whether or not we are emotionally invested in prayer. His answer is more important than what we want (“Not my will, but yours be done.”)

Second, he prayed and went to bed. Once he got the answer, Daniel spent more time on being thankful for the answer. How often do we go back to God after getting the answer and actually thank Him for it – let alone coming up with a poem of praise? How much time do we spend being thankful to God? What do you thank Him for?

I am not saying prayer should be quick. I am saying that we tend to overemphasize the answer we want and forget the time we should spend afterwards in praise. Maybe we should turn that around – look for His answer and then thank Him for it (regardless of what the answer is). Try it out – experience the results for yourself. Then see what kind of boldness God might instill in you.



Daniel 2:12-16 Video Devotional

Because of this the king was angry and very furious, and commanded that all the wise men of Babylon be destroyed. So the decree went out, and the wise men were about to be killed; and they sought Daniel and his companions, to kill them. Then Daniel replied with prudence and discretion to Arioch, the captain of the king’s guard, who had gone out to kill the wise men of Babylon. He declared to Arioch, the king’s captain, “Why is the decree of the king so urgent?” Then Arioch made the matter known to Daniel. And Daniel went in and requested the king to appoint him a time, that he might show the interpretation to the king. – Daniel 2:12-16

Right at the start of this story, we see Daniel thrown again into the fire, this time simply because he was part of a certain group of advisors! He had nothing to do with the situation, but was looped in and, as verse 13 states, was hunted for death. It is really just predicament after predicament.

Note here that again, this had absolutely nothing to do with Daniel or his actions (even positive action). He is merely an innocent person thrown into a life and death situation. None of this was or even could have been his fault. I can imagine anyone in these situations becoming increasingly frustrated or even angry over constantly being looped into things that he had nothing to do with; yet, Daniel chose to respond with prudence.

Again, respect and love were how Daniel chose to treat the man who was literally hunting him for death. He reached out to Arioch directly and asked for clarification and immediately offered to give the king what he is seeking – an interpretation to his dream. There is no hesitation, annoyance, or desire to seek revenge on the man sent to kill him. Simply business – Daniel learns of the problem and calmly offers to fix it.

This can be a challenge for me; not responding to actual threats to my safety but responding to one of my children when they constantly interrupt me with questions during a movie. It doesn’t have to be a life-threatening situation; only an opportunity disguised as an irritation. This is a very real-life problem.

How often do we respond to people that are a thorn in our flesh (for whatever reason) when they come around the corner? Are you mean to them? Do you ignore them? Do you simply just wish in your heart they weren’t there? Or, like Daniel, do you choose to show nothing but love and respect and seek to serve their needs. That’s Daniel’s example. That’s our challenge.



Daniel 1:17-21 Video Devotional

As for these four youths, God gave them learning and skill in all literature and wisdom, and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams. At the end of the time, when the king had commanded that they should be brought in, the chief of the eunuchs brought them in before Nebuchadnezzar. And the king spoke with them, and among all of them none was found like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. Therefore they stood before the king. And 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. And Daniel was there until the first year of King Cyrus. – Daniel 1:17-21

Daniel’s no compromise approach to the food from the king’s table was without a doubt a risky move, yet when handled with respect and love towards the chief of the eunuchs, it proved successful, with what were, I am sure, some unintended consequences.

It is important that we remember when studying Biblical texts not to assign super-human powers to the characters. Daniel is one of those who seems to be elevated more than others. For example, we have no record of Daniel having any foreknowledge of these events. It may be easy to assume that of him, especially because these stories are so commonplace, but on top of that, Daniel was given prophetic visions. But moving through his story, Daniel could still only put one foot in front of the other and God only lit his pathway for each subsequent step.

This is important to note because Daniel, during chapter one, was focused solely on obeying God’s food laws. That was it – that was his ambition and plan throughout the first chapter. He was figuring out how the exile was going to work and what his role in it would be, and this confrontation with the king’s table probably felt like a headache and a distraction. But from God’s perspective, it was a beginning of a career that would last a long time.

Developing in Daniel such steadfastness, visions, patience, and influence took time, but as scripture tells us, there was no one like those four. All because they obeyed God foremost, while also showing love and respect to other people. As a result, they were given wonderful opportunities to continue being faithful to God – to which, God put them on display and painted targets on their backs. That would mean incredible influence over the Babylon leadership (good things), but also heavy danger and risks (not so fun things), such as an appointment with a fiery furnace.

Daniel didn’t know what would happen – he could only be faithful in the moment and trust God with the outcomes of that faithfulness. And that’s all we can do. Obey in the moment and trust God with the consequences. Those consequences to God’s obedience are all blessings – though they may contain suffering and heartache as well. Be prepared. And then follow God anyway, because we all know that’s going to happen regardless; so why not experience the good and bad of life as a result of faithfulness and obedience – it’ll make for a much better journey on this earth…and the next.



Daniel 1:8-16 Video Devotional

But Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the king’s food, or with the wine that he drank. Therefore he asked the chief of the eunuchs to allow him not to defile himself. And God gave Daniel favor and compassion in the sight of the chief of the eunuchs, and the chief of the eunuchs said to Daniel, “I fear my lord the king, who assigned your food and your drink; for why should he see that you were in worse condition than the youths who are of your own age? So you would endanger my head with the king.” Then Daniel said to the steward whom the chief of the eunuchs had assigned over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, “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.” So he listened to them in this matter, and tested them for ten days. At the end of ten days it was seen that they were better in appearance and fatter in flesh than all the youths who ate the king’s food. So the steward took away their food and the wine they were to drink, and gave them vegetables. – Daniel 1:8-16

Right away we jump into the first of the numerous conflicts between the Jewish examples (Daniel and his friends) and the Babylon assimilators. They are invited to eat food off the king’s table as an enticement to like Babylon culture and appreciate the generosity of the leaders so as to begin to like them. If the Jewish examples like the Babylonians, then the rest of the exiles will begin to trend that way as well. At least that’s the plan.

The conflict begins because the food form the king’s table does not match the Jewish kosher laws; it is riddled with food they can’t eat without breaking their vows to God – something Daniel and his friends have no intention of doing. It is clear that God comes first in their hearts. On top of that, they are confident that God will provide a way for them to be faithful while also providing a way through this ordeal that He allowed them to be in. Thus, they confidently suggest to the leaders that they eat only vegetables, offering a ten-day trial to prove that this will work out in favor of the Babylonian intentions.

The test works and Daniel and his friends look great on vegetables and are thus allowed to continue their faithfulness to God through food. They also begin to earn trust and influence in the Babylonian court. Off the bat, these men suggest wise ideas, make good, faithful decisions and see positive fruit.

Here’s the key – Daniel and his friends were put into a precarious position that one could have easily justified eating off the king’s table.  A lax attitude under pressure is a common struggle people face. But this passage shows that faithfulness is the key to success here. Only by being completely faithful (albeit in a gentle and respectful way), were these young men able to produce the fruit they did. They trusted God completely and stayed the course, yet chose wisdom and gentleness in their dealings. This is the formula to spiritual success in our actions. Stay unwaveringly faithful to God no matter what and treat those you are dealing with respectfully and with love.

God will bless your work in that – guaranteed. That won’t always mean it will be pain-free (Daniel is about to spend the night with hungry lions), but it will lead to His glory. Never compromise and never act with anger towards another.



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!