Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Most High God - Daniel 1:17-21

Previous: Daniel 1:8-16 

Daniel 1:17-21 (KJV)
17 As for these four children, God gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom: and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams.
18 Now at the end of the days that the king had said he should bring them in, then the prince of the eunuchs brought them in before Nebuchadnezzar.
19 And the king communed with them; and among them all was found none like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: therefore stood they before the king.
20 And in all matters of wisdom and understanding, that the king enquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm.
21 And Daniel continued even unto the first year of king Cyrus.

How are the four young men (Daniel and his three fellow Jews which had been taken captive into Babylon) described in verse 17? While the four were in their three year training period in Babylon God gave them knowledge and wisdom. Daniel was also gifted in the understanding of visions and dreams. What happened to them at the end of the three year period (verse 18)? They had to appear before Nebuchadnezzar. How did the young men compare to the other captives (verse 18)? The king found them to be above the others in excellence. When the king asked them questions that reflected on their wisdom and understanding how more excellent were they (verse 20)? They were ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers in the kingdom. What does this say about the Babylonians? They must have been a superstitious people that placed great emphasis on signs and wonders and the "magic" arts. For people of our time these qualifications for high office seems pretty strange. Yet, Daniel and his friends' knowledge, wisdom, and understanding go beyond the fields of magic and astrology. What they had learned would be used to advise the king and would potentially impact the ruling of a country. God had given them these gifts. As our narrative continues we will see how these specific gifts of discerning visions and dreams will impact Nebuchadnezzar's reign. According to verse 21 how long does Daniel labor for the Babylonians? Daniel will continue through the entire Babylonian heyday. King Cyrus marks the beginning of the coming Persian Empire. What does this chapter tell us about how we should live in "horrible" situations? Throughout the book of Daniel we will see Daniel just going about his duties, being faithful to God. What does this chapter tell us about God and our relationship to Him? Daniel was not taken out of trouble, but God was caring for him all the time. If we have a relationship to God we can trust God to do the same for us. He won't necessarily take us out of trouble, but He will see us through, no matter what the outcome.

Next: Daniel 2:1-13

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