Daniel Lesson 1: “Draw the Line”
Motivation: “Faithful in the midst of trials.” How strong is our allegiance to Christ? What would it take for us to deny Him? Daniel and his friends give us a great example of faithfulness!
I. Disasters Happen (1-2) “In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and laid siege to it. The Lord handed Jehoiakim king of Judah over to him, along with some of the vessels from the house of God. Nebuchadnezzar carried them to the land of Babylon, to the house of his god, and put the vessels in the treasury of his god.” (1-2) Daniel and his friends were taken captive in the first of three deportations to Babylon which included Ezekiel.
HCSB, p. 1433: 1:1 “Although Daniel recorded these events as taking place in the third year of…Jehoiakim, Jeremiah wrote that it was the fourth year (Jr. 25:1, 9; 46:1). Daniel probably used the Babylonian system which did not count a king’s year of accession, while Jeremiah used the Israelite system of counting, which did include the accession year. The events took place during the accession year of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, probably when he was still co-regent with his father and just after the battle of Carchemish (605 B.C.).” 1:2 “Although Nebuchadnezzar viewed his defeat of Judah as a victory for his gods, Daniel’s perspective was that it was the Lord who handed Jehoiakim over to the Babylonians. The historian Berosus mentioned these events when he wrote that Nebuchadnezzar conquered Hattiland (referring to Syro-Palestine). At that time, Nebuchadnezzar took vessels from the house of God, in fulfillment of Isaiah’s prediction when Hezekiah showed them to the Babylonian king a century beforehand (Is 39:2, 6).”
II. Temptations Come (3-7)
A. A Change of Culture “The king ordered Ashpenaz, the chief of his court officials, to bring some of the Israelites from the royal family and from the nobility – young men without any physical defect, good looking, suitable for instruction in all wisdom, knowledgeable, perceptive, and capable of serving in the king’s palace – and to teach them the Chaldean language and literature.” (3-4) In order to incorporate captive peoples into the empire, the Babylonians selected young men for leadership training. These men were to be thoroughly converted to Babylonian ways including language, literature, religion and diet.
B. A Change of Diet “The king assigned them daily provision from the royal food and from the wine that he drank. They were to be trained for three years, and at the end of that time they were to serve in the king’s court.” (5) Although the king felt the diet was an honor (royal food), it became a real issue for the Hebrew boys. (8)
C. A Change of Names “Among them, from the descendants of Judah, were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. The chief official gave them other names: he gave the name Belteshazzar to Daniel, Shadrach to Hananiah, Meshach to Mishael, and Abednego to Azariah.” (6-7) A Hebrew’s name was very significant and was filled with meaning. Symbolic of all the changes demanded was a change in name. HCSB, p. 1433 1:7 “Daniel and his friends, whose original names honored the God of Israel, were given other names that intended to honor the false gods of Babylon. Daniel (“God is My Judge”) became “Belteshazzar (“Bel Protect Him”); Hananiah (“God Has Been Gracious”) became Shadrach (“The Command of Akku”); Mishael (“Who is What God Is?”) became Meshach (“Who Is What Aku Is?”); Azariah (“The Lord Has Helped”) became Abednego (“Servant of Nebo”).”
III. Discipline Works (8-16)
A. Purposeful “Daniel determined that he would not defile himself with the king’s food or with the wine he drank. So he asked permission from the chief official not to defile himself. God had granted Daniel favor and compassion from the chief official, yet he said to Daniel, ‘My lord the king assigned your food and drink. I’m afraid of what would happen if he saw your faces looking thinner than those of the other young men your age. You would endanger my life with the king.’” (8-10) Someone once said that if a person has a good “why”, any number of “hows” will work. Daniel was a man controlled by convictions, not circumstances. Daniel “determined” (8) to obey God. HCSB, p. 1433: 1:8 “The word determined means literally ‘set upon his heart,’ referring to inner resolve. Daniel decided that he would not defile himself with a diet that included non-Kosher meat such as horseflesh and pork, or drink wine that had been offered to Babylonian gods.”
B. Pragmatic “So Daniel said to the guard whom the chief official had assigned to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, ‘Please test your servants for 10 days. Let us be given vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then examine our appearance and the appearance of the young men who are eating the king’s food, and deal with your servants based on what you see.’ He agreed with them about this and tested them for 10 days. At the end of 10 days they looked better and healthier than all the young men who were eating the king’s food.” (11-15) When the steward began to raise all kinds of “what ifs,” Daniel responded with a pragmatic test. “Ten days” in verse 12 could be a euphemism for a period of days.
The “Daniel Diet” is a modern day plan of eating which replaces sweets and processed foods with vegetables. The “Daniel Plan” is being promoted by Pastor Rick Warren as a holistic approach to improving body, mind and spirit. First Place 4 Health has long advocated healthy food intake combined with physical and spiritual disciplines.
C. Proactive “So the guard continued to remove their food and wine they were to drink and gave them vegetables.” Sir Arthur Helps first put into print “Nothing succeeds like success.”
IV. God-Given Wisdom Matters (17-21)
A. Insight “God gave these four young men knowledge and understanding in every kind of literature and wisdom. Daniel also understood visions and dreams of every kind.” (17) Wisdom comes from God (James 1:5).
B. Involvement “At the end of time that the king had said to present them, the chief official presented them to Nebuchadnezzar. The king interviewed them, and among all of them, no one was found equal to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. So they began to serve in the king’s court.” (18-19) We are to bloom where we are planted. Just as Paul served in prison, so Daniel served in captivity.
C. Investment “In every matter of wisdom and understanding that the king consulted them about, he found them 10 times better than all the diviner-priests and mediums in his entire kingdom. Daniel remained there until the first year of King Cyrus.” (20-21) Because of their obvious blessing from God, “they began to serve in the King’s court” (19). Nebuchadnezzar found them “10 times better” than his other court advisors. Verse 21 shows the length of Daniel’s service. He arrived in Babylon in 605 BC. He continued in Nebuchadnezzar’s service until Babylon was conquered by the Medes and the Persians in 539 BC. According to Daniel 10:1, he was still in Babylon in the third year of King Cyrus’ reign, a total of almost seventy years of service in a pagan atmosphere!
1. Change is threatening but also provides opportunity.
2. Convictions, based on God’s Word, will be honored by God.
3. Contentment is not found in circumstances but in fulfilling God’s will.
Leader Pack Item 15: Daniel’s Timeline
Illustrator: p. 63, “Life in the Royal Court of Babylon.” Insites: “Babylon in the Time of Nebuchadnezzar II”
**You may access David’s Lesson Preview in MP3 format at: www.hfbcbiblestudy.org
Dates: 6/4-7/30 – SPF Summer Nights on Wednesdays; 6/5 – 8/7 MetroLIVE Thursdays; 7/12-18 – Rushmore;
7/14 – Pastor begins Sabbatical, returns 8/11; 7/19-26 – Rushweek; 7/20 – David Self preaching; 7/22–8/2 – Choir Mission Trip to Africa; 7/25-26 – FP4Health Summit; 7/27 – John Sorenson preaching; 7/30 – RUSH Summer Celebration; 8/3 – Justin Holcombe preaching; 8/3 – Deacon’s Meeting/Church Conference; 8/10 – Afshin Ziafat preaching; 8/15 - Daycation ends; 8/24 – Next Gen Back to School Sunday; 8/22 – ReCreate Date Night; 8/24 - Back to School Sunday; 8/27 – Midlink Kickoff; 8/29 – HFBC Night @ Minute Maid Park; 9/1 - Labor Day – Offices closed; 9/3 – Milestone Classes start; 9/7 – Adult 2 Rally; 9/7- Deacon’s mtg./ Church conference; 9/12 – Pastor’s Anniversary Event; 9/14 – LBS Leadership Luncheon; 9/17-19 – Ed Staff @ D6 Conf; 9/21 – MIYCO; 9/25 – Summit Celebrates; 10/3-4 – Women’s Retreat.
Ezekiel Lesson 8: “Hope of New Worship
Motivation: What difference does God’s presence make in one’s life? In this study we’ll see a need for cleansing and the benefits of healing, hope and help to God’s people.
Last Updated (Monday, 14 July 2014 14:33)
Ezekiel Lesson 7: “Hope of New life”
Motivation: The heart of the Christian message involves resurrection: the resurrection of Jesus as well as the resurrection to a new life of each believer. Ezekiel paints that picture as he describes God’s plan for Israel.
Last Updated (Monday, 14 July 2014 14:42)
Ezekiel Lesson 6: “Hope of New Freedom”
Explore the Bible Lesson Preview
Motivation: “Redeemed how I love to proclaim it!” So begins the words of a favorite hymn. We often think of redemption as a purely New Testament concept; in our study of Ezekiel, we’ll discover some Old Testament antecedents.
Ezekiel Lesson 5: “When Pride Turns to Greed”
Motivation: Surely by now the Jewish exiles in Babylon had grown weary of Ezekiel’s prophecies against Jerusalem. As often happens when sin and judgment are disclosed, thoughts immediately turn to the other guy and ask “what about him?” In this lesson, Ezekiel answers that question about Israel’s neighbors.
Last Updated (Sunday, 22 June 2014 04:05)