June 10, 2019

Today you should read: Daniel 1

Second only to the Exodus, the Babylonian Exile is the most significant event of the Old Testament. The storyline of the Bible begins when God made His Covenant with Abraham. We read in Joshua that God called this idolatrous man out of an idolatrous nation to create a unique people for Himself. God promised three things that make up the Abrahamic Covenant—land, seed, and blessing.

Much later, under Moses in Deuteronomy 28, God tells His Covenant People that if they obey the Lord’s commands in the Promised Land they will be blessed in many ways. However, if they disobey, they will receive many curses. Long story short, God’s people disobeyed and they reaped the consequences of sin as the nation of Babylon invaded Judah and captured the city of Jerusalem.

Daniel 1 teaches many things, but I only have the space to focus on three ideas—God’s heart, Daniel’s obedience, and Daniel’s reward.

In ancient times, when nations fought, it was a battle between the nation’s gods. When Jerusalem fell, the Temple was sacked. Yahweh was defeated… or was He? Daniel makes it clear—it was the Lord who gave Judah to Babylon. The sacred Temple vessels were removed and brought to the land of Shinar, to the house of [Nebuchadnezzar’s] god, and he brought the vessels into the treasury of his god (1:2). In everyone’s mind, the Babylonian gods defeated Yahweh to the point of subservience.

Was God really defeated by pagan gods? No way, He was in charge the whole time. However, this means God allowed His name to become tarnished. God suffered the shame of defeat in order that His people could be redeemed. Nebuchadnezzar removed God’s people and their treasure from God’s Land and took them back to the land which Abraham left all those years ago. The Babylonian Exile was the symbolic undoing of almost 2,000 years of covenant relationship—that is a huge deal! However, God’s promises are irrevocable. God is a good Father and although His people suffered the consequences of Deuteronomy 28, thankfully there is Deuteronomy 30. In Deuteronomy 30 God says that when the people experience the blessings and curses, humble themselves and pray, God will return them to the Land. The whole point of the Exile was to suffer the consequences of sin in order that God’s people may be redeemed—God’s heart bleeds redemption.

The second idea is Daniel’s obedience. Imagine suffering in a city under siege. When the city is taken, Daniel and his contemporaries were marched for probably about a month back to Babylon. When they arrived, they had suffered in unspeakable ways. They were offered the finest things Babylon had to offer, and the only price for luxury was their loyalty. For many, it was a small price to pay. Daniel and his friends, however, refused the food and wine in order to remain loyal to Yahweh. Much has been said about Daniel’s wisdom in this process, but even here we see character traits that pop up frequently in this book—that is, complete faithfulness to God and obedience to authorities. They never compromised either. However, when faithfulness to God and obedience to authorities conflicted, they readily accepted the consequences without malice or protest.

The third idea is Daniel’s reward. Daniel and the triplets were recognized for their wisdom and gifts. However, verse 21 should jump off the page. “Daniel continued until the first year of Cyrus the king.”  Sure, Daniel had wisdom and incredible gifts, but verse 21 illustrates that the faithful man of God outlasts empires. Cyrus was not the king of Babylon; he was the king of Persia that would do to Babylon what Babylon did to Jerusalem. Babylon seemed mighty and impenetrable, yet God’s servant saw it crumble.

Questions for reflection:

God faced shame to redeem people, are you?

Daniel obeyed God, even in the small things. Where have you made compromises recently?

By: Tyler Short — Connections Ministry Associate

Author: Center Point Church

A multi-campus church in central Kentucky. Our mission is to take everyone we meet one step closer to becoming a true disciple of Jesus Christ.

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