Things to consider when reading the bible;
- Is there a command to obey?
- Is there an example to follow?
- Is there a promise to claim?
- Is there a sin to avoid?
- Is there a principle to follow?
Thoughts to consider
- Nebuchadnezzar, the Babylonian commander, had come to Judah and Jerusalem twice before to put down Jewish rebellion against the authority of the empire. In 605 B.C. the Jews had been treated fairly well. A few young men (including Daniel) from the leading families had been taken as hostages, but the nation was left relatively undisturbed. In 597 B.C. the treatment was harsher. More people were deported to Babylon, including the king, Jehoiachin, and the prophet Ezekiel. Finally, in 586 B.C. the Babylonian patience was exhausted. The temple of God was burned, the walls of Jerusalem were broken down, and the people were virtually all killed or deported to Babylon.God judged Judah for seventy years (from 605 B.C. to 536 B.C.) a period called the Babylonian captivity. In 536 B.C. Babylon was defeated by a new world power, Persia. Cyrus, the Persian ruler, allowed the Jews to return to Judah. Daniel’s ministry in Babylon extended through the entire seventy-year Babylonian captivity and on into the reign of the Persians. Daniel lived well into his eighties or nineties! His primary prophetic focus was on the Gentiles. Even during the period of Judah’s humiliation God’s voice was heard in the courtroom of the emperor.(taken from http://www.ivpress.com/bible/daniel/)
- Right from chapter 1, Daniel is faced with a decision; is he going to assimilate completely into Babylonian culture and compromise or is he going to remain as obedient as he can but make a stand with matters that pertain to God and his conscience? We all make those decisions every day. What are you going to do today?
- Having proved that they were trustworthy and honourable, God continued to bless Daniel and his friends and gave them positions of influence.
- Only God could protect Daniel and the other wise men of the empire. Nebuchadnezzar makes an impossible demand; interpret my dream, but I’m not going to tell you what it is! But Daniel’s God is the one who put the dream there in the first place. He is the God who knows all things and causes nations and peoples to rise and fall. This is the same God who is with you today. He knows everything you are going to do and every conversation you are going to have. Go out in confidence, God is with you.
- All is going well for Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego until they are given another test to compromise. Once again they pass with flying colours and the result is that their God is esteemed and held in high honour. We will often be tempted to compromise when things are going particularly well. Trust God through every test. Even if God had not delivered them from the fiery furnace they still would have been richly rewarded in heaven.