Hearing God’s Voice from His Word
James 4:8 says, “Come near to God and he will come near to you.”
Take a moment and turn your attention to God. Tell God that you desire to trust and obey Him. Ask God to speak to you from His word.
Psalm of the Day
But you, Lord, be gracious to me and raise me up;
then I will repay them.
11 By this I know that you delight in me:
my enemy does not shout in triumph over me.
12 You supported me because of my integrity
and set me in your presence forever.
13 Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,
from everlasting to everlasting.
Amen and amen.
Read the Entire Psalm
Set me in your presence forever. Consider that phrase for a moment. God is the one who sets us in his present. We don’t strive to enter his presence. He has graciously said, come and be with me. He sets us with him forever. We are secure because he has set us with him. Praise the Lord for what he has done.
Daniel 1 – The Message
1 1-2 It was the third year of King Jehoiakim’s reign in Judah when King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon declared war on Jerusalem and besieged the city. The Master handed King Jehoiakim of Judah over to him, along with some of the furnishings from the Temple of God. Nebuchadnezzar took king and furnishings to the country of Babylon, the ancient Shinar. He put the furnishings in the sacred treasury.
3-5 The king told Ashpenaz, head of the palace staff, to get some Israelites from the royal family and nobility—young men who were healthy and handsome, intelligent and well-educated, good prospects for leadership positions in the government, perfect specimens!—and indoctrinate them in the Babylonian language and the lore of magic and fortunetelling. The king then ordered that they be served from the same menu as the royal table—the best food, the finest wine. After three years of training they would be given positions in the king’s court.
6-7 Four young men from Judah—Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah—were among those selected. The head of the palace staff gave them Babylonian names: Daniel was named Belteshazzar, Hananiah was named Shadrach, Mishael was named Meshach, Azariah was named Abednego.
8-10 But Daniel determined that he would not defile himself by eating the king’s food or drinking his wine, so he asked the head of the palace staff to exempt him from the royal diet. The head of the palace staff, by God’s grace, liked Daniel, but he warned him, “I’m afraid of what my master the king will do. He is the one who assigned this diet and if he sees that you are not as healthy as the rest, he’ll have my head!”
11-13 But Daniel appealed to a steward who had been assigned by the head of the palace staff to be in charge of Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: “Try us out for ten days on a simple diet of vegetables and water. Then compare us with the young men who eat from the royal menu. Make your decision on the basis of what you see.”
14-16 The steward agreed to do it and fed them vegetables and water for ten days. At the end of the ten days they looked better and more robust than all the others who had been eating from the royal menu. So the steward continued to exempt them from the royal menu of food and drink and served them only vegetables.
17-19 God gave these four young men knowledge and skill in both books and life. In addition, Daniel was gifted in understanding all sorts of visions and dreams. At the end of the time set by the king for their training, the head of the royal staff brought them in to Nebuchadnezzar. When the king interviewed them, he found them far superior to all the other young men. None were a match for Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah.
19-20 And so they took their place in the king’s service. Whenever the king consulted them on anything, on books or on life, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in his kingdom put together.
21 Daniel continued in the king’s service until the first year in the reign of King Cyrus.
Having God’s Ear through Prayer
- Express thanksgiving to God.
- Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal sin to you.
- Confess your sin to Him and receive forgiveness.
(1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sin He is faithful and just and will forgive our sins.”)
- Bring your personal requests to God.
(Psalm 62:8 “Pour out your heart before God”)
- Pray for someone in your small group.
- Join with others from River and pray today for Christian Challenge. They are not meeting tonight but students will be returning this week and classes will start next week. Ask God to use the ministry of challenge to bring students to repentance and faith in Jesus.
Living as God’s People by applying the Bible
Scripture Reflection from the Sermon
If you are familiar with Daniel in the Bible, your mind probably goes to “fiery furnace” or “lion’s den” or to strange dreams of the end of the world. All that is there, but it is not the point. Daniel was written to encourage a people suffering under Babylonian oppression. It was written to inspire faithfulness in the face of a nation opposed to God. It was written to frame their thinking to remember that God had said he would send Babylon as his tool of judgement, and he did. He said he would judge Babylon for their sin, and he did. In the midst of these grand narratives, our focus is taken all the way down to some single faith-filled and faithful followers of God, like Daniel. His life shows us how to live our lives. We are to be found faithful. We are not to believe that the mighty and the famous who shake their fists at God will endure; they all eventually become dust and long forgotten. We are not to be impressed by humans, and we are not to become overly distressed by them either. We know God, and God knows us. He is the only eternally famous one. He is the one we are impressed by. He is the one who gives us peace to not be over distressed by the events of human history; it is all decidedly under his control.