Prophet Daniel was of royal lineage. He and his friends were known for their uncompromising obedience to God, and received favor from God and even foreign kings. Nebuchadnezzar carried the Jews captive into Babylon (about 605 B.C.), and Daniel was chosen to be taken to Babylon and trained for service in the king’s court. He was a righteous and godly man and sensitivity to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, greatly favored of God. The Lord blessed him with the gift of interpreting dreams and visions. He became the Lord’s longstanding minister to at least four foreign kings (over a span of around seventy years). He was made head of the wise men, chancellor of the equivalent of a national university, ruler of all the Hebrew captives, and, as governor of the province of Babylon, in both the Babylonian and Persian Empires.
The Babylonian queen mother described Daniel as, “There is a man in your kingdom who has within him the spirit of the holy gods. During Nebuchadnezzar’s reign, this man was found to have insight, understanding, and wisdom like that of the gods.” (5:11)
Most importantly, God has described Daniel (through an angel messenger) as, “Daniel, you are very precious to God, so listen carefully to what I have to say to you. Stand up, for I have been sent to you.” (10:11) “Don’t be afraid, Daniel. Since the first day you began to pray for understanding and to humble yourself before your God, your request has been heard in heaven. I have come in answer to your prayer.” (10:12) “Don’t be afraid’, he said, “for you are very precious to God. Peace! Be encouraged! Be strong!” (10:19) “Those who are wise will shine as bright as the sky, and those who lead many to righteousness will shine like the stars forever.” (12:3) “As for you, go your way until the end. You will rest, and then at the end of the days, you will rise again to receive the inheritance set aside for you.” (12:13)
Today’s reading: Daniel 1 New Living Translation (NLT)
1 During the third year of King Jehoiakim’s reign in Judah,[a] King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. 2 The Lord gave him victory over King Jehoiakim of Judah and permitted him to take some of the sacred objects from the Temple of God. So Nebuchadnezzar took them back to the land of Babylonia[b] and placed them in the treasure-house of his god.
3 Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, his chief of staff, to bring to the palace some of the young men of Judah’s royal family and other noble families, who had been brought to Babylon as captives. 4 “Select only strong, healthy, and good-looking young men,” he said. “Make sure they are well versed in every branch of learning, are gifted with knowledge and good judgment, and are suited to serve in the royal palace. Train these young men in the language and literature of Babylon.[c]” 5 The king assigned them a daily ration of food and wine from his own kitchens. They were to be trained for three years, and then they would enter the royal service.
6 Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were four of the young men chosen, all from the tribe of Judah. 7 The chief of staff renamed them with these Babylonian names:
Daniel was called Belteshazzar.
Hananiah was called Shadrach.
Mishael was called Meshach.
Azariah was called Abednego.
8 But Daniel was determined not to defile himself by eating the food and wine given to them by the king. He asked the chief of staff for permission not to eat these unacceptable foods. 9 Now God had given the chief of staff both respect and affection for Daniel. 10 But he responded, “I am afraid of my lord the king, who has ordered that you eat this food and wine. If you become pale and thin compared to the other youths your age, I am afraid the king will have me beheaded.”
11 Daniel spoke with the attendant who had been appointed by the chief of staff to look after Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. 12 “Please test us for ten days on a diet of vegetables and water,” Daniel said. 13 “At the end of the ten days, see how we look compared to the other young men who are eating the king’s food. Then make your decision in light of what you see.” 14 The attendant agreed to Daniel’s suggestion and tested them for ten days.
15 At the end of the ten days, Daniel and his three friends looked healthier and better nourished than the young men who had been eating the food assigned by the king.16 So after that, the attendant fed them only vegetables instead of the food and wine provided for the others.
17 God gave these four young men an unusual aptitude for understanding every aspect of literature and wisdom. And God gave Daniel the special ability to interpret the meanings of visions and dreams.
18 When the training period ordered by the king was completed, the chief of staff brought all the young men to King Nebuchadnezzar. 19 The king talked with them, and no one impressed him as much as Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. So they entered the royal service. 20 Whenever the king consulted them in any matter requiring wisdom and balanced judgment, he found them ten times more capable than any of the magicians and enchanters in his entire kingdom.
21 Daniel remained in the royal service until the first year of the reign of King Cyrus.[d]
- 1:1 This event occurred in 605 B.c., during the third year of Jehoiakim’s reign (according to the calendar system in which the new year begins in the spring).
- 1:2 Hebrew the land of Shinar.
- 1:4 Or of the Chaldeans.
- 1:21 Cyrus began his reign (over Babylon) in 539 B.c.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Reading from New Testament:
God has spoken about Jesus as follows:
Luke 1:35 New Living Translation (NLT)
35 The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God.
40 There the child grew up healthy and strong. He was filled with wisdom, and God’s favor was on him.
21 One day when the crowds were being baptized, Jesus himself was baptized. As he was praying, the heavens opened, 22 and the Holy Spirit, in bodily form, descended on him like a dove. And a voice from heaven said, “You are my dearly loved Son, and you bring me great joy.[a]”
35 Then a voice from the cloud said, “This is my Son, my Chosen One.[a] Listen to him.”
- 9:35 Some manuscripts read This is my dearly loved Son.