The ten days of probation pass, and Daniel and his friends come through with flying colors. Their success through this trial will open doors of opportunity for them, but will also bring them to more trials. We only advance in the Kingdom through trials, so we must neither fear nor try to avoid them, but through them follow the lead of saints like Daniel. Daniel and his friends proved the faithfulness of God for those who trust in Him. God never fails us when we take Him at His Word. We will always find Him faithful.
Read Daniel 1.15-17.
15And at the end of ten days their features appeared better and fatter in flesh than all the young men who ate the portion of the king’s delicacies. 16Thus the steward took away their portion of delicacies and the wine that they were to drink, and gave them vegetables. 17As for these four young men, God gave them knowledge and skill in all literature and wisdom; and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams.
Think it Through
1. Daniel and his friends ate less, and less sumptuously, throughout their ten-day trial, than the other trainees in the program. But they fared better. Why? Is bodily health and wellbeing only a matter of physical things (food, exercise, etc.)? Explain. Their test passed, Daniel and his friends were allowed to follow the Lord in their diet. And in their obeying God, the steward, and even King Nebuchadnezzar, were constrained to obey Him as well. Meditate on Psalm 81.13-16. How can you see the promise made here at work for Daniel and his friends? Is this promise still true today? Can you think of any applications of it we might claim?
2. Daniel and his friends excelled not only in physical wellbeing (v. 17). God gave them “knowledge and skill.” What’s the difference between these? What does it mean to have skill in literature, as opposed to mere knowledge? What about in wisdom? Since God gave knowledge and skill to them, we can assume that these two – knowledge and skill – are what God intends for us as disciples (learners). Why would each of these be important? Is learning complete without one or the other? Explain. Daniel and his friends learned literature and wisdom and much more (v. 20) because this was what their roles or callings required. What does your calling from the Lord require of you as a learner? We note also that God gave interpretation of visions and dreams to Daniel, but only to Daniel. That will come in handy, as we shall see.
“Daniel had an outstanding gift over and above the three youths, in that he could astutely discern the significance of visions and dreams in which things to come are shown forth by means of certain symbols and mysteries. Therefore that which others saw only in a shadowy appearance he could perceive clearly with the eyes of his understanding.” Jerome (347-420 AD)
Make a joyful shout to God, all the earth!
Sing out the honor of His name;
Make His praise glorious.
Say to God,
“How awesome are Your works!
Through the greatness of Your power
Your enemies shall submit themselves to You.
All the earth shall worship You
And sing praises to You;
They shall sing praises to Your name.” Psalm 66.1-4
Lord, every day I face some test of whether I will obey You or follow the lead of the world. Help me always to obey, and let the world around me…
We do not see our signs;
There is no longer any prophet;
Nor is there any among us who knows how long.
O God, how long will the adversary reproach?
Will the enemy blaspheme Your name forever?
Why do You withdraw Your hand, even Your right hand?
Take it out of Your bosom and destroy them.
For God is my King from of old,
Working salvation in the midst of the earth.
Psalm 74.10-14 (Rockingham Old: O Lord Most High, With All My Heart)
How long, O Lord, must they prevail and mock and spurn Your holy Name?
Why stay Your hand? Deploy it now, and bring Your foes to lasting shame!
Our God is King from long ago, Who works deliv’rance in the land;
He split the sea, He crushed His foes; against Him none can ever stand.
T. M Moore
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. All psalms for singing adapted from The Ailbe Psalter. All quotations from Church Fathers from Ancient Christian Commentary Series, General Editor Thomas C. Oden (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2006.