Heads of the Class

Daniel and his friends find favor with the king.

Daniel 1 (6)

Introduction

The test Daniel and his friends passed during the first ten days of their training laid a cornerstone for the rest of their preparation. At the end of the program, after three years of disciplined study (v. 5), they were heads of the class. And not merely heads of the class, they were better than all the king’s existing advisors when it came to those matters of wisdom and understanding that mattered to Nebuchadnezzar. Not unlike Joseph, many years before, who was doubtless in Daniel’s mind throughout this period of preparation. The early respect Daniel and his friends achieved would put them in good stead for what was to follow.

Review Genesis 41.

Read Daniel 1.18-21.
18Now at the end of the days, when the king had said that they should be brought in, the chief of the eunuchs brought them in before Nebuchadnezzar. 19Then the king interviewed them, and among them all none was found like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah; therefore they served before the king. 20And in all matters of wisdom and understanding about which the king examined them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers who were in all his realm. 21Thus Daniel continued until the first year of King Cyrus.

Think it Through
1.  What do you suppose it was like to be interviewed by the most powerful king in the world, a declared enemy of God and your people? How do you suppose Daniel and his friends maintained their composure and their wits? Meditate on Luke 12.11, 12. Does Jesus mean we don’t need to prepare for such situations? When we face situations that can be intimidating or risky, how should we prepare?

2.  Nebuchadnezzar probably didn’t query them about everything they had studied and learned. What do you suppose were the subjects that mattered most to him? Again, the king was looking for understanding and wisdom. How are wisdom and understanding related? (It is interesting to note that, in the Hebrew, their relationship is suggested by the way the words are used together; a literal translation would be wisdom of understanding.) What are some of the things that are important to the people in your Personal Mission Field? Do you think it would be a good idea for you to know something about this, and to be able to talk with them about these things? If we want to serve people, like Daniel did, can we afford not to be informed about what matters to them? Explain.

Meditate
“By the ‘completed days’ understand the period of three years that the king had appointed, so that after they had been nourished and trained for three years, they should then stand in the presence of the king.” Jerome (347-420 AD)

“Now when they bring you to the synagogues and magistrates and authorities, do not worry about how or what you should answer, or what you should say. For the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.” Luke 12.11, 12

Lord, help me to love the people around me enough to…

Pray
Remember this, that the enemy has reproached, O LORD,
And that a foolish people has blasphemed Your name.
Oh, do not deliver the life of Your turtledove to the wild beast!
Do not forget the life of Your poor forever.
Have respect to the covenant;
For the dark places of the earth are full of the haunts of cruelty.
Oh, do not let the oppressed return ashamed!
Let the poor and needy praise Your name.
Arise, O God, plead Your own cause;
Remember how the foolish man reproaches You daily.

Psalm 74.18-22

Psalm 74.18-21 (Rockingham Old: O Lord Most High, With All My Heart)
Remember this, O Lord, our God: a foolish people spurns Your Name;
Deliver not Your flock to them, nor leave Your holy ones to shame.

Your covenant recall, renew, for violence spreads throughout the earth;
The poor and needy rescue, Lord, and we shall sing Your matchless worth!

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.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in Essex Junction, VT. 

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