Part 3 – Daniel: Learning to Get God‘s Best for Your Life
Getting God’s best for our lives demands that we live separate from the world’s values. This is both a decision and an ongoing process that requires we “stop” allowing the world to conform us to its values and “start” and continue to renew our mind so that we will experience the will of God as described in Romans 12:2. Daniel’s life provides a graphic picture of this process and demonstrates this is possible in the most pagan of cultures even as a teenager.
How do you get God’s best for your life?
1. Daniel’s journey reveals how to get God’s best for our lives in a hostile environment. (Daniel 1)
Historical Setting (Daniel 1:1-2) The Time: 605 BC The Place: Babylon The Reason: God’s people have not been following God. (Deuteronomy 28) The Spiritual Climate: Wickedness
1 In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. 2 And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with some of the vessels of the house of God. And he brought them to the land of Shinar, to the house of his god, and placed the vessels in the treasury of his god.Daniel 1:1-2
• The Babylonian Game Plan to Seduce Daniel’s Soul (v. 3-7) -Change their thinking. -Change their worship. -Change their lifestyle
3 Then the king commanded Ashpenaz, his chief eunuch, to bring some of the people of Israel, both of the royal family[a] and of the nobility, 4 youths without blemish, of good appearance and skillful in all wisdom, endowed with knowledge, understanding learning, and competent to stand in the king's palace, and to teach them the literature and language of the Chaldeans.5 The king assigned them a daily portion of the food that the king ate, and of the wine that he drank. They were to be educated for three years, and at the end of that time they were to stand before the king. Daniel 1:3-5
6 Among these were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah of the tribe of Judah. 7 And the chief of the eunuchs gave them names: Daniel he called Belteshazzar, Hananiah he called Shadrach, Mishael he called Meshach, and Azariah he called Abednego. Daniel 1:6-7
1) Daniel (God is my judge) - Belteshazzar (a servant of Bel) 2) Hananiah (the Lord is gracious) - Shadrach (inspired by the sun god) 3) Mishael (who is what God is?) - Meshach (who is what the moon god is?) 4) Azariah (the Lord helps) - Abed-Nego (servant of Nebo)
• God’s Game Plan to Transform Babylon (v. 8-20) - Prepare the next generation to change the world. - Position godly people in places of influence. - Prosper those who follow His ways over the ways of Babylon.
8 But Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the king's food, or with the wine that he drank. Therefore he asked the chief of the eunuchs to allow him not to defile himself. Daniel 1:8
9 And God gave Daniel favor and compassion in the sight of the chief of the eunuchs, 10 and the chief of the eunuchs said to Daniel, “I fear my lord the king, who assigned your food and your drink; for why should he see that you were in worse condition than the youths who are of your own age? So you would endanger my head with the king.” Daniel 1:9-10
11 Then Daniel said to the steward whom the chief of the eunuchs had assigned over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, 12 “Test your servants for ten days; let us be given vegetables to eat and water to drink. 13 Then let our appearance and the appearance of the youths who eat the king's food be observed by you, and deal with your servants according to what you see.” 14 So he listened to them in this matter, and tested them for ten days. Daniel 1:11-14
15 At the end of ten days it was seen that they were better in appearance and fatter in flesh than all the youths who ate the king's food. 16 So the steward took away their food and the wine they were to drink, and gave them vegetables. Daniel 1:15-16
17 As for these four youths, God gave them learning and skill in all literature and wisdom, and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams. Daniel 1:17
18 At the end of the time, when the king had commanded that they should be brought in, the chief of the eunuchs brought them in before Nebuchadnezzar. Daniel 1:18
19 And the king spoke with them, and among all of them none was found like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. Therefore they stood before the king. Daniel 1:19
20 And in every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king inquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters that were in all his kingdom. Daniel 1:20
Daniel reveals to us how we can get God’s best!
II. Daniel’s confidence in God’s promises and God’s character were the secret to His convictions and courage. 1. We are not at the mercy of our pagan culture. 2. We are what we eat!
III. Daniel’s life reveals that getting God’s best is a “no/yes” proposition. (Romans 12:2) Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2
1. What / Who do you need to “say no” to that is squeezing you into the world’s mold? • Consider a 3, 5, 10 day fast. • Who can help you keep your commitment to God?
2. What do you need to “say yes” to in order to renew your mind and experience God’s good, acceptable, and perfect will? • Consider a 20 minute daily time with God • Who can help you keep your commitment to God?
God’s blessing and power will rest upon His children when they refuse to compromise with the world’s values.
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