In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it.
Read Daniel 1:1-6
Before we take another step into this opening scene of Daniel, I want you to write the definitions listed for the words stranger and weary below - these will be beneficial definitions to refer back to as we navigate through this journey.
The first few verses of the book of Daniel hits hard, verse 2 taking it to another level when we read, “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.” There are many analogies I could give here that would indicate the level of shame this action conveyed, but I truly believe this speaks for itself.
When you take verses 1-6 as a whole you get a picture of some very lonesome times on the horizon and I think it’s important we view it in a larger context. We need to take a moment and read I Kings 20:17-18.
“Behold, the days are coming, when all that is in your house, and that which your fathers have stored up till this day, shall be carried to Babylon. Nothing shall be left, says the LORD. And some of your own sons, who will come from you, whom you will father, shall be taken away, and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.”
According to Daniel 1: 3-4, what types of Israelites did King Nebuchadnezzar command his chief eunuch to bring to Babylon?
This was a prophecy made by the prophet Isaiah to King Hezekiah and Daniel was living in the reality of it coming to fruition. I think it would be easy to get negative and interrogate God for an answer as to why this was necessary. It seems harsh, but without getting too deep into the weeds, we must realize that nothing comes free in this world. King Hezekiah made some decisions apart from his faith that had results, consequences, like what we are seeing here.
My friends, have you ever had a time where you made decisions without asking God for guidance? Forgotten who the ultimate provider is?
I’m sure we can all say we have, but God had delivered judgment for something similar to forgetting and choosing worldly alliances instead. Daniel and his friends had to pay the price, but God always has a plan to care for his people. The beginning of Daniel seems negative, but the beauty that evolves in the person from it all is awe-inspiring.
Take a moment and write down at least one worldly alliance that you have, that you would like to pray for God to give you conviction and release from.
It is easy to forget all that God has delivered us from, and live each day wrapped up in this world’s hurricane that sends us sprinting. I encourage you, my friends, to look up at the sky this week. Look at the birds as they fly in beautiful formation, at the water as it softly laps up on the shore, at your child’s wonder as they play in the yard, or at the beautiful herbs you add to your dish.
Remember that God has not forgotten you.