Daniel, His Friends, and Separation #3

Sunday, April 30, 2017

But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself (Daniel 1:8 KJV).

Every Sunday School child knows about Daniel and his three companions (Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego). Unfortunately, today, few adults practice what these precious children knew!

Verses 11-16 continue: “[11] Then said Daniel to Melzar, whom the prince of the eunuchs had set over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, [12] Prove thy servants, I beseech thee, ten days; and let them give us pulse to eat, and water to drink. [13] Then let our countenances be looked upon before thee, and the countenance of the children that eat of the portion of the king’s meat: and as thou seest, deal with thy servants. [14] So he consented to them in this matter, and proved them ten days. [15] And at the end of ten days their countenances appeared fairer and fatter in flesh than all the children which did eat the portion of the king’s meat. [16] Thus Melzar took away the portion of their meat, and the wine that they should drink; and gave them pulse.”

The prince of the eunuchs, verse 11 says, appointed Melzar to supervise Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah (notice their Hebrew names). Daniel, the spokesman of the group, “beseeches”/begs/asks (not demands or violently protests, remember!) if they can be given vegetables to eat and water to drink instead of the king’s meat and wine (verses 11,12). This routine, Daniel suggests, is to continue for 10 days, after which Melzar can see how the four boys compare to those following the king’s defiled diet (verses 13,14). After the trial, Melzar sees that Daniel and his three friends are actually healthier looking and appear more nourished than those eating and drinking according to Nebuchadnezzar’s specifications (verse 15). Melzar decides to allow Daniel and his three companions to eat their special diet for the three years (verse 16).

Let us see what happens when King Nebuchadnezzar meets these four Hebrew children, who will now probably be young adults….

Daniel, His Friends, and Separation #2

Saturday, April 29, 2017

But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself (Daniel 1:8 KJV).

Every Sunday School child knows about Daniel and his three companions (Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego). Unfortunately, today, few adults practice what these precious children knew!

During the first invasion of the Babylonians into Judaea and Jerusalem, circa 606 B.C., King Nebuchadnezzar ordered one of his servants to gather some of the best, learned Jewish children living in Judah. These kids, probably in their early to mid-teens, were to be trained and fed for three years, before being promoted in Nebuchadnezzar’s court.

Today’s Scripture says: “But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.” Notice how Daniel did not pick a fight, throw a tantrum, shout, or make demands. Instead, he “requested” (as in asked politely) that he and his three companions be exempt from following pagan ways. They, good Law-keeping Jews, obey the kosher food rules in Leviticus chapter 11 and Deuteronomy chapter 14. Furthermore, they do not eat or drink things offered to idols. Moreover, in such Gentile lands, blood may not have been drained from animal flesh—the Mosaic Law forbad Israel from consuming blood (Leviticus 19:26; Deuteronomy 12:16).

Daniel chapter 1 continues: “[9] Now God had brought Daniel into favour and tender love with the prince of the eunuchs. [10] And the prince of the eunuchs said unto Daniel, I fear my lord the king, who hath appointed your meat and your drink: for why should he see your faces worse liking than the children which are of your sort? then shall ye make me endanger my head to the king.” The prince of the eunuchs is worried. If he allows Daniel and his friends to have a special diet, and it harms them, Nebuchadnezzar will be wroth—probably issuing a death sentence for them all!

Let us see what happens….

Daniel, His Friends, and Separation #1

Friday, April 28, 2017

But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself (Daniel 1:8 KJV).

Every Sunday School child knows about Daniel and his three companions (Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego). Unfortunately, today, few adults practice what these precious children knew!

The Book of Daniel begins: “[1] In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem, and besieged it. [2] And the LORD gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with part of the vessels of the house of God: which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his god; and he brought the vessels into the treasure house of his god.” After centuries of persistent unbelief and pagan idolatry, JEHOVAH God finally judged the Jews as promised (cf. Leviticus 26:14-46; Deuteronomy 28:15-68). He recruited Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, to attack and eventually deport Israelites from Judaea (southern Israel) to Babylon (modern Iraq).

Daniel continues: “[3] And the king spake unto Ashpenaz the master of his eunuchs, that he should bring certain of the children of Israel, and of the king’s seed, and of the princes; [4] Children in whom was no blemish, but well favoured, and skilful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science, and such as had ability in them to stand in the king’s palace, and whom they might teach the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans. [5] And the king appointed them a daily provision of the king’s meat, and of the wine which he drank: so nourishing them three years, that at the end thereof they might stand before the king.”

“[6] Now among these were of the children of Judah, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: [7] Unto whom the prince of the eunuchs gave names: for he gave unto Daniel the name of Belteshazzar; and to Hananiah, of Shadrach; and to Mishael, of Meshach; and to Azariah, of Abednego.” Today’s Scripture says that Daniel, living in heathen surroundings, has already made up his mind to remain separate….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Is the Ephesian church of the Revelation the same group as those in the Book of Ephesians?

Autocorrect

Thursday, April 27, 2017

“I thought on my ways, and turned my feet unto thy testimonies” (Psalm 119:59 KJV).

When we approach Scripture, may we be willing to let it automatically correct us!

In this age of computers, especially smartphones and other personal electronic devices, we have become more associated, for better or worse, with a feature called “autocorrect.” If you have typed a word or letter by mistake, special software automatically corrects your error. This is very handy—especially if you are a poor speller. However, the downside is that the computer may misinterpret you. Perhaps you wish to spell someone’s name, a location, or a specialized term—something probably not found in the average dictionary. Or, maybe you are quoting words that were originally misspelled. Perhaps you are using a foreign word. Whatever the case, the automatic “correction” is damaging rather than helpful. “Autocorrect” would be incorrect!

Sadly, people, even professing Christians, function just like autocorrect software and “correct” the Bible. They mean well—hopefully—but they are better off not commenting about matters in which they are unskilled. They have an overestimation of their Bible understanding: they believe they are qualified to change Scripture at will. Just as the software would “think” a unique word is misspelled, so people assume they can adjust God’s words to make them fit human reasoning. This flawed approach to Scripture drives textual criticism—the “scholarly” science of “reconstructing” the Bible text that was supposedly “lost” in the centuries since the Apostles. These “restorations” are a series of critical works surviving even to this present hour—namely, Greek New Testaments (about 30 different ones) and their resulting English translations (100-plus different ones)!

It is silly to point out, but it must be said. Computer software, since it is not living, cannot approach the Bible in faith. We, however, can and should use spiritual understanding to see why the King James Bible text says what it does, before we mindlessly change what it says. Whenever we alter the Bible, we cannot fathom the depths of ignorance in which we have just placed ourselves. Friends, we do not correct the Bible; it is perfect (Proverbs 30:5,6). Brethren, we let the Bible correct us; we are imperfect (2 Timothy 3:16,17).

Persuading and Pleasing God #3

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

“For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ” (Galatians 1:10 KJV).

What does today’s Scripture reveal about the Apostle Paul’s past?

As Saul of Tarsus, Paul was a Pharisee (Acts 26:5; Philippians 3:5,6), diligently serving men in “the Jews’ religion” (Galatians 1:13,14). The Mosaic Law (rabbinical) scholar that he was (Acts 22:3), no one was more dedicated to striving in works-religion than he. However, on the road to Damascus, Acts chapter 9, he met the resurrected, ascended, and glorified Lord Jesus Christ from Heaven. Pious Saul suddenly realized he was headed for Hell! He came to believe the new gospel message that the Lord revealed to him—Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He was raised again the third day. Thereafter, Saul would no longer please men. In fact, at his conversion, he asked, “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do?” (Acts 9:6).

In contrast to his earlier life, Paul was now a servant of God. Galatians 1:11-12, the verses immediately following today’s Scripture, affirms: “[11] But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. [12] For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ.” Rather than being faithful to a God-originated religious system that man had watered down over the centuries, Paul was now faithful to the commission God had given directly to him. He was truly now a God-pleaser instead of a man-pleaser (today’s Scripture).

The Lord Jesus Christ had revealed Himself to Saul outside of Damascus. In doing so, He revealed to Paul the Gospel of Grace—the first installment of the Dispensation of Grace. The Holy Spirit moved Paul to write to the churches at Galatia, that they learn his distinctive apostleship and message, to the end that they would learn not to be men-pleasers either. Brethren, let us learn the lesson: the answer to successful Christian living is grace, not law—Christ, not religion! It is not what we do; it is all that Jesus Christ did for us at Calvary’s cross! This persuades and pleases Father God! 🙂

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Should a woman lead a group in prayer?

Persuading and Pleasing God #2

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

“For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ” (Galatians 1:10 KJV).

What does today’s Scripture reveal about the Apostle Paul’s past?

Colossians 3:22-25 describes the employee-employer relationship: “[22] Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God; [23] And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; [24] Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ. [25] But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons.”

Christian employees should submit to their bosses’ authority. Furthermore, they are not to be diligent only in the bosses’ presence (remember the “fair shew” in religion—Galatians 6:12). Notice today’s Scripture: “not with eyeservice, as menpleasers….” Work should be done “in singleness of heart, fearing God.” Whatever we do, we “do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men.” God is not looking for religious slaves, doing what they have to do because someone is watching them and will punish them for carelessness. Father God wants hearts of faith, sincerity, people purposing to follow His Word and will. Notice how verse 24 says we “serve the Lord Christ;” we are “the servant[s] of Christ” (today’s Scripture).

Returning to Colossians, we see a “reward.” At the Judgment Seat of Christ, Jesus Christ will personally review, evaluate, our Christian service. Second Corinthians 5:9-10 says, in part: “Wherefore we labour, that, whether present or absent, we may be accepted of him.” First Corinthians 4:5 says of that day: “Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God. The Lord will be interested in exposing the doctrine underlying our earthly actions—whether sound Bible doctrine (good) or something else (bad). Christians who strove to please men will lose reward because underlying sound Bible doctrine was absent from their inner man.

Persuading and Pleasing God #1

Monday, April 24, 2017

“For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ” (Galatians 1:10 KJV).

What does today’s Scripture reveal about the Apostle Paul’s past?

Notice the “now” persuade men and the “yet” (as in, “still”) please men. These are really glimpses into Paul’s past. As Saul of Tarsus, he was a men-pleaser, a religious fanatic, consumed by self-righteousness. Scripture continues: “[13] For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it: [14] And profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers.” Notice “the Jews’ religion” appears twice—Saul had been quite busy in a God-given religion that men watered down!

Galatians chapter 6 talks about men-pleasers in works-religion: “[12] As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ. [13] For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh.” Even today, denominational preachers brag about how many people they water baptized last year. Church members boast how faithful they were in maintaining church programs. Top donors to churches and missionaries are praised with flattery. Preachers please congregants because they are giving the church members what they want to hear—works-religion. The people, in turn, are pleasing the preachers by obeying the denomination’s demands—religious works. Thus, religion is one gigantic cycle of pleasing others. Almighty God is displeased because people want to satisfy everyone but Him!

Dear friends, today’s Scripture is very clear. If we want to serve men, if we purpose to impress men, we should not be servants of Jesus Christ. We should have stayed dead in our trespasses and sins, and not come to Him by faith. Now that we have come to Him, though, our goal is to persuade and please Him alone. We should not be pacifying other humans with mindless, rote, religious busyness.