Hello Beautiful People!
Its amazing to see so many of you on board with the #DanielChallenge! Even those that haven’t done the previous Bible Challenges ( #EstherChallenge , #RuthChallenge, #JamesChallenge and #LWChallenge.) we welcome you! For those that still don’t know what it is, don’t worry!
The Daniel Challenge is a 12 day challenge, where we read the 12 chapters in the book of Daniel in the Bible! It is not just about reading, I would love for us to share our understanding of what we have read with each other, so as you read, feel free to hashtag #DanielChallenge if you have twitter. In addition, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your notes for each chapter, or a summary and I will put it up on this blog page! The book of Daniel really focuses on our attitudes and behaviours as Christians, especially in the area of being CONSISTENT and LOYAL which I believe is so key in really getting the most out of our Christian walk and abiding in God’s will for us! Some points I haven’t touched on in my summary are covered in everyone else’s contributions, OR I have purposely left out to encourage you guys to touch on! 🙂
Day One- Chapter One
Main People in this Chapter:
- King Nebuchadnezzar (aka King Nebu)
- Daniel (Belteshazzar)
- Hananiah (aka Shadrach)
- Mishael (aka Meshach)
- Azariah (Abednego)
- Ashpenenaz (The eunuch, we saw this role in Esther, an Enuch looks after and is in charge of the Kings servants)
MY QUICK CHEEKY SUMMARY: Daniel and his boys moved to Babylon (your modern day Iraq), because Jerusalem had been conquered by king Nebuchadnezzar (King Nebu from now on lool) an idol worshipper of false gods. This King wanted good Israeli men to serve him and so he got his Eunuch to find him some good men! Daniel and his guys were selected, waheyy. They were given Babylonian names…however, Daniel did not feel comfortable adhering to the Babylonian customs such as eating food that was forbidden for the Israelites. He found favour in the Eunuch who did not force him and his friends to eat the unclean food and made a proposition that He and the other three lads would just eat vegetables. Now its hard to get strength from just common veg, but God enabled them to appear much more stronger than the other servants who had feasted on the unclean food. A great example of how God rewards our faithfulness to him.
KEY POINTS FOR ME (I got excited, so its pretty long):
Even the ungodly desire good things
Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, chief of his court officials, to bring into the king’s service some of the Israelites from the royal family and the nobility—young men without any physical defect handsome, showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well informed, quick to understand, and qualified to serve in the king’s palace. (Daniel1:3-4)
This king wanted good Israeli men to serve him. Verse 4 details the sort of men he was looking for and re-emphasises something that I have always been told ‘even the ungodly/wicked desire good things’. It also shows how basic proficiency in the positive things of the world, such as education, skills, knowledge, wisdom etc. can facilitate favour, fondness, a desire and liking towards you from those that appear as foes. An application of this in your everyday life or the best example I can think of, is when you’re looking for a job or attending various interviews. You don’t just turn up and say ‘I have Jesus, so it’s all good, I can look anyhow and command respect from the interviewer’ NO. You need to present yourself in a worthy manner like Daniel and friends did.
Despite the circumstances Daniel and His Boys DID NOT COMPROMISE
God’s people do not need to compromise their faith in order to survive and prosper because God is in control of their lives. These guys had been brought up in Jerusalem. They were constantly reminded of their God and of His importance. The temple was there, their teachers, scribes (pastors) were there. Now, they were slaves in a godless land. Surrounded by heathen worship, heathen idols, heathen people. It would be easy to CONFORM, just to fit in right?
These lads were taught a new language and new ways of life. They were exposed to novel things and it was a dangerous time for them. I imagine there was so much pressure exerted on them to conform to the new world around them. All their lives they had a strict diet, based on the law for the people of Israel, in Babylon, they were faced with prohibited food. Sound familiar?? Think about the pressure you felt when you first started university or college, or moved to a new country, area. All the changes you thought you had to make in order to fit in. We face the same dangers in the world today. We are constantly being exposed to new ways of thinking and are being told that our way of looking at the world through the eyes of God is outdated, ancient and intolerant. There is much pressure being placed on the Christian community to conform to the world’s ways of thinking. We are told to change our mind about many things concerning Christians, to accept violations of God’s commandments…but God has not changed His mind about at single thing! Ponder on that.
Names are IMPORTANT
Through our previous Bible challenges, we have learnt so much about how important the meaning of names are in the Bible. When I was reading this chapter, I was a tad…okay greatly concerned about the change of names, because I’ve known name changes to be quite significant in the bible. Sarai to Sarah, Abram to Abraham, Saul to Paul, Naomi to Marah and back to Naomi, Hadassah to Esther. The list is endless…
All four of the Israelites names in Daniel 1:6-7 included syllables meaning God (El) or The Lord God (Yah). So…these guys probably weren’t excited when they were given Babylonian names in homage to the false gods.
- Daniel (God is my judge) to Belteshazzar (Bel will protect)
- Hananiah (God is gracious) to Shadrach (Inspiration of the sun)
- Mishael (God is without equal) to Meshach (Belonging to Aku)
- Azariah (The Lord is my helper) to Abednego (Servant of Nego)
We all know the saying ‘it doesn’t matter what you are called, it’s about what you answer to’. I agree with this in part.
- What people call you does matter to an extent. If you don’t know what your name means, I’d advise you to research, ask your parents what your name means, and if it doesn’t have a traditional meaning, ask your parents what led them to call you by that name. I say this because whatever your name means, any time someone calls your name, they are speaking over your life. That’s why I respect mothers who will not have people remix their child’s name to something unworthy of what they were given, because they are aware of the meaning their name carries. This isn’t just a spiritual thing, as those of you who studied or are studying the social sciences, especially sociology and psychology will be well aware of the ‘self-fulfilling prophesy‘ and ‘labelling’. I recently heard that someone named their child ‘heartless’, sadly one should not be surprised if that child later one behaves like a ‘heartless’ individual. So names and their respective meanings are VERY important.
- I do however, agree that a greater importance is placed on what you answer to! This is for all the ladies that still think it’s cool to be called a ‘bad female dog’, what you answer to is what you are. I’m a big fan of defying the negative statistics or expectations, so where your name doesn’t mean something great or positive, work to defeat the manifestation of the meaning of that name in your life.
- Having said that, there are some of us who have names with wonderful meanings…but our actions put the name to absolute shame. If your name is ‘blessing’, behave like a blessing and not a curse.
King Nebu’s goal was to change their identity and in turn, their way of thinking by changing their names. However, we can see from this chapter and even as we read on for the next 12 days, that even though their names were changed, their CHARACTER remained INTACT. What can we take from this? NO MATTER WHAT THEY SAY TO US, CALL US OT DO TO US IN LIFE, THEY WILL NEVER BE ABLE TO CHANGE WHAT WE ARE…CHILDREN OF GOD. << Your character has to show this throughout!!
FAVOUR OF GOD and FAITH
FAVOUR IS PRESENT (Daniel 1:9). The favour of God is so important, its one of the crucial accolades of being a Christian.
- ‘Favour is receiving what you don’t deserve, or did not work for, and
- Mercy, is God withholding what you do deserve (e.g. punishment).
Look at Mary mother of Jesus…there were masses of other virgins, but God chose her, she was blessed and highly favoured amongst women. They put their faith in action and God came through for them. This was just the beginning yo! (Daniel 1:11-16)
EXAM SEASON, EXAM SCRIPTURE. RESULTS SEASON, RESULTS SCRIPTURE!
TO CONCLUDE: Your faithfulness towards God, your allegiance to Him even when it seems risky does not go unrewarded, or unnoticed. He will always make a way. Do not fall into the trap of Galatians 2, whereby you act a certain way amongst one group of people and the differently with others…this is mostly the case when people have ‘Christian\church friends’ and ‘non-Christian/church friends’. Let your behaviour be consistent around both crowds, just like in 1 Peter 3:1-2 where wives are to win their husbands over by their behaviour!
TIME FOR YOUR INPUT! WHAT EVERYONE ELSE THOUGHT ABOUT CHAPTER ONE:
This is the 1st challenge i will be taking part in and excitement isn’t even the word. Cant wait to be a part of all the insights from yourself and everyone else involved. After reading chapter 1: i could summarise it one sentence :
‘ man’s riches are like filthy rags in God’s eyes’
Verses 11-13 were particularly instructive. When Daniel appealed to the steward to serve them vegetables and water.. Daniel had CONVICTION. He knew the God he served could make everything out of nothing. He also had CONFIDENCE which i believe was only achieved through the solid relationship he had with his maker. He was almost in essence saying to the steward ‘i dare you to test my God’ and see if he woun’t prove himself. And of course he Did as confirmed in verses 17-19.
The ‘vegetables and water’ that Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah were fed could symbolise the seed.
When we go out or even just send a word to others by any means whatsoever.. We have sown a seed. God then maximised and nurtured this ‘seed’ by making what seemed like just vegetables and water.. Become the most nutritious balanced diet ever! The bible says there was NO MATCH for the four of them. Therefore when we sow a seed.. We should just trust God to complete his work. He WILL finish what he has started and his name will not be put to shame.
What could seem so trivial and minor in the eyes of men is ALL God needs to prove himself. HE proved his children did not need the KING’s diet to be 10 times better than the whole kingdom put together. Glory! – Tayo, @Tayo_oo
Key trait to pick from Daniel’s Character:
1) He was a Leader.
A Leader is one that can walk into an environment and change the perceptions of others.
He chose not to defile himself by not eating and drinking the food and wine given to them by the King. He requested if he and his friends could eat vegetables and drink water for 10 days. At the end of the ten days, Daniel and his three friends looked healthier and better nourished than the young men who had been eating the food assigned by the king. (Daniel 1:15 NLT)
Daniel changed the perception of the attendant and those around him. He dared to be different…and it paid off!
Dare to be different! Don’t just accept what is given to you. Do not teach yourself to suit in amongst others….rather create your environment to suit you. – Joel
To summarise, i think the chapter highlights the benefits of not giving into conformity and the importance of being consecrated for God’s work (: – Chimdi
Daniel 1:2 –A few things stood out to me here. The first is that God was the one who is credited with giving over the Israelites to the Babylonians. It wasn’t because the Israelites army was too weak against the Babylonians or Babylonians had a lucky day, it was God. This shows us that God is in charge of all things even the good and the bad. It doesn’t mean God causes evil and sin but rather he uses it for his purposes as we’ll see later on in the book.
Daniel 1:3-4 –What I find interesting here is that the King of Babylon thought that he had hit the jackpot with the Israelites and he’s found youth that would be useful to him to strengthen the Babylonian Empire but, as we the readers should be able to see, HE is the one being used by God through Daniel to strengthen God’s kingdom. Namely, the believers who read this book. It also shows us that God preserves his people no matter where they are. That the noble of Israel were called to fellowship and live amongst the noble of Babylon as opposed to being used as slaves for instance shows that God looks out for his people.
Daniel 1:5-7- We saw that God is actually looking out for their good by placing them with the king 3-4. We see it again here in that they are receiving a royal education and a royal diet. They were so much adopted into the royal circle of Babylon that they were given Babylonians names.
Daniel 1:8-9 –Daniel resolved to honour God by not partaking of the king’s grob. Firstly that shows us who he recognised as the true king. That even when in captivity he realised that God is King of Kings. This shows Daniel’s conviction that God is sovereign. As Christians in this fallen world we’re gonna be faced with many situations where our conviction of the sovereignty of God is tested and whenever we go against the word of God, we declare that sin is the master of our world and not God.
I love how even though it was Daniel who made the request, scripture made it clear that is was God who made it happen ultimately. It wasn’t Daniel’s clever persuasive words and neither was it the kindness of the eunuch, it was the power of God. As well as showing us that the hearts of men are in the hands of God to alter them as he pleases, this shows us that God is the one who blesses all that we do to honour him. We should always seek his blessing in all that we do for his glory.
Daniel 1:10-16- Effectively, what’s happening here is Daniel pitting the King of Kings against the king of Babylon. The eunuch is afraid of what his king would do but Daniel is saying implicitly, “you need to consider what God can do as greater that what your king can do”. We see that God is game for the challenge, to prove His power to the eunuch as He seeks to bless Daniel’s endeavour to honour him, because He causes the eunuch to listen to Daniel. God also shows that he is more powerful than the king of Babylon. The king of Babylon’s reach was only natural is bringing death to people but God’s power is supernatural in defying the logic of nature concerning the diet of Daniel and his mandem. It’s like gaining a 1kg every time you force yourself to throw up your food. No mortal king can boast of such power.
Daniel 1:17-21 –I love how Daniel highlights that God was the one you blessed them with wisdom and knowledge showing again that all things that come to us are ordained by God and I love how often God is credited and mentioned in this story so far. God’s continual mentioning would seemingly contrast how a lot of Israelites would’ve felt during this time of exile, possibly including Daniel and his mandem. However, this works to prove that what Jesus said at the end of the gospels was always true about God and his people. Namely that he will never leave nor forsake them.
God causes Daniel and his mandem to excel above all the others to demonstrate the superiority of God’s wisdom and knowledge over that of men. He also causes Daniel and his mandem to become the one’s the king listened to when he made decisions concerning the ruling of his kingdom to demonstrate ironically that even though the king of Babylon conquered God’s kingdom of Israel, it was God who ended up being the ruler of Babylon through the influence of Daniel and his mandem over the king of Babylon. – @iMannydotcom
Hey Kay just a few points I would like to add a point about chapter 1 that my Pastor made yesterday (Apostle ATB Williams) quote him not me. It focuses on verse 4
“But Daniel ‘PURPOSED’ in his heart that he would not DEFILE himself with the portion of the king’s delicacies nor with the wine which he drank,therefore he requested of the chief eunuchs that he might not defile himself”
The verse above summarises the whole of our christian walk,Daniel in the present symbolises you,I and every born again,while the portion of the king’s food e.g(fufu and pizza) symbolises the wordly attractions that tempt us daily. Looking at that verse,we see Danny in a state we mostly find ourselves today,but with his Determination,faith,sensitivity to the will of God and willingness to obey saw him through,As a Christian you must be willing to obey your Master (Jesus).Knowing the right to do is something,doing it is another,that is why we need the holy spirit and constant fellowship (reading the word) ‘Joshua 1:8’
Daniel had self control and was able to control his appetite for the sumptuous delicacy placed before him,many fall short of the above virtue,which is basically one fruit we can’t afford to lack in our spiritual diet.
Another important thing Danny did was the COURAGE to speak out,so many of us are even afraid to identify with Christ,not to talk of letting the world know about him ,Daniel wasn’t and therefore made his intents known he didn’t behave like the modern day christian who screams ‘Oh well it is what it is’ or God Understands,naaah mate never justify your disobedience with those phrases! Daniel was set to let the world know what he stood for,how many of us even know where we stand? ,May the lord bless the reading of his word, amen x – @eunicekainene
I love this chapter because I think its a lovely reminder/ encouragement to stand firm for Christ. What our culture may propose as being acceptable is not always acceptable in God’s sight. We must be careful to measure things according to His word rather than society’s standards. It was expected that Daniel would be weaker or look worse by not compromising (eating the king’s meat & wine). Isn’t that how Christians are often viewed today? Christians are perceived to be weaker by not partaking in the fickle pleasures of life, usually seen as missing out on ‘living life’. Be encouraged, true life and joy is only found in Christ. No matter how things look on the outside; it may seem like others are prevailing or ‘enjoying’ and you’re failing but in due time, you’ll find that only God can sustain and strengthen to the highest standard. Daniel ‘purposed’ in his heart that he would not defile himself with the king’s meat. He was far away from home but still held firm to what he knew was right. How often do we make compromises as Christians because everybody else is doing it? or because we think nobody will know about it. We all need to be like Daniel, Shadrack, Meshack, Abednego and others who have taken a stand for their faith. Dare to stand for Christ!
I also thought that these scriptures could be a sign to eat healthy. Not saying eating meat is bad, but everything should be done in moderation. Lol add some vegetables in the mix 😀 – Elizabeth Fashola
God allowed Judah to be taken as captives, either to prove himself or for a greater purpose. this purpose could have been solely to test Daniel & co, to see if they were worthy of the favour he wanted t give them. it could also have been because he had decided to punish Israel for their sins. Daniel exercised a huge amount of self control when he decided not to indulge in the food provided by the king. He protected himself and in effect his friends from gluttony and greed by denying himself what seemed appealing at the time. In order to reap favour from God, we as Christians must learn to sacrifice certain comforts and work in faith because we know that God has bigger plans for us. – Ike Fabiyi, @ikefabiyi
Daniel 1:8 “But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the kings delicacies…..”
This verse reminds me of a teaching I listened to on creating guardrails for yourself. In moments / places of transition is the time where culture would encourage you to change your behaviour to “fit in”. Daniel was taken to a new place and given a new name but he purposed in his heart not to eat the kings food , this was a personal guardrail for David as he decided not to bend to the culture and the lifestyle others were living around him. As Christians its important to set personal guardrails / standards of behaviour for yourself so that you won’t enter the “danger zone” and do something that you will regret later. – Priscilla Quarcoo
The ten day challenge (my understanding) Daniel 1 vs 12 -17 explains how Daniel and his friends had the vegetables and water and the other chosen men had the food that the King had. and in ten days daniel land his friends had taken more flesh and looked well in appearance compared to the others men that had the food that the King had. This shows that no matter how hard it might be to fit in society, school, uni or work place we must stay true to our religion. I always get the "when you go to uni you will change" phrase from people, this is evidence that no matter what change of situation, place or circumstances we should never give in to things that make us compromise our faith. God has been with you the whole time and a change or place, situation or circumstance will not change the fact the God will always be you as long as you keep your faith. Us Christians seem to think that some actions that were not acceptable before we went to uni become acceptable when we do. This example that Daniel sets for us shows us that the phrase "when in Rome do what the Romans do" is invalid in a Child of God instead we should have the attitude that Daniel had , that no matter where we are "we should do the will of God". Verse 18-21 talks about the rewards. We are rewarded for our faithfulness and trust in God as shown in theseverse. Proverbs 3 vs 5-7 "do not lean on your own understanding but in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make straight your paths. be not wise in your own eyes fear the Lord and turn away for evil" God will reward you with wisdom and understanding that come from Him and that is compared to non, therefore we should learn to put our faith and trust in Him for he knows what better for us in any situation. He will not put you through anything you cant get out of. - @tiinasama
6. God is Sovereign- I was thinking to myself about the fact that if Daniel was my friend- I would have said ” Leave this Palace, its ungodly, how can you be promoted in a place like that and feel comfortable” simply because I would be expecting Gods plan to be exactly what I THINK God would want. However, this book reminds me that God does not operate in the way that WE DO and does not think in the way I do. Additionally, His plans do not work the way I think they should or the way I think makes sense. God’s reasoning is not mine and God had sent Daniel to a place of Darkness to be the light and that is truthfully what matters. – Jennifer (Women’s encouragement group founder)
God really favoured these men! Because they held God in high reverence, God really lifted them up higher than any of the other people.
Th new environment or surrounding didn’t affect his stand for God. He made a decision in his heart he wasn’t going to join the world to sin. I doubt many of us in these times would be willing to dismiss such opportunity of being treated in a royal way like that.
Makes me realise I should always take my stand for God, no matter what happens or no matter what people have to say about it. Their opinions shouldn’t matter to me. He would lift us up higher and higher as we continue to take our stand for Him! – @Ledo_AN