Summary: Vision and purpose will help us stand in these evil days.
A Clear Vision In A Confused World
8 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.
In the year 605 BC, a young crown prince of the Babylonian Empire became commander and chief of the armies of Babylon.
· In the spring of that year he marched his armies through Egypt and Assyria conquering everyone and everything that crossed his path.
· He continued marching those armies through Syria and Palestine claiming victory after victory.
· By the year 597 BC he had moved into Judah and then Jerusalem.
On March 16th 597 BC, this crown prince, now King of Babylon, accepted the total surrender of King Jehoiachin, King of Judah and Jerusalem.
This King would go on to reign over the most powerful empire in the world for the next forty three years...his name, Nebuchadnezzar.
During his reign, Nebuchadnezzar helped build the city of Babylon into the most formidable fortress city the world had ever known.
· Babylon was a rectangular shaped city rising impressively above the desert in the land we now know as Iraq.
· The mighty Euphrates river flowed from north to south right through the center of the city.
· The city was surrounded by fifty miles of double walls.
o The inner wall was twenty one feet thick and three hundred feet tall.
o The outer wall was eleven feet thick and three hundred feet tall.
o Both of these walls were reinforced by 420 foot tall towers that were spaced at 60 foot intervals around the entire circumference of the city.
o The waters of the Euphrates were diverted to form a moat around these mighty walls.
The city had eight gates. All of them were very impressive, but the most notable was the Ishtar gate.
· This gate was not made of stone as the others, but beautiful lazuli blue tile.
· Ishtar gate was the most notable because it accessed the two citadels of the city and also an enormous palace.
· Just beyond the Ishtar gate was one of the seven wonders of the world;
o The Hanging Gardens of Babylon.
o Nebuchadnezzar built this garden for his homesick queen.
o You would not expect to find a beautiful forest covered mountain in the middle of a fortress city, but there it was just beyond Ishtar gate.
· In the center of the city was a beautiful bridge supported by brick pillars linking the old part of the city to the new.
· Towering over this bridge was a massive thirty story building called the ziggurat.
· At the top of the ziggurat was a temple devoted to one of their many notable gods, Marduk.
In that era of time, there was no city on earth as impressive or spectacular as the city of Babylon.
What I find very interesting is...
· In the Ancient Akkadian language, Babylon means, "The Gateway of the gods."
· That would certainly be the impression one would have upon seeing this spectacular city.....the city of Babylon looked like a Gateway to the Heavens.
· Yet in the Hebrew language, Babylon means something entirely different....it means 'confused.' Remember that!
My message thought for tonight is, "A Clear Vision in a Confused World!"
I draw your attention back to the book of Daniel...
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.
It was the custom of King Nebuchadnezzar to take the finest things of every land he conquered and bring those things to his palace.
This included the finest children....the kings orders were to bring the finest of the royal children to his palace in Babylon.
· The scripture records the names of four of these children...Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah.
o These four boys were of royal blood.
o They were the strongest, healthiest, and the best looking young men in the kingdom of Judah.
o They were also very wise and knowledgeable for their years.
At the time, these Hebrew boys were young teenagers between 14 and 16 years of age.