Summary: Introduction to the book of Daniel with its historical setting and an application lesson from chapter one on the four Hebrew captives and their diet.
“A Diet for Success”
Text: Daniel 1:1-7
I’m currently reading a new guide or little commentary on the book of Daniel by Michael Whitworth entitled The Derision of Heaven. And we have a copy in the church library if you’re interested. But it struck me how relevant the account of Daniel and his friends is for Christians today. Regrettably, we have relegated the accounts of Daniel and his three friends to chiIdren’s classes while adults have little interest except in trying to decipher the apocalyptic passages of this great book. But I know of no better guidebook for people of faith living in a hostile environment. I know I still have at least three more lessons from our series on Mountain Top Experiences but I want to begin one from Daniel starting with “A Diet for Success.” We’re going to focus on the first chapter of this marvelous book this morning but we’ll start with a little history lesson to put this lesson in perspective. As always, we pray that you’ll open your Bibles as we study together for a few minutes but, more importantly, we hope you’ll search the scriptures daily like the Bereans in Acts 17:11 to make sure I’ve preached the truth from God’s word.
Our reading indicated that there were four young Hebrew men in Babylonian captivity – a captivity foretold for the southern kingdom of Judah by both Isaiah and Jeremiah. So let’s cover the events leading up to their capture. I know this is a very busy timeline but hopefully it will help us visualize some history. First of all, in the upper left-hand corner is 722 B.C. marking the fall of the northern kingdom of Israel with the capture of the capital city of Samaria by the Assyrians. Underneath this event, we see the reign of Hezekiah in Judah from 715-686 B.C. I wish we had more time to discuss this next event but the Assyrian king Sennacherib besieged Jerusalem and King Hezekiah in 701 B.C. Yet the LORD miraculously delivered Judah out of the hands of the Assyrians by destroying their army during the night and Sennacherib returned home to Nineveh. At the time, Hezekiah was deathly sick but the LORD agreed to extend his life by 15 years. In the meantime, the king of Babylon heard of Hezekiah’s illness and sent letters and a present by his envoys. I want us to pick up what happened in 2 Kings 20:13-18 – And Hezekiah was attentive to them, and showed them all the house of his treasures – the silver and gold, the spices and precious ointment, and all his armory – all that was found among his treasures. There was nothing in his house or in all his dominion that Hezekiah did not show them.
Then Isaiah the prophet went to King Hezekiah, and said to him, “What did these men say, and from where did they come to you?”
So Hezekiah said, “They came from a far country, from Babylon.”
And he said, “What have they seen in your house?”