Summary: God is in control of everything but allows people to make choices which lead to consequences.
God is in control of everything! How many of you believe this??
Many of us will say this because we believe in a big almighty God. If you’re going to pick a god, pick a good one! Pick a God who is in control and Almighty!
But someone can say, “I don’t believe in God, so that proves that God is not in control of everything!” Pretty strong argument isn’t it?
You see, this is when the Word of God is most helpful to us. We are starting a new series today. We will note from the Book of Daniel that God is in control. But we also will note that God allows people to choose. The statement we should be telling people is this: God is in control but allows people to make choices.
Please open your bibles to the Book of Daniel. But before reading Chapter 1, here’s some background information:
God chose a people, through Abraham, called Israel.
12 Tribes were established in Israel.
The Tribes divided into 2 Kingdoms (Israel and Judah)
The Babylonians captured Judah about 600 years B.C.
Read along with me Daniel Chapter 1…..
Along with God, let us look at the three main characters in this passage and let us ask 2 main questions: What did God do and how did the people respond?
What did God do for King Jehoiakim?
We read in v2 that God delivered Jehoiakim to the enemy! We need to pause here and also ask and try to answer the questions, “why would God do that to a king of His people? Why would God take someone who represents Him to be a prisoner of God’s enemy?”
According to v1, how long has Jehoiakim reigned??
Do you think God had given Jehoiakim opportunities to do the right things?
And why do you think God would allow the temple articles be taken by pagans??
Nebuchadnezzar treasured those temple items! Wasn’t it likely that Jehoiakim and the people of Israel treasured those articles as well rather than God Himself? God allowed those things to discipline His people!
The stories of the kings of Israel are actually written in 1st and 2nd Kings. Briefly turn with me to 2 Kings 23:36……. Jehoiakim was actually already king for 11 years and God already told His people that they will be judged because of their sins! God is in control but allows people to make choices!
How did Jehoiakim responded to what God was doing? Let’s turn briefly to Jeremiah 36; look at v23…… And can men destroy God’s Word just like that? Look at v32….
And what was the final result of Jehoiakim’s life? Look at Jeremiah 36:30….
God is in control but allows people to make choices which leads to consequences. This is the truth that we need to grasp and share with people!
Now, what about Daniel? What did God do for Daniel and how did he respond?
Look again at Daniel 1:5……
God allowed Daniel to be a slave! Why would God to that?? Stay tuned! We will learn a lot about God’s plan for Daniel and for the whole world as we study this book.
For now, let us answer the question, “How did Daniel respond to what God was doing in his life at that time?” The answer is in v8; Daniel resolved not to defile himself! In other words, Daniel chose not to compromise what God had said! But we also need to note how Daniel did it!
Three things to note about Daniel’s decision not to compromise:
1. Daniel knew God’s Word about being defiled with food and drink!
Daniel was a student of the Bible! After all, how can you make the right choices when you don’t know what the perfect God says?
And do you think Daniel prayed about it? We will note later that
2. Daniel was a man of prayer!
And did Daniel rebel so as not to compromise himself? Daniel asked for permission!
3. Daniel did not force his God on the situation but allowed God to work it out! Be careful of forcing God on anyone or forcing God to do something for you! God allows us to approach His throne and has a listening ear to our concerns but God will do whatever He wants to do!
And what was the result of Daniel’s response to God’s doing? God responded with another action!
Look again at v9……
God answered Daniel’s prayer and desire to obey God!
Let’s look at this third person, Ashpenaz, an official of King Nebuchadnezzar. What did God do to Ashpenaz? God caused Ashpenaz to show favor and sympathy on Daniel and his buddies. How did Ashpenaz respond? Ashpenaz initial response was fear and doubt! Did God have an answer to his fears and doubts? We read in v11-14, Ashpenaz was challenged to test God! And we note in v16 that Ashpenaz believed!