Introduction: Has your life been radically changed at some point? How
did you react to that? Last year my car was totaled in a multiple car
accident. A driver who was not paying attention rammed me, and the
impact caused a chain reaction with other cars. Thank God, I walked
away from the wreckage. The accident could have come out differently
and changed the rest of my life. Our study this week is about a life-changing event. Let’s plunge into our study of the Bible!

  1. Disobedience

    1. Read Daniel 1:1-2. What is the most important purpose of
      the city of Jerusalem? (It is the center of worship of the
      true God. In it is the temple of God which was prepared by
      King David and built by King Solomon. It contained
      precious worship vessels going back to the Exodus from

      1. How would you feel if you were a follower of the true

      2. Who is responsible for this disaster? (Verse two
        tells us that God “delivered” this situation.)

    2. Read Jeremiah 25:6-9. Why did God make this decision? (His
      people worshiped other gods. They refused to listen to Him
      when He told them exactly what would happen to them.)

  2. Regret

    1. Read Daniel 1:3-4. What kind of young men were these? (The
      most talented. Those whose future was bright. They were
      from the nobility, the highest rank of society.)

      1. Imagine you were one of these young men. Think of all
        of the fun places you liked to go in Jerusalem. All
        of the great family events and traditions. All of
        your favorite restaurants and sports activities. All
        of your hopes and dreams for the future. How would
        you feel now that they are all gone and you face a
        future as a slave to the King of Babylon? (It could
        be worse. They are selected to compete for very
        special service.)

    2. Read Daniel 1:5-7. What problems do you see in these
      verses for Daniel and his friends? (Hebrews had special
      dietary restrictions. This food was likely offered to
      idols. A name change meant new loyalties.)

      1. Let’s assume that your nation is taken over by
        another nation that you hate. How would you like your
        name changed to reflect the new nation that has
        enslaved you?

    3. Let’s focus on Daniel 1:7 and consider the name changes in
      more detail. Tell me whether you would resist being called
      by these new names:

      1. Daniel “God my Judge,” changed to Belteshazzar “Bel’s
        Prince.” Bel being the chief Babylonian god.

      2. Hananiah “whom Jehovah has favored,” changed to
        Shadrach “illuminated by the Sun-god.”

      3. Mishael “who is comparable to God,” changed to
        Meshack “Humbled before my god.”

      4. Azariah “Jehovah has helped,” changed to Abednego
        “Servant of Nebo.” Nebo was the son of Bel.

      5. What do you think is the purpose of these name

  3. Challenge

    1. Read Daniel 1:8. Recall that we earlier speculated on the
      potential problems involved with eating the royal food.
      What problem does Daniel see? (He says it will “defile”
      them. They would be concerned about eating unclean meat
      (Leviticus 11), improperly prepared meat ( Leviticus 17:10-14), and food and drink offered to pagan gods (Exodus

      1. Should this have been a big issue? Doesn’t Jesus say
        ( Matthew 15:11)that what comes out of a person’s
        mouth defiles him, not what goes in? (Read Ezekiel
        4:13. God predicted that part of His judgment against
        His people would be that as exiles they would eat
        defiled food. Daniel believed this was a test of his
        loyalty to God.)

    2. Read Daniel 1:9-10. What is the concern of the official
      who is in charge of providing Daniel and his friends with
      food? (He is not concerned about the religious issue that
      troubles Daniel, he is concerned about losing his head if
      Daniel and his friends seem to be in ill health.)

    3. Read Daniel 1:11-13. Consider how Daniel meets this
      concern. He does not argue the conscience issue: that
      eating the meat would violate their religious beliefs.
      Instead, he addresses the concern of the official by
      arranging a test. Assume you face a challenge to your
      religious beliefs at work. What practical lesson do we
      learn from Daniel? (Daniel is not demanding or offensive.
      Instead, he proposes testing a potential solution that
      will not harm the goal of the official. In business, you
      should mention your religious beliefs, but you should also
      propose a practical solution.)

    4. Read Daniel 1:14-16. Does this demonstrate the advantage
      of being a vegetarian? (I’ve been a vegetarian for 57
      years. If ten days makes such a difference, I should be
      superman now! I vote that this involved divine

    5. Read Daniel 1:17. Remember that Daniel and his friends
      were not the only elite members of the Hebrew society that
      were taken into captivity. What lesson does this teach us?
      (God rewards us for being faithful.)

    6. Read Daniel 10:2-3. What does this tell us about Daniel’s
      dietary practice later in life? (He eats “choice food,”
      “meat,” and he drinks “wine.” If you read the entire
      chapter (especially Daniel 10:11) you will see that Daniel
      still enjoys God’s favor.)

      1. How does this clarify what we have been discussing?
        (If it is not the food that is at issue, it must be
        the way it is prepared and the offering to pagan
        gods. This makes clear that God is performing a
        miracle in the lives of these four young men because
        of their faithfulness in serving Him. God is
        specifically intervening in their lives.)

    7. Read Daniel 1:18. How do you think this official feels now
      about his cooperation with Daniel on his dietary request?
      (God’s blessings on Daniel turn out to be a blessing to
      this official as well.)

  4. Final Entrance Exam

    1. Read Daniel 1:19. What is the lesson in this for those who
      want to succeed in their career?

      1. How is God turning the tragedy of Daniel’s life into
        something positive?

    2. Read Daniel 1:20. How important is it that Daniel and his
      friends surpassed all of the Babylonian wise men?

      1. Consider the big picture. God’s nation has been
        defeated by pagan Babylon. God’s temple has been
        looted and destroyed. Why is it that God helps Daniel
        and his friends in the relatively small matter of
        this final entrance examination for the king’s
        service? (God is looking for heroes. He is looking
        for those who are faithful in what may appear to be
        small things. God will show that His way is best by
        blessing those who are faithful.)

    3. Read Daniel 1:21. What does this short statement tell us
      about Daniel’s career in Babylon? (He stayed at the center
      of power until the nation fell. Although Daniel would
      continue to live among pagans, I suspect that Babylon was
      a very interesting and beautiful place to be.)

    4. Friend, would you like to be blessed by God? Would you
      like to be ten times better than your competitors? Why
      not, through the power of the Holy Spirit, determine right
      now to be faithful to God in all things?

  5. Next week: From Mystery to Revelation.