DANIEL: Welcome to his world (Daniel 1 v 1-2)
Most people know something about Daniel—usually to do with the lions den! But there’s much more to this wonderful book than a single story.
So as we start this series it’s well worth looking at some background to the book.
Read 2 Kings 23:36
Judah (which was what was left of the original nation of Israel) came under the thumb of the superpower Babylon.
• What kind of a king was Jehoiakim (v 37)?
Jehoiakim rebelled and that led to Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, coming to get rid of him.
• What explanation is given for the events in these verses?
Read Daniel 1:1
• What explanation is given for the defeat of Jerusalem?
• What did Nebuchadnezzar take to Babylon?
• Why is this significant?
Nebuchadnezzar removed the current king, lots of the Jewish nobility (v 3) and items from the temple which he put in the temple of his own god. This was basically a way of saying, “My god is bigger than yours!” Later on the whole city of
Jerusalem, including the temple, would be destroyed, and a puppet king installed.
• How do you think people like Daniel felt as all this happened?
This was the end of God’s people living in God’s land with God as their king. This looked like the end of all that had been promised to Abraham (people living in the land under God’s blessing). This was disaster.
• From what you’ve read in these two passages, can you sum up why the exile happened?
The exile came as God’s punishment for his people’s ongoing rebellion against him. That’s why there’s that crucial phrase in Daniel 1 v 2: “the LORD delivered Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand”. God was behind this defeat and this exile. God was kicking his people out of his land.
This is sombre note on which to start a Bible book—but don’t worry, it gets more encouraging!
• How do you feel knowing that God is a God of punishment?
• Why is it good news that God is a God who punishes evil, even among His own people?
• What are the implications for how we act towards God?
This devotional is taken from Explore—a daily Bible-reading devotional from the good book company which enables you to engage with Scripture and which will encourage, equip and inspire you to live for Christ. Explore features contributions from pastors such as Dr Timothy Keller, Mike McKinley and Tim Chester.
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