Rev. Ronald C. Purkey, an ordained Baptist minister, claims no originality for this Bible study outline.
However, every Bible study posted on this website has been taught by Rev. Purkey.
To see more Bible study outlines go to page two: More Bible Study Outlines.
BACKGROUND: During the third year of King Jehoiakim’s reign in Judah, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. The Lord gave him victory over King Jehoiakim of Judah and permitted him to take some of the sacred objects from the Temple of God. So Nebuchadnezzar took them back to the land of Babylonia and placed them in the treasure-house of his god.
Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, his chief of staff, to bring to the palace some of the young men of Judah’s royal family and other noble families, who had been brought to Babylon as captives. “Select only strong, healthy, and good-looking young men,” he said. “Make sure they are well versed in every branch of learning, are gifted with knowledge and good judgment, and are suited to serve in the royal palace. Train these young men in the language and literature of Babylon.” The king assigned them a daily ration of food and wine from his own kitchens. They were to be trained for three years, and then they would enter the royal service.
Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were four of the young men chosen, all from the tribe of Judah. The chief of staff renamed them with these Babylonian names:
· Daniel was called Belteshazzar.
· Hananiah was called Shadrach.
· Mishael was called Meshach.
· Azariah was called Abednego. (see Daniel 1:1-7).
The WORLD always wants the best (Daniel 1:3-4), but these young men determined to give their best to their LORD (the God of the Bible). It’s possible to serve the Lord even in a place like Babylon. Think of Esther in Persia and Joseph in Egypt. Do not complain about the place where the Lord puts you. Ask God to USE YOU while you are there.
· Imagine four Hebrew boys, teenagers, being snatched from their beautiful homes in Jerusalem and taken to faraway Babylon.
Since all of them were princes, belonging to the royal family, they were probably not accustomed to this kind of treatment. It is too bad when the youth of the land must suffer because of the sins of the parents. The Jews had refused to repent and obey the Lord, so (as Jeremiah had warned) the Babylonian army came in 606-586 B.C. and conquered the land.
· It was their custom to take the best of the young people to Babylon for training in their king’s court.
· But a difficult trial lay ahead of them because the king of Babylon wanted to force them to conform to the ways of heathen Babylon.
The king was not interested in just putting good Jews to work; he wanted these Jews TO BE Babylonians! Christians today face the same trial: Satan wants us to become “conformed to this world” (Romans 12:1-2). It is sad to say, but too many Christians give in to the world and lose their power, their joy, and their testimony.
I. DANIEL OFFERS A TEST. (Daniel 1:8-16)
A. Be determined to do right. (Daniel 1:8)
(Daniel 1:8) 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.
The Babylonians could change Daniel’s home, textbooks, menu, and name, but they could not change his heart. He and his friends purposed in their hearts that they would obey God’s Word; they refused to become conformed to the world.
INSIGHT: Of course, they could have made excuses and “gone along with” the crowd. They might have said, “Everybody’s doing it!” or “We had better obey the king!” or “We’ll obey on the outside but keep our faith privately.”
B. Be accountable to authority. (Daniel 1:9-14)
1. God was in control.
(Daniel 1:9) Now God had brought Daniel into favour and tender love with the prince of the eunuchs.
Daniel and his
friends did not compromise. They dared to believe God’s Word and trust God for
victory. They had surrendered their bodies and minds to the Lord, as
2. God had a plan.
(Daniel 1:10) And the prince of the eunuchs said unto Daniel, I fear my lord the king, who hath appointed your meat and your drink: for why should he see your faces worse liking than the children which are of your sort? then shall ye make me endanger my head to the king.
The servant was afraid to change the king’s orders, lest anything happen to the young people and to himself, so Daniel’s (by God’s leading) proposed test was a good solution to the problem. Of course, God honored their faith. The boys were fed vegetables (pulse) and water for ten days, thus avoiding the defiled food of the Babylonians. At the end of the test, the four young men were healthier and more handsome than the other students who ate from the king’s table.
3. Daniel presented God’s plan.
(Daniel 1:11-13) 11 Then said Daniel to Melzar, whom the prince of the eunuchs had set over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, 12 Prove thy servants, I beseech thee, ten days; and let them give us pulse to eat, and water to drink. 13 Then let our countenances be looked upon before thee, and the countenance of the children that eat of the portion of the king's meat: and as thou seest, deal with thy servants.
Daniel asked for a ten-day test, which was not very long considering that they had three years of training ahead of them.
4. God’s plan was accepted.
(Daniel 1:14) So he consented to them in this matter, and proved them ten days.
The head servant agreed with the plan. “When a man’s ways please the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him” (Proverbs 16:7). (See also Matthew 6:33 and Proverbs 22:1.)
C. Be committed to the Lord. (Daniel 1:15-16)
(Daniel 1:15-16) 15 And at the end of ten days their countenances appeared fairer and fatter in flesh than all the children which did eat the portion of the king's meat. 16 Thus Melzar took away the portion of their meat, and the wine that they should drink; and gave them pulse.
It takes faith and obedience to overcome the temptations and pressures of the world. First Corinthians 10:13 had not yet been written, but Daniel and his three friends knew its truth by experience. Note how polite and kind Daniel was to the Babylonian servant; he did not “parade” his religion or embarrass the man. This is a good example for us to follow: we may hold to our convictions without becoming cranks!
II. WISDOM FROM GOD. (Daniel 1:17-21)
A. God’s hand of blessing was upon them. (Daniel 1:17)
(Daniel 1:17) As for these four children, God gave them knowledge and skill in all learning and wisdom: and Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams.
Just as God blessed Solomon, God is blessing these Hebrew children who were in a foreign court. Daniel will eventually become prime minister to two great world empires.
“Daniel had understanding in all visions and dreams.” Daniel was still in the time of revelation, the time in which God used dreams and visions. Now don’t you say that God has spoken to you in a dream, because I must contradict you. I do not think that God is speaking to us that way -- He speaks to us today in His Word (the Bible).
INSIGHT: For a great many people it is easier to dream about the Word than it is to study it. I read about some students in a Bible college who would very piously pray the night before an exam. They didn’t study much, but they were very pious about it all. (One student stuck his Bible under his pillow the night before an examination!) Someone asked him, “Do you really think the names of the kings of Israel and Judah will come up through the duck feathers and get into your brain?” The Holy Spirit is NOT a help and a crutch for a lazy person. You are going to have to study the Word of God. God speaks to us through His written Word today!
B. The Four Hebrew children had to pass a test. (Daniel 1:18)
(Daniel 1:18) Now at the end of the days that the king had said he should bring them in, then the prince of the eunuchs brought them in before Nebuchadnezzar.
Nebuchadnezzar is going to look at the training which was given to them to see if it has been the proper training. Nebuchadnezzar really knew how to do it. He gave them a lot of food, he tested them, and finally he placed them in a fine position. He did all this in a friendly way. This was his philosophy, his way of making friends and influencing people.
C. Nebuchadnezzar was impressed with the four Hebrews children. (Daniel 1:19)
(Daniel 1:19) And the king communed with them; and among them all was found none like Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: therefore stood they before the king.
Nebuchadnezzar talked with those four boys and found they were geniuses, and so he gave them good positions in his kingdom.
D. The four Hebrews were everything king Nebuchadnezzar wanted. (Daniel 1:20)
(Daniel 1:20) And in all matters of wisdom and understanding, that the king inquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm.
Daniel and his friends are moved to the head of the class.
E. Daniel faithfully served the Lord for many years in Babylon. (Daniel 1:21)
(Daniel 1:21) And Daniel continued even unto the first year of king Cyrus.
With Daniel 1:1 and this verse (Daniel 1:21) we can learn Daniel’s life span. Coming to Babylon at about the age of seventeen, he died when he was about ninety years of age. He bridged the entire seventy years of captivity. Daniel did not return to Israel but apparently died before Jewish people left Babylon. We actually have no record about that.
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. (Daniel 1:8)
Looking out the window of an airplane, you can see the winding paths of rivers below. Except for some man-made waterways, all rivers have one thing in common—they all are crooked. The reason is simple -- they follow the path of least resistance. Rivers find their way around anything that blocks their flow because they take the easy way.
The same can be said for some people. Because they fail to resist the devil, they yield to temptation and deviate from the path God would have them follow. Unlike Daniel, who "purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself" (Daniel 1:8), they bend to worldly pressures and compromise what they know is right.
followers of Christ, John said that we can be victorious in our struggle
against evil, because "He who is in you is greater than he who is in the
We won't become "crooked" if we refuse to follow the path of least resistance.
– Adapted from Richard De Haan, Our Daily Bread, December 5, 2002
· The world wants to change us and make us a “conformer.”
The Lord God can help us become a “transformer” (Romans 12:1–2). Daniel and his friends had a new home, strange new names, new teachings, and were even offered a new diet; but they kept the same heart’s dedication to the Lord (Proverbs 4:23).
· God can give us favor in difficult places (Daniel 1:9).
Daniel was courteous to his guards and did not create problems for them. He was following the counsel of Jeremiah (Jeremiah 29) and the example of Joseph (Genesis 39:4).
· When everything in our life is upset and we find ourselves in new circumstances that we cannot control, let the Lord take over and work out the plan He has in mind.
Daniel faced a dilemma in King Nebuchadnezzar’s count. Although he was commanded to eat food forbidden under the Mosaic Law, Daniel found a way to remain obedient to the Lord. If our heart is right with God, His hand will work for us.
THOUGHT TO REMEMBER: “Never abandon your commitment to God in order to “get along” in the world.”
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REFERENCES: References used in these Bible studies are the King James Bible (KJV), The Moody Bible Commentary, Dr. J. Vernon McGee © Thru the Bible Radio Network ( www.ttb.org ), the Scofield Study Bible, the Believer’s Bible Commentary, Dr. Charles J. Woodbridge Bible Outlines, Dr. Lee Roberson’s Sermons, Dr. Charles Stanley: ( http://www.intouch.org/ ), Don Robinson’s Bible Outlines, Women’s Study Bible, The Bible Reader’s Companion Ed. 3, The Nelson Study Bible: New King James Version, KJV Bible Commentary, Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines of the New Testament ed. 4, Dr. David Jeremiah: ( http://www.davidjeremiah.org/site/ ), Dr. Cliff Robinson’s Bible Outlines, Wiersbe’s Expository Outlines of the Old Testament, Dr. Alan Carr’s The Sermon Notebook ( www.sermonnotebook.org ), With the Word Bible Commentary, Wiersbe’s “Be” Series: Old & New Testaments, RBC Ministries ( http://rbc.org/ ), selected illustrations, and other references.
REV. RONALD PURKEY’S OFFICE
E-mail: Ronald Purkey