Sunday, August 31, 2014

Nebuchadnezzar's Dream of the Great Image: The Insight of Daniel (Part V)

"Therefore Daniel went in unto Arioch, whom the king had ordained to destroy the wise men of Babylon: he went and said thus unto him; Destroy not the wise men of Babylon: bring me in before the king, and I will shew unto the king the interpretation." (Daniel 2:24)

Daniel's boldness and confidence are rooted in the fact that he is acting upon the divine authority of God. His statements are not arrogant; yet, neither are they timid and fearful. In his faith and submission to the God of heaven, Daniel has found a peace and confidence which is known only through the ministry of the Holy Spirit. He was prepared to do battle with the powers at hand because he was living, yes, actually living in the fear of God. First of all he commands Arioch to cease his execution of the king's orders, and then he boldly declares his basis for such a countercommand, " bring me in before the king, and I will shew unto the king the interpretation." He was not afraid to be the spokesman, neither was he afraid to deliver the interpretation. Why? Because it was a message not of his own making; it was a message delivered by the dispensation of angels from the Source of all wisdom. The One who knows what is in the darkness. God's word gave Daniel confidence. Submission to God's will gave Daniel peace. Obedience and a proper response to the trial which God had allowed led to the gracious answer of Daniel's prayer. O the confidence and joy that must have been in the hearts of these young men as they beheld the God of their fathers work in their very midst!

God's people can glean some very important principles from these things. Confidence and the ability to do battle will never come apart from submission to the word of God. Lasting peace will not be consistently experienced by a believer who does not make God's truth a priority. Daniel and his friends were ready to do battle with the powers of darkness because they were immersed in God's truth. They made the fear of the Lord and the study of His Scriptures the main priority in their lives; therefore, when the confrontation came, they were ready. A Christian cannot expect to defend himself and others against spiritual attack if he is not immersed in the sword of God's word. He cannot expect to defend himself or his fellow believers from the hellish doctrine of false teachers if he is not allowing the Spirit of God to grow him through the study of the word. A believer who has time for everything except the Bible will be a believer who is constantly defeated. God's people must learn to grow beyond a surface understanding of His truth. They must allow the Holy Spirit to take them to the next level. Ignorance is dangerous. Paul warned the Hebrew believers of its crippling effects when he said, "For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil (Hebrews 5:12-14)." Submission to God's Spirit coupled with meditation in His written word will equip the believer to do battle with confidence and peace, but a neglect of these things will cause him to fail when he most needs to succeed.

May God's people learn that nothing rewards like the study of His word. May they learn to experience the peace of confidence which come through obedience to His commands. May they learn to say No to the flesh and Yes to the Spirit, so that when the battle arises, rather than fleeing in terror or being slain by the enemy, they may say with boldness and confidence in the divine of authority of God, "...bring me in before the king, and I will shew unto the king the interpretation."

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Nebuchadnezzar's Dream of the Great Image: The Insight of Daniel (Part IV)

"Daniel answered and said, Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever: for wisdom and might are his:" (Daniel 2:20)

In Daniel's thanksgiving prayer, he acknowledges the blessed nature of God's name. His name is to be feared and honored. It is never to be taken in vain (Exodus 20:7). The believer must be ever so cautious not to use God's name in a trite and flippant manner. As society becomes increasingly perverse and lax in its view of God's authority, the blasphemy of His blessed name becomes more and more common. A Christian must ever be on guard against allowing culture to dictate his use of God's blessed name.

As Daniel's prayer unfolds, certain attributes of God are set forth. First of all, He is the source of all true wisdom and strength. Apart from submission to God's written word, no one can expect to exercise wisdom that will be eternally beneficial. Neither can they expect to find spiritual strength for waging war against the powers of darkness.

"And he changeth the times and the seasons: he removeth kings, and setteth up kings: he giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding:" (Daniel 2:21)

Secondly, he guides the course of world events. Many great and powerful kings have ruled upon this earth, but not one of them did it apart from God's authorization. Regardless of how good or bad the king, God is the one who allows people to be established, and He is the one who brings their reign to an end. The arrogance of man consistently leads him to believe that he is free to do just as he pleases and that his ingenuity and charisma are what enable him to progress, but Scripture makes it clear that God is ultimately in control of the direction, progress and demise of every soul. As the text will soon declare, the king's dream involved the rise and fall of five world empires. Daniel's delight in the overall control of God is reflected by his statements in his prayer as he, a captive in Babylon, considers the fact that God is in complete control of all that comes into his life.

"He revealeth the deep and secret things: he knoweth what is in the darkness, and the light dwelleth with him." (Daniel 2:22)

Thirdly, nothing is hid from His sight. God is, at all times, completely aware of all that occurs with His creation. Every thought, motive, passion, desire, and deed are manifest before Him. No man can flee from Him, nor can any man escape his responsibility of being accountable to the one who gave him his soul. David expounded upon these truths when he penned Psalm 139:11-12, "If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee." If God's people would live more in the reality that God sees and knows all things, perhaps it would spur them to be more zealous of His holiness, and more fearful of exercising the selfish, prideful lusts of the flesh. Perhaps it would encourage them to waste less time on the frivolous and unimportant things, and to spend more time engaged in that which truly matters.

"I thank thee, and praise thee, O thou God of my fathers, who hast given me wisdom and might, and hast made known unto me now what we desired of thee: for thou hast now made known unto us the king's matter." (Daniel 2:23)

Daniel began by declaring that wisdom and might belong unto God, and he ends his prayer in gratitude of the fact that God had imparted to him these attributes.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Nebuchadnezzar's Dream of the Great Image: The Insight of Daniel (Part III)

"Then was the secret revealed unto Daniel in a night vision. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven." (Daniel 2:19)

Proverbs 8:17 says, "I love them that love me; and those that seek me early shall find me." Daniel sought God and His wisdom, and he was richly rewarded! God is not cruel and oppressive. He does not desire to be far off from His creation, and He most certainly does not taunt people. God allowed Daniel to face this trial for the fulfillment of His divine purposes, and when Daniel responded appropriately, he found God to be as gracious as He has ever been. When people are faced with an unfair and difficult situation, they will often become bitter at God. At the least, they certainly question Him and devalue His wisdom, and then wonder why He seems so far off. If they would simply turn to Him with all their heart in full submission they would soon find His comfort and purpose in the difficulties they face, as James puts it, "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you (James 4:7-8)."

Daniel's first priority is not to rush into the palace and answer the king's demands. His first priority is to thank the God of heaven, the one who is responsible for graciously providing His servant with the needed wisdom and grace for such a situation. May the believer never forget to make gratitude a priority, especially when receiving such a specific answer.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Nebuchadnezzar's Dream of the Great Image: The Insight of Daniel (Part II)

"Then Daniel went in, and desired of the king that he would give him time, and that he would shew the king the interpretation. Then Daniel went to his house, and made the thing known to Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, his companions: That they would desire mercies of the God of heaven concerning this secret; that Daniel and his fellows should not perish with the rest of the wise men of Babylon." (Daniel 2:16-18)

The king refused to give his counselors more time, but he granted the request of Daniel. The Babylonian wise men needed more time in order to avoid the dream; whereas, Daniel needed more time in order to expound the dream. Surely the king could see the amazement, fear, and deception in the faces of his counselors, but Daniel's countenance must have revealed something different. His request was not for the sake of trickery; it was for the sake of seeking; therefore, the king granted him the time for which he asked. The Holy Spirit shines through the countenance of the people who walk with Him. His confidence and peace are evident in the actions and attitudes of the person who serves Him. The believer who grieves Him through the pursuit of the flesh cannot hope to exude this same confidence and assurance that Daniel displayed before the king. A man cannot expect to please himself all day long and then be a light for God when faced with a spiritually challenging situation. The believer who suppresses the Spirit will not enjoy His peace and confidence.

Daniel's faith and steadiness are to be admired. After all, what did he have to lose? The decree was already underway. Fleeing was not an option; fighting was not an option; and the fear of man would only have driven Daniel and his friends away from God; therefore, he wholly casts himself upon the one who is able to perform all things.

The request for time had to be made immediately since the king was hasty to see his wise men destroyed; therefore, Daniel wisely dealt with that situation first; however, he then wasted no time in seeking the God of heaven for mercy. As is often seen in Scripture, God's man solicits the prayers of God's people. Daniel was humble enough to realize that he was not in all this by himself. He, as Paul often did, valued the ability of others to edify and help, especially in such a trial as this. A man should never be angered by another's walk with God. If he is, it bespeaks of his own carnal outlook. Moses said in Numbers 11:29, "...would God that all the LORD'S people were prophets, and that the LORD would put his spirit upon them!" Meekness clothed Moses' attitude and it is that which also adorned the spirit of Daniel.

The Lord allowed for Daniel and his three friends to be put into a position where they could do nothing but wholly seek His face. Such actions are not cruel; they are merciful. Human nature resists being backed into a corner by the powers of heaven; yet, if a man would view such events as an opportunity to wholly rely upon God, he would soon see the blessings of such submission. Every moment of Christ's earthly ministry was lived in full dependence upon the Father. Apart from the power of God, such a ministry could never have been accomplished. The result? The Father has "...set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And hath put all things under his feet... (Ephesians 1:20-22)." Rather than becoming angry and despondent at such trials, the believer needs to view them as a grand opportunity to reflect upon his own unworthiness in contrast to complete sufficiency and power of God.

Daniel's extreme trial did not drive him to bitterness; it drove him to prayer.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Nebuchadnezzar's Dream of the Great Image: The Insight of Daniel

"Then Daniel answered with counsel and wisdom to Arioch the captain of the king's guard, which was gone forth to slay the wise men of Babylon: He answered and said to Arioch the king's captain, Why is the decree so hasty from the king? Then Arioch made the thing known to Daniel." (Daniel 2:14-15)

In the face of a terrifying and unjust experience, Daniel retained the peace and wisdom of God. The word for wisdom could also be translated taste. Daniel respectfully approached Arioch and communicated to him with good taste and discretion. He did not run, nor did he begin to blame God for allowing these events; he simply inquired with counsel and good taste as to why these things were so. The same Spirit that kept Jesus calm in the middle of a stormy sea is the same Spirit which enabled Daniel to remain calm. In this type of situation, most people would have panicked, and immediately turned to their own ingenuity and resources, but not Daniel. He chose to fall back upon the peace and wisdom of God.

This type of reaction is a choice. It does not come through the nature of the flesh. The flesh's response to such an event would be one of fear and violence. The Spirit's response was one of faith and good sense. When a Christian finds himself faced with a hardship or terrifying experience, he must choose to approach such things in the power of the Holy Spirit. He must choose to rest in God's wisdom and allow God to decide the outcome. When Jesus' disciples expressed fear in the midst of a Galilean storm, Jesus calmed the sea and simply replied, "Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith (Mark 4:40)?" One must, by faith, choose to let the peace and wisdom of God's Spirit answer in the face of all adversity.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Nebuchadnezzar's Dream of the Great Image: The Incompetency of the Chaldeans (Part II)

"For this cause the king was angry and very furious, and commanded to destroy all the wise men of Babylon. And the decree went forth that the wise men should be slain; and they sought Daniel and his fellows to be slain." (Daniel 2:12-13)

In his hour of need, all the wisdom with which the king had surrounded himself proved to be of no value. Why? Because it was man's wisdom; therefore, it was weak, and fallible. Perhaps it appeared lovely and trustworthy on the outside, but when put to the test, all was found wanting. By observing how many times people repeat history, it may be rightly concluded that they do not learn from it. Down through the ages, kingdoms and individuals have surrounded themselves with everything but God, and when they have needed deliverance, all has proven to be useless. Anyone can fall into this trap. Placing trust in things other than God is a temptation for any man. Abraham himself struggled with this throughout his life. He took heed to Sarah and attempted to bring God's promise to pass through a relationship with Hagar. This resulted in the birth of Ishmael and the consequent rise of the Arab peoples, some of Israel's most bitter enemies.

An individual whose life is not founded upon the unmovable principles of God's word will surely experience the same disappointment which Nebuchadnezzar experienced. How many believers have been brought up in an emotion-based belief system, equating spiritual wellness with activity and constant excitement, only to find that when they need strength and assurance for the dark days they cannot find it in their shallow religion? When a man discovers that his son or daughter is involved in drugs and lasciviousness, his man-centered religion will not have an answer to his problems. When a woman discovers that her husband has just left her for another woman, the emotion-based worship of the modern day will not provide any deliverance. When a church discovers that its pastor has been stealing the funds and committing fornication and adultery in secret, the politics and hypocrisies of fellowships and Bible colleges will prove to be of no value. That church's lack of separation from the world will not provide it with the needed wisdom and comfort for such a time. Nebuchadnezzar was experiencing dark hours in his life; he needed help and answers. In like manner, every one will face such a time, and when it comes, they will need wisdom and help which is Bible-based. Better it is to surround one's self with God's wisdom, so that when the dark days come, a man may hold to the solid Rock and find true help and genuine comfort in obedience and the fear of the Lord.

The extent of Nebuchadnezzar's wrath can only be imagined. He had demanded that his counselors demonstrate their so-called wisdom and they responded by accusing him of being unreasonable. All the wisdom with which he was acquainted fell through in one afternoon. What a grand opportunity for the king and his people to be introduced to the Source of all wisdom!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Nebuchadnezzar's Dream of the Great Image: The Incompetency of the Chaldeans

"The Chaldeans answered before the king, and said, There is not a man upon the earth that can shew the king's matter: therefore there is no king, lord, nor ruler, that asked such things at any magician, or astrologer, or Chaldean. And it is a rare thing that the king requireth, and there is none other that can shew it before the king, except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh." (Daniel 2:10-11)

In one way, these men were correct. No man has ever been able to perform such a supernatural task as to declare to another his thoughts; however, they were wrong in that they did not realize that there is a God who enables men to perform the impossible, because "...with God all things are possible (Matthew 19:26)." Little did they know that God had placed a prophet in their very midst, a man specifically enabled by the God of heaven. The way of darkness is narrow, faithless, and hopeless. The wisdom of the world offers a man no help. In his hour of need, it always leaves him destitute without any answer. Believers who are not studying and living the Bible will often exhibit this same attitude of faithlessness and hopelessness, because their minds and hearts are not focused on the awesome power of God. They are not living in the fear of the Lord, in obedience to His word; therefore, they cannot reap the blessing of a close walk with Him. Their world does not extend beyond their own ability to comprehend and apply, so they tend to forget the power and ability of God to work in any situation.

The closing comments of these Chaldeans reveals the full extent of their sad condition. They declare that only the gods have the answer to king's questions, but they cannot be sought out for this answer because they do not condescend to mankind. How opposite this is to the God of the Bible! Concerning God, Acts 17:27 says "...he be not far from every one of us:" Had these men responded to the light of creation and the righteous witnesses that God had brought into their lives, they too would have realized that He does indeed come nigh unto man. How sad and hopeless is a man's life when he serves a god which is far off.

Human nature has always been the same. Men want to serve gods which are far off and can be manipulated. Man's gods always reflect man's nature because they are concocted by man's spirit and desires. They are cruel, capricious, self-centered, unpredictable, licentious, and prideful, just like the men who created them. They are also far off, unconcerned about the eternal well-being of man's soul. This trait may be seen in the gods which these men served. They obviously did not believe that they could go to their gods and obtain an answer for the king, else they would have given him an entirely different reply.

It would seem logical to forsake such false deities who have no power to help, but as a whole, mankind keeps serving them, even though they always fail him in his neediest hour. Why is it so? Because people do not want the authority of the true Creator in their lives. The flesh is intensely wicked and prideful. It wants to be in charge. The God-implanted desire for worship is present in all men; therefore, they know that they should worship, but their wicked heart drives them to serve anything but the one true God. This same tendency exists in the heart even after a man is saved. It is true that the child of God has his understanding enlightened by the regenerating work of the Holy Ghost; but it is also true that the flesh will always be at odds with the work of the spirit. The believer must be careful not to try an manipulate God as an unbeliever would do with his own false deities.

As one thinks about deity dwelling with flesh, it is impossible not to be drawn to the condescending work of Jesus Christ, the work which He performed for the good of mankind. Through Daniel's prophecies, these men would soon meet the God whose dwelling is with flesh. They would soon be exposed to the conquering kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ. They would soon come face to face with His holiness and love. Did some of these hopeless souls turn to faith Christ through the prophecies of Daniel? Only eternity will reveal the answer.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Nebuchadnezzar's Dream of the Great Image: The Inspection of the King (Part III)

"The king answered and said to the Chaldeans, The thing is gone from me: if ye will not make known unto me the dream, with the interpretation thereof, ye shall be cut in pieces, and your houses shall be made a dunghill. But if ye shew the dream, and the interpretation thereof, ye shall receive of me gifts and rewards and great honour: therefore shew me the dream, and the interpretation thereof." (Daniel 2:5-6)

Nebuchadnezzar is putting these sorcerers to the test. Anyone can make up an interpretation of some dream which has been dictated. After all, who is to say what interpretation is correct? They had likely made up many interpretations in the past concerning various dreams, so had they heard the dream, it would have been no challenge to invent some interpretation to go along with it; however, to recount the dream in its entirety and with all of its details would require nothing short of genuine ability. By this, the king would know whether or not his Chaldean counselors were all that they claimed to be. Quite likely he had grown suspicious of them and their magic, and perhaps this is what prompted him to present such a harsh ultimatum.

"They answered again and said, Let the king tell his servants the dream, and we will shew the interpretation of it. The king answered and said, I know of certainty that ye would gain the time, because ye see the thing is gone from me. But if ye will not make known unto me the dream, there is but one decree for you: for ye have prepared lying and corrupt words to speak before me, till the time be changed: therefore tell me the dream, and I shall know that ye can shew me the interpretation thereof." (Daniel 2:7-9)

By saying I know of certainty that ye would gain the time, the king was was, in essence, saying I know that you are stalling. Undoubtedly, the king's demand shocked these men and struck fear in their hearts; therefore, they begin trying to pry the dream from the king by subtlety. Nebuchadnezzar's growing contempt for these men and their trickery is clearly manifested by his comments. Unlike genuine revelation from God, much of what occurs in the world of sorcery and magic is accomplished through deception. The king knew that they could makeup any interpretation to go along with the dream which would suffice to satisfy until the passing weeks and months had dulled the king's memory; therefore, he holds firmly to his demand.

Although a man may engage in the art of deception and be apparently successful for many years, he will eventually be found out. Proverbs 24:20 says, "For there shall be no reward to the evil man; the candle of the wicked shall be put out." Payday has a way of eventually making its way to the front door. Even the heathen appreciate some form of honesty and character, and Nebuchadnezzar reached a point where he no longer trusted the lying words of his counselors. Human nature is drawn toward deception for various reasons, but its end is never profitable.

At this juncture, the temptation exists to point a finger in the face of these Chaldeans and condemn them for their lies and sorcery, but the truth is, when a believer lives contrary to God's word while insisting that he is doing right he is no better than a Chaldean. These so-called wise men were living a lie, and the disobedient believer lives a lie when he walks contrary to the truth while blessing God at the same time. Such an individual will eventually be found out just as these men were. The believer who walks in disobedience will eventually find himself in a position where his relationship with God will be truly tested, and at that point his life will be exposed for what it is.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Conclusion: Acknowledgment of the Author

Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith: To God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ for ever. Amen.” (Romans 16:25-27)

Such passages as this bring the heart to its knees and lift the soul to the heavenly heights all at once. It is a fitting end for such a magnificent discourse concerning the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world (John 1:29). As the Holy Spirit, the true Author behind this epistle, brings the letter to a close, He draws the reader's attention to seven characteristics of God the Father. First of all, He is able to establish people in the gospel. His Spirit is able to bring conviction of sin; He is able to give knowledge and understanding of grace and forgiveness; He is able to draw the souls of people unto Himself; He is able to direct men toward the fear of the LORD, and the saving knowledge of repentant faith in Jesus Christ. He alone can do this. It is not the charisma of men which establishes people. It is not the excitement and glamor of church programs. It is not, in any way, the work of men. Such is entirely the work of God. He has chosen to use men proclaiming the gospel, but He alone is the power behind the message, and when His light and holiness are set aside, the light and hope of the gospel are quenched.

Secondly, He makes His Son preeminent. Men are not born saved. They are born into the congregation of the dead (Proverbs 21:16), and they must be called out of it through faith in the blood of Christ; therefore, a gospel which does not have Jesus Christ as its sole focus is a false gospel. In his rebellion, man is always attempting to separate the Son from the Father and the Father from the Son. Some hold to a belief in God, in a general sense, but they reject the authority of the Son; others hold up the Son in a worldly sense, attempting to make Him nothing but a man of "love," one who would not condone the "hardness" of an Old Testament God. Both are wrong. God makes the Son preeminent, and the Son is entirely subjected to the will and authority of the Father, as Jesus said, "All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him (Matthew 11:27)."

Thirdly, He makes Scripture the priority. Psalm 138:2 says "...thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name." God's Spirit never says amen to any thought, motive, word, or action which is not in keeping with His written truth. His truth is not subjective, neither is it relative; it is firm; it is the standard by which all is judged. Jesus said, "He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day (John 12:48)." God's word is the priority.

Fourthly, God demands obedience through preaching. A gospel which does not challenge the wills of people by calling them to obedience is a false gospel. God does not save people so that they can serve themselves; He saves them so that they might serve Him in holiness, being separated from the world's motives, thoughts, desires, and goals.

Fifthly, He is concerned for the redemption and welfare of all people. This revelation of Jesus Christ has been made known and must be made known to all nations. God desires the obedience of all people. When a man forgets his responsibility in declaring the love of God to all, he has utterly failed in the charity of Jesus Christ. God desired for Israel to be a light to the surrounding nations so that they might see the righteousness of Jehovah and be drawn to His unfathomable grace. In this dispensation, He has demanded that the church reach out to the lost world, and in the millennial kingdom, Israel will be the center of righteousness, drawing the world around it to "THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS (Jeremiah 23:6)."

Sixthly, God is the source of all wisdom. He alone is wise. Apart from obedience to His truth, apart from the fear of His holy name, wisdom cannot be found. "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding (Proverbs 9:10)." "The fear of the LORD is the instruction of wisdom; and before honour is humility (Proverbs 15:33)." He is God only wise.

Lastly, God alone deserves the glory. Man will begin to accomplish this only by first coming to genuine faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. I John 3:23 says, "And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment." Apart from obedience to this command, man cannot give glory to God in a manner which will profit his soul, because all glory is to God through, or by means of, Jesus Christ. In the end, God will receive all glory, but only the man who gives glory through the blood of Jesus Christ will be safe in the day when "...every knee shall bow...(Isaiah 45:23)."

May the holiness and love of God displayed in this glorious epistle bring each and every reader to his knees in humble faith! Amen.

Monday, August 18, 2014

The Conclusion: Acknowledgment of the Assistants

Timotheus my workfellow, and Lucius, and Jason, and Sosipater, my kinsmen, salute you. I Tertius, who wrote this epistle, salute you in the Lord. Gaius mine host, and of the whole church, saluteth you. Erastus the chamberlain of the city saluteth you, and Quartus a brother. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.” (Romans 16:21-24)

In I Corinthians 1:14, Gaius is identified as being affiliated with the church of Corinth. Erastus is also associated with Corinth in II Timothy 4:20. These evidences along with the references to Achaia in chapter fifteen make it very clear that this epistle was written from Corinth. Tertius was likely the one who actually penned this letter at the dictation of Paul, thus he gives his greeting to the Roman church.

In keeping with the apostate spirit that brought it into existence, the Critical Text omits verse twenty-four. Were it not for the presence of this last verse, the preceding verses would have little meaning. As a meal of starchy corn that gives one a sense of fullness but leaves him hungry afterward, so would these passages be were it not for the acknowledgment of the Lord Jesus Christ at the end. He is the reason that Paul was able to send such warm greetings. He is the reason that Timotheus remained so loyal to the ministry. He is the reason that Paul could abide as a guest in the house of a Corinthian man who was once lost. Though often given as a final greeting in the Pauline epistles, this last verse is full of meaning. It is not an empty phrase attached to the end of each letter for the mere purpose of bringing the discourse to a close. The divine grace of our Lord Jesus Christ was the sole means by which Paul was enabled to perform his ministry, and it is the sole means by which any child of God finds strength to live righteously in this wicked, tired old world. It is the means by which Adam and Eve found forgiveness after their willful disobedience. It is the means by which Noah escaped the evils of his generation. It is the channel through which God reached out to Abraham, thus calling him out of Ur of the Chaldees and leading him into the path of righteousness. It is the attribute of God to which the Law points mankind. It clothed the Lord Jesus Christ when He came to accomplish man's redemption, shining through every action, word, and motive, being wedded with His truth (John 1:14). It is the means by which God enables a man to be saved (Ephesians 2:8-9), and it is that which will keep him all the way into glory. Yes indeed, the preceding discourse would have little meaning were it not for these noble words, The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

The Christian and His Companions: Christian Concern (Part II)

"For your obedience is come abroad unto all men. I am glad therefore on your behalf: but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil. And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen." (Romans 16:19-20)

Obedience to Scripture and a heart which is willing to learn characterize the true believer, while disobedience and arrogance characterize the false teacher. The primary trait of the church at Rome which caught the attention of people was that of obedience. Where there is a lack of obedience, it may be rightly assumed that the flesh is in control.

Paul ends this section by elaborating on the end of false teachers and the end of the master whom they serve. Paul calls God, the God of peace. In sharp contrast to the troublesome ways of the false teacher, God is a God of peace, and obedience to His doctrine brings peace to the soul. The word for bruise can also be translated crush, break in pieces, and shatter. Many a false teacher, and many a disobedient believer operating in the principles of a false teacher, have brought pain and heartache to God's people, but the day of judgment is close at hand when the Lord Jesus Christ will permanently "...bind the strong man; and then he will spoil his house (Mark 3:27)."

Friday, August 15, 2014

Nebuchadnezzar's Dream of the Great Image: The Inspection of the King (Part II)

"And the king said unto them, I have dreamed a dream, and my spirit was troubled to know the dream. Then spake the Chaldeans to the king in Syriack, O king, live for ever: tell thy servants the dream, and we will shew the interpretation." (Daniel 2:3-4)

It is at this juncture that the text behind the English translation switches from Hebrew to Aramaic. The word translated Syriack is the word from which Aramaic is derived. Aramaic was the international trade language of Daniel's day. This distinct switch in the language of the text provides a natural and fitting division for the book. God is about to reveal prophecies which are very specific to the future of the entire world. He is about to reveal the rise and fall of five major kingdoms, one of which, will be the future kingdom of the antichrist; however, the greatest prophecy which God is about to reveal is that concerning the eternality of Christ's kingdom. In choosing to write this text in the common Gentile language of Daniel's day, God made it possible for numerous peoples to be exposed to the gospel of His kingdom. Travelers, traders, kings of other nations, soldiers, peasants, and princes, all gathering at Babylon, all traversing its streets, would have had the amazing opportunity to hear the very plans of God spoken in their own tongue. Perhaps copies of these tremendous prophecies were made and dispersed throughout the surrounding nations. Perhaps some carried these dreams and their interpretations with them back to their native land. Some believe that these prophecies given in the common language of the people is what influenced the wise men of the east to seek out Christ. Such things simply reinforce the love and concern which God has for people. Faith is not exercised in the closet, and God is not interested in saving just an elite few. His word is not to be hid, for " prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation (II Peter 1:20)."

From the middle of verse four, to the end of chapter seven, the text is in Aramaic.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The Christian and His Companions: Christian Concern

Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.” (Romans 16:17-18)

Paul exercised discrimination against false teachers. Too many professing Christians dwell on God's love while ignoring His holiness. Many professing Christians of the present day have set forth the image that God is unwilling to confront sin in any way lest someone be offended. This is not the God of the Bible. Concerning false teachers, the Holy Spirit says mark them. The word mark means to pick out and observe carefully. Anyone who teaches anything contrary to the doctrines of Scripture is worthy of being watched. The Holy Spirit does not differentiate between doctrine when giving this command. He does not order the believer to guard just five or seven "key" doctrines. No portion of the truth is open for dialogue, nor is it up for sale. From creation to glorification, from Genesis to Revelation, all is important. From the seemingly insignificant teaching to the most awe-inspiring truth, the believer is to cling to God's doctrine.

Not only does God command His people to watch those who teach wickedness, He also commands them to avoid such people. Separation is biblical. When a man teaches and practices that which is contrary to Scripture, he is to be put on the outside. Titus 3:10-11 says, "A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject; Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself." When a man continues to hold to a lie after being duly warned, he is to be rejected, not coddled or comforted. On the whole, Modern-day Christianity has utterly failed to deal with false teachers in a biblical manner. Rather than being scrutinized and shunned, false teachers are welcomed into the homes of believers by means of the radio, television and open invitation. They are invited to speak by pastors and Bible college presidents, none considering the devastating affect that their doctrine will have on the hearts and minds of God's people. When it comes to a disobedient brother or sister, the church often tolerates their sin rather than exercising church discipline, and if their conduct becomes too embarrassing, the rebel is often bid a cheerful farewell under the guise that he has "been called into another area of ministry." The entire scene wreaks of disobedience and compromise! A serious injustice is done to God's love when it is not properly mixed with His holiness. Charity ought always to characterize the believer, but true love is often manifested through a willingness to do the hard things. A parent who will not correct his child does not love that child, because he is unwilling to do that which will deliver his soul from hell (Proverbs 23:14). The same principle holds true when it comes to separation. When the church is unwilling to avoid false teachers and discipline those who will not repent, it displays an uncaring attitude toward the soul of the rebel and a lack of concern for those who will be affected by his sin. God's command is clear, mark and avoid. Dialogue is not an option and toleration is nothing short of contempt for God.

The Holy Spirit lists some of the traits of a false teacher. First of all, his doctrine causes division and offense. It leads people to stumble in their spirit which causes them to stumble in their lives. People will get offended at the truth, but this is different. Being completely opposed to the Bible, man's doctrine can create a wedge between believers. This truth is clearly illustrated in the book of Galatians. Teachers of Judaism had plagued the churches of Galatia. By mixing works with grace, they had led many astray and halted the spiritual growth of many believers. When a man is teaching that which keeps others from becoming more like Christ in spirit, he is not teaching truth.

The text says, "For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly...." They are sensual. Sensuality is a hallmark trait of the false teacher. He is lewd and promiscuous, often preoccupied with sexual matters and unable to speak in an appropriate manner. In private, and often in public, he immerses himself in the lusts of his flesh, and this filthy lifestyle comes out through his conversation and teaching, as II Peter 2:14 puts it, "Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin...."

The word behind good words has the meaning of plausible speech. Fair speeches literally means blessings. This man's mouth is full of smooth talk and blessings, but the Spirit is not behind his words. He sounds good, but his speech is empty, and through these things, he preys upon the weak. False teachers do not appreciate people whom they cannot manipulate; therefore, they pursue the weak and the sick. They may find a new believer who is not grounded, or perhaps they cater to the emotional tendencies of the female spirit; whatever the case, they go for those who they think they can control and deceive (II Timothy 3:6). They are also manifested by their pride and unwillingness to be confronted. Should a believer challenge them from God's word, they become resentful and immediately begin to stir up trouble against all who would oppose them. If a church finds itself with such a man in its midst, it should not tolerate him or give him any liberty; it should band together in the truth and remove such a man, by force if necessary. When Nehemiah returned from the king's business and found that one of the Jewish leaders had married an unbeliever, Nehemiah chased the man away, and would not allow him to minister in God's house (Nehemiah 13:28). There is a time for such things. Paul would did not give place to the false teachers which plagued the early church. Concerning them, he said, "To whom we gave place by subjection, no, not for an hour; that the truth of the gospel might continue with you (Galatians 2:5)."

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Nebuchadnezzar's Dream of the Great Image: The Inspection of the King

"And in the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar Nebuchadnezzar dreamed dreams, wherewith his spirit was troubled, and his sleep brake from him. Then the king commanded to call the magicians, and the astrologers, and the sorcerers, and the Chaldeans, for to shew the king his dreams. So they came and stood before the king." (Daniel 2:1-2)

Nebuchadnezzar reigned for a little over forty years. Early in his reign, God declares to him and the surrounding nations what the Lord's divine path has marked out for the kingdom. While men busy themselves with becoming established in their present state, God already sees the events of years ahead, and He knows the end from the beginning. The Lord has often revealed the secrets of His plans through dreams, and such is how He deals with Nebuchadnezzar. Undoubtedly, the king had experienced many strange dreams in his time, but this one was different. He could not shake himself free of the lingering effects of its message. Something about its mysterious events troubled his spirit greatly. Nebuchadnezzar the great had come face to face with the Greatest, and he was no match for such a confrontation. I Corinthians 1:25 says, "Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men." Of course, God is not foolish or weak, but if He were, such attributes would still far surpass man's greatest efforts. Nebuchadnezzar had amassed great riches and an army of fearful strength. Concerning worldly wisdom, he was leaps and bounds ahead of most men. His counselors were men who were aware of world events. They were at his right hand at all times. In the world's eyes, this man was the strongest, most able king of his day, one whom no man dare rise up against; and yet, the smallest dream sent from the arsenal of heaven was more than sufficient to wreak havoc in his self-centered little world. What power rests with God! and how weak are men in His sight! Amos 4:13 gives men a glimpse into the power of God when it says, "For, lo, he that formeth the mountains, and createth the wind, and declareth unto man what is his thought, that maketh the morning darkness, and treadeth upon the high places of the earth, The LORD, The God of hosts, is his name."

Naturally, the king turns to the wisdom of his Babylonian counselors. These were men who practiced witchcraft. They studied the stars and engaged in sorcery. They served devils and attempted to commune with the dead. The Chaldeans were the elite group of this hellish society. These servants of Satan would soon demonstrate that they could be of no help to the king when he needed them most.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

The Christian and His Companions: Christian Closeness (Part II)

Greet Mary, who bestowed much labour on us. Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen, and my fellowprisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me. Greet Amplias my beloved in the Lord. Salute Urbane, our helper in Christ, and Stachys my beloved. Salute Apelles approved in Christ. Salute them which are of Aristobulus' household. Salute Herodion my kinsman. Greet them that be of the household of Narcissus, which are in the Lord. Salute Tryphena and Tryphosa, who labour in the Lord. Salute the beloved Persis, which laboured much in the Lord. Salute Rufus chosen in the Lord, and his mother and mine. Salute Asyncritus, Phlegon, Hermas, Patrobas, Hermes, and the brethren which are with them. Salute Philologus, and Julia, Nereus, and his sister, and Olympas, and all the saints which are with them. Salute one another with an holy kiss. The churches of Christ salute you.” (Romans 16:6-16)

Paul remembered the brethren. He did not have the aids of social media. He could not call these people on the phone. He did not see them everyday; and yet, each one was imprinted on his soul. He remembered them because he loved them. He also acknowledged them because he valued them. These were not people who were to be used for the realization of some personal agenda. These were not inferior beings who could be manipulated for one man's purpose. These were servants of Christ, clothed with same righteousness which God had imparted to Paul through the avenue of faith, and Paul knew that. Regardless of the personal difficulties, Paul did not fail to remember the brethren.

Paul recognized the brethren. He gave them credit for their help and sacrifice. Service to God is not a solo effort. No matter how close a man draws to God, he will never be free from needing the assistance of others. God will see to it so that pride does not swell up in the heart of his child. Paul needed the help of these people, and he was not afraid to admit it. In fact, he joyfully acknowledged their assistance and was willing to give credit where credit was due. It is a self-centered and carnal man indeed who will not acknowledge the benefit and help of the smallest of God's saints.

Paul regarded the brethren. He gave each his proper place. He regarded the more senior than himself. Andronicus and Junia were saved before Paul, and their godly character was known among the early church leadership. Paul openly regards the position which God allowed them to have. When a man is subjected to God's will, he is not threatened by the positions other people hold. An insecure, self-absorbed fool has to be in control of everything. Such people ought not be in control of anything since their carnality is displayed by their insecurity.

When Paul speaks of certain of these people being his kinsman, it is likely that he is referring to the fact that they were Jewish. Some may have been his relatives, but this side of eternity will likely not reveal the matter. Rufus' mother was likely so close to Paul that he acknowledged her as his own. Without doubt, Paul had many mothers, brothers, and sisters which God had brought into his life, none of which were blood related, but were relatives through the blood of Christ which is far better than any other relationship. When a person chooses to serve God, that individual may be assured that God will not leave him destitute. A believer will often find himself forsaken by family and friends, but God has a unique way of "...[setting] the solitary in families...(Psalm 68:6)." By bringing along people of like mind and faith, He can meet the familial needs of anyone. Paul understood these things. He understood the value of Christian closeness, and he was never too proud to partake of its sweet nectar.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Selected by a Holy King (Part IV)

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. 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. And in all matters of wisdom and understanding, that the king enquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm. And Daniel continued even unto the first year of king Cyrus.” (Daniel 1:18-21)

God's blessing upon these boys is fully realized by all as they are brought into the king's court for an interview. First of all, they are declared to be better than their peers. Their wisdom and discernment far outranked that of their fellow captives. Undoubtedly, the other boys enjoyed the provisions and vices of Babylon, but this enjoyment was short lived, because sin is but for a season (Hebrews 11:25). They may have railed on Daniel and his companions when they requested to remain chaste before God, but now they were faced with the peaceable fruit of such a decision; such fruit is difficult to fight against. The text uses their Hebrew names. The king could attempt to make them Babylonians if he so desired, but in spirit, they would forever be Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. Such should be the case with all of God's people. The believer's loyalty to Christ should be such that his true identity could never be mistaken by the outside observer.

Lastly, they are declared to be better than their elders. Proverbs 16:31 says, “The hoary head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness.” White and gray hairs are an honor to those whose counsel and conduct mirror the word of God, but the aged head of the sinner is of little worth. Age does not guarantee wisdom; such is guaranteed only by the presence of holiness in one's life. God went against the grain of human thinking and enabled these four young boys to far surpass those who lived and experienced much of life's questions, and He did so simply because they chose to cling to Him in the middle of an environment that assailed them with all the powers of hell.

God has not changed down through the years. It is the Church which has changed. It has grown closer to the world than it has to God. Instead of being valued and upheld, God's law has been maligned and ignored by the majority of professing Christianity. Daniel did not view God's law as oppressive. He did not become bitter at God because he thought that God's standards were keeping him from enjoying Babylon's ways. He viewed God's law as precious. He understood that, although it is restrictive to the flesh, it brings great liberty to the soul, as the Psalmist said, “So shall I keep thy law continually for ever and ever. And I will walk at liberty: for I seek thy precepts. I will speak of thy testimonies also before kings, and will not be ashamed (Psalm 119:44-46).” Daniel stood for God's law because he valued it. When a believer does not stand for God's law, it is because he does not value it. Many believers today view God's commandments as oppressive rather than liberating. Instead of seeing God's commandments as complimenting the spiritual life which comes through the blood of Christ, they view them as obstacles to overcome as they make their way down into the nightlife of Babylon. To the Hebrew boys who wanted to enjoy what Babylon had to offer, the law of God was a burden, but to the boys who wanted to be citizens of the heavenly Jerusalem, His law was a delight.

The text ends by declaring that Daniel continued until the first year of Cyrus. This does not mean that he did not live past the first year, because Daniel 10:1 declares that he did. This passage is simply emphasizing the longevity of Daniel's ministry.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Selected by a Holy King (Part III)

So he consented to them in this matter, and proved them ten days. 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. Thus Melzar took away the portion of their meat, and the wine that they should drink; and gave them pulse. 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.” (Daniel 1:14-17)

Influenced by the guiding hand of the LORD, the prince of the eunuchs fed Daniel and his three friends with vegetables for ten days as requested. The result? He and Melzar both witnessed the power and influence of Daniel's God. What a rebuke this must have been to the Hebrew children who refused to obey the law of God! When a man desires to please God, the Lord is able to do that which is against nature for the purpose of glorifying His holy name. By this proving, these heathen men witnessed the fact that Daniel's God is God!

The Lord did not stop with the blessing of their health. He also gave them the ability to grasp and apply the things which they were taught. These young men would have had to learn the Babylonian tongue, culture, history, and philosophy. Their learning would have been plagued with idolatry, man's wisdom, and heathen perspectives; yet, through it all, God protected their minds and enabled them to learn what was necessary for the maintenance of their testimonies. God watches over His own. The Lord is able to work out all of a man's experiences for His glory and the ultimate good of that person. It is interesting to note that the Lord allowed these young men to learn the culture of the Babylonians. In fact, he allowed them to excel in understanding the learning of the Babylonians. This is not license for a man to immerse himself in the ways of the heathen, but it does reveal the fact that God is not threatened by the worst circumstances in which His people may find themselves. God is able to bless and protect His people wherever they may be, and He is able to make them lighthouses to those who need the knowledge of God.

The Lord also equipped Daniel with the ability to understand dreams and visions, something which would be very necessary for the ministry of prophecy which lay ahead of him.   

Monday, August 4, 2014

Selected by a Holy King (Part II)

Now God had brought Daniel into favour and tender love with the prince of the eunuchs. 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. Then said Daniel to Melzar, whom the prince of the eunuchs had set over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, Prove thy servants, I beseech thee, ten days; and let them give us pulse to eat, and water to drink. 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 1:9-13)

Daniel's strength lie in the fact that he had been selected by a Holy King, the Almighty. In the Hebrew text, the name God has a definite article in front of it so as to make the noun very particular. A literal reading would be “Now The God had brought Daniel....” This was no vain idol of Babylon; this was THE God of Heaven. Nebuchadnezzar could attempt to manipulate Daniel any way he desired, but he could do nothing past what God allowed. The man, woman, or child who chooses the fear of the Lord may have the same peace and boldness which Daniel possessed, because such choices bring one into favor with the Creator of all, and “If God be for us, who can be against us (Romans 8:31)?” Proverbs 16:7 says, “When a man's ways please the LORD, he maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.” God worked in the heart of this heathen prince so that he looked favorably upon God's servant. It is very easy to shun doing right because one fears the reactions of men, but it must be remembered that God is well able to overcome the enemy's response. “The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe (Proverbs 29:25).” This relationship between Daniel and the prince of the eunuchs was not inappropriate in any way. The word translated tender love means compassion. This prince appreciated Daniel, and he was willing to handle him with much more favor than any common captive would have received.

The response of Daniel's supervisor is interesting. He is not offended because Daniel desires to maintain loyalty to his God, but rather, he is afraid of the consequences to himself should the king find out. He must have had respect toward Daniel's convictions; otherwise, he would have been outraged at such a request. Viewed from man's perspective, his concerns are quite valid, and to be expected. Daniel's response to the prince of the eunuchs displays both wisdom and concern for his supervisor's life. He casts himself upon God and invites the prince of the eunuchs to experience God's power over all things. It should be noted that Daniel was not afraid to put his God to the test in a respectful way. After all, it was His law that Daniel desired to honor; why should He not come to the aid of these young men? If Daniel had simply said, “That's the way it is. Give me what I ask for or bring on the consequences,” it would have displayed a lack of faith. A man does not have to be a hard-nosed, boisterous fool in order to be perceived as a man of faith. In this instance, it took more faith for Daniel to encourage his supervisor to put God to the test. If God's child is resting in the Spirit's power and trusting that God can do all things, he should never be afraid to respectfully put God to the test when such a time is appropriate. God challenged Israel to do this when He said concerning tithing, “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it (Malachi 3:10).”

Daniel had apparently gained the respect of the prince's helper, Melzar; otherwise, he would likely not have delivered Daniel's proposition. Daniel simply puts his faith in God's ability and invites his heathen captors to witness the power of his God. The word for pulse means vegetables. It was likely a concoction of various beans and grains. This is likely the first time that these men had ever been exposed to the holy law of God. Had Daniel chosen to eat the forbidden food, he would have deprived these people of the privilege of being exposed to their Creator in a real way. Certainly, there were those who did not appreciate Daniel's stand. Most of the other children who were taken captive simply went along with what they were told to do. Perhaps they thought, “God allowed us to be taken captive; surely He does not expect us to resist the lifestyle of our captors.” Such is human nature. Most individuals are very conscious of peer pressure, but not many are conscious of God's expectations or feelings. Regardless, Daniel did not follow the mainstream opinion of his day; he chose the superior alternative of the fear of the Lord.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Selected by a Holy King

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)

The word for purposed means to set. Literally, Daniel set upon his heart. This young man was thoroughly determined that he would not break the law of his God. The king's provisions could easily have consisted of pork and shellfish which were not permitted for the Jew under the Mosaic law. The phrase the wine which he drank is literally the wine of his feasting. This wine, along with much of the kings meat, was likely in close association to the worship of Babylon's idols. Having his name changed was one thing. He could do nothing about what people called him, but he could do something about what he put into his mouth. It is interesting to note how one's diet is often closely associated with his beliefs. Daniel had made up his mind. God had allowed him to be taken captive, but this did not mean that he had to compromise God's law. Daniel knew that God still expected him to reverence His holiness, yes, even in Babylon.

Daniel's method of carrying out his dedication to God is clothed with humility as well as determination. He does not make a scene in an attempt to draw attention to his spirituality. The text gives no indication that he rebukes his guardian for his participation in such things. He simply and quietly requests that he be permitted to freely live out his convictions. The word requested means to seek. Daniel sought permission from the prince of the eunuchs. It is highly likely that Daniel would have been willing to die over this; yet, his determination does not deter his discretion. He humbly requests from those which God had placed over him that he not eat. Much is to be learned from Daniel's quiet and humble spirit in this matter. He was a young man of great faith and courage, but he was not a boisterous fool, nor was he focused on receiving the recognition for his stand. He was not concerned that others see him; he wanted others to see his God through him.