The Saga Continues - Daniel
1 In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it.
2 And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with some of the vessels of the house of God. And he brought them to the land of Shinar, to the house of his god, and placed the vessels in the treasury of his god.
One of my very earliest memories of childhood is being told the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego from the book of Daniel. My paternal grandmother used to tell me that story every afternoon before my nap when I was at her house. That on-going event in my life sparkles as one of the factors that led to my deep love of the Scriptures. That is a precious memory for me. Today, we begin our study of the book of Daniel. It is a logical choice for us, because we have just finished reading the historical account of the collapse of Judah, brought on by their apostasy and idolatry. One of those who suffered the punishment from God for these sins is the prophet Daniel. Apparently, he was part of the royal family and seen by his captors as worthy of education and indoctrination. He was probably a teenager at the time of his capture and the book of Daniel tells his story as well as being miraculously prophetic about the up-coming history of the region. Daniel also is given and writes about his amazing visions into the heavens as he sees things that only a few have seen since in similar visions (Paul, John, Jeremiah, Isaiah . . .)
As we read the first 2 verses of Daniel, we find a repeat of what we learned at the end of 2 Kings. God’s people have been captured by Babylon (King Nebuchadnezzar) and they will spend the next 70 years there as the slaves of the kings. In reality, the people of God settle well into life in Babylon. When they are offered the chance to return home after the 70 years, most remain in Babylon! They have homes and families and have made lives for themselves in a foreign land. But a few do return home to rebuild the wall and the temple in Jerusalem.
As we read verse 2 of Daniel 1, we find that the Lord is the one responsible for handing Judah to Nebuchadnezzar. They have earned God’s wrath and He gives them into enemy hands. It is important to remember that God is sovereign and in control at all times. That is one of the major themes of this book.