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Bible Commentaries

Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary
Daniel 1

 

 

Verse 1-2

HOMILETICS

SECT. I.—THE CAPTIVITY (Dan )

1. The certain fulfilment of divine threatenings. God's word, whether of mercy or judgment, will not return to Him void. "Hath He spoken it, and will He not do it?" The promise and the threatening sure, sooner or later, to be fulfilled, unless prevented in the one case by unbelief, or in the other by repentance. Jehoiakim may cut the hated roll in pieces and cast it into the fire, but the threatened judgment is only brought so much nearer its fulfilment. The burned Bible only adds fuel to the fire.

2. The consequence of unrepented sin. Divine wrath against impenitence slow but sure. Justice travels with leaden feet, leaving time for repentance. Mercy rejoices over judgment; but, mercy despised, judgment strikes the blow. "Though sentence against an evil work be not executed speedily," yet the judgment of the impenitent "lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not." The sun rose on Sodom gladsome and joyous as usual, but set on it a heap of ashes. The path of disobedience, whatever it may promise of pleasure or of profit, is found, sooner or later, to be planted with thorns. In continuing to do what is forbidden or to neglect what is commanded, whether to avoid a difficulty or to gain an end, we one day discover that we have but "sown the wind and reaped the whirlwind."

3. The terrible effects of the divine displeasure. The desolated land, the sacked city, and the burned Temple of the Jews only additional illustrations. "The wrath of a king is as the roaring of a lion." What then the wrath of a God who is holy, righteous, and omnipotent? Slow in coming, fearful when it falls. "Who can stand when once Thou art angry?" "A fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God." To hide one from the wrath of the rejected Lamb, rocks and mountains will be appealed to in vain. Men's highest wisdom and interest to prepare for the Diet Ir, "the great day of His wrath," before it come. "If once His anger be kindled but a little, blessed are all they that put their trust in Him." The "blood shed for the remission of sins" the only refuge in that day; the only refuge now.

4. The awful evil of sin. It was sin that brought destruction upon Jerusalem and its king. "An evil thing and a bitter" to forsake the living God and to trample upon His laws. Only "fools make a mock at sin." Sin the abominable thing that God hates. Kindles a fire in His anger that "burns to the lowest hell" (Deu ). "Brought death into the world and all our woe." Banished man from Paradise and buried the world in a deluge of water. Covers the earth at present with every form of sorrow and suffering, and will one day overwhelm it in a deluge of fire. Makes men and women partakers of the devil's character now, and of his condemnation hereafter.

5. The reality of God's government of the world. Nations and kings raised up or overthrown at His will. His to plant and to pluck up, to build and to throw down. The hearts of rulers in His hand to turn them whithersoever He will. The Lord "gave" Jehoiakim into Nebuchadnezzar's hand. The king of Babylon but Jehovah's executioner, "the axe in the hand of him that heweth therewith." "Against the people of my wrath will I give him a charge: howbeit he meaneth not so, neither doth his heart think so" (Isa ; Isa 10:15). Attila, taught by the light of nature, called himself the Scourge of God. Who did not recognise the same in the first Napoleon? God Himself the author of the calamities that befall a sinful people, whoever or whatever the instrument. "Is there evil in a city and the Lord hath not done it?" "I make peace and create evil" (Amo 3:6; Isa 45:7). An all-controlling and superintending agency where man sees only the operation of human passions. A great truth uttered by England's favourite author, "There's a divinity that shapes our ends, Rough hew them as we will."

6. Desecration of sacred things often a divine chastisement. The only calamity here recorded in connection with Nebuchadnezzar's siege of Jerusalem, the removal of the sacred vessels of the Temple to Babylon, to be placed among the treasures of Bel, the abomination of Chaldean idolatry. The acme of Israel's distress in the days of Eli that the Ark was seized and carried off by the Philistines. Fallen Churches in the East chastised when their sanctuaries were seized by the Saracens, and appropriated to a religion that robbed the Saviour of His divinity and placed Mahomet above Him as a prophet. The Church that shed the blood of the Huguenots like water saw its communion vessels seized and melted down to be coined into money for the payment of revolutionary armies, its bells converted into cannon, and the ancient cathedral of Notre Dame at Paris desecrated by the worship of the Goddess of Reason in the person of a prostitute. Such desecration often the chastisement of abused privileges and rejected truth. The warning addressed to Oriental Churches still applicable to those of the West, "Repent, or else I will come to thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of its place, except thou repent" (Rev ). Matthew Henry remarks: "See the righteousness of God; His people had brought the images of other gods into His Temple, and now He suffers the vessels of the Temple to be carried into the treasuries of those other gods. When men profane the vessels of the sanctuary with their sins, it is just with God to profane them by His judgments."

7. The externals of religion no defence to a sinful, hypocritical nation. The Ark of God carried into the battle unable to save backslidden Israel from the hands of the Philistines. Christian sanctuaries unable to protect those who had already perverted the religion of Christ to one of formality, worldliness, and superstition. Hypocrisy and sin only make a Church or people a carcase where the eagles of divine vengeance will be gathered together. "Take away her battlements, for they are not the Lord's." "Israel fondly trusted to the Temple to defend them, though they went on in their iniquity; and now, to show them the vanity of that confidence, the Temple is first plundered."—Henry.

8. Nebuchadnezzar, even in his profanity, an example of the recognition of, and gratitude to, a Supreme Being for favours received and success obtained. The vessels of the Temple placed in the house of his god rather than in his own, in recognition of the aid by which, as he supposed, those trophies were won. Belief in and recognition of a Supreme Being, among the first and plainest teachings of nature. The heathen, who knew not the true God, accustomed to impute their success to the favour of the deities they acknowledged (Hab ). After the plague in Athens, B.C. 434, the Athenians dedicated a statue to Apollo as the Averter of evil. After the battle of Salamis, the Greeks dedicated the throne of Xerxes as a thankoffering to Minerva. The Parthenon itself, where it was kept, was built in gratitude to the same imaginary deity, by whose assistance they believed their heroes had fought and conquered. The small community of the village of Phigaleia in Arcadia erected the beautiful Temple of Bass in gratitude to Apollo for deliverance from a pestilence. Pythagoras sacrificed an ox to the Muses on a new discovery made in geometry. The sin was, that in the blindness and depravity of the natural heart, the heathen substituted false gods for the true one. But may not the gratitude of the heathen to their false deities condemn many a professed worshipper of the true God?


Verses 3-7

HOMILETICS

SECT. II.—THE FOUR CAPTIVE YOUTHS (Chap. Dan )

1. The literal fulfilment of God's word. The good King Hezekiah's foolish vanity entailed a chastisement which, according to the word of the prophet, was to fall upon his descendants. Some of them were to become eunuchs in Babylon (Isa ; 2Ki 20:18). Probably Daniel and his three companions were thus made examples, that no word of God, whether in promise or threatening, falls to the ground. "Heaven and earth may pass away, but my word shall not pass away."

2. The inscrutable providence of God. It is one of the mysteries of that providence that the innocent suffer with and through the guilty. Both rulers and people in Israel had deeply revolted from Jehovah. But it might be asked of those four godly youths, "What had they done?" "When the scourge slayeth suddenly, it mocketh at the trial of the innocent." Yet God is still infinitely wise and just and good. A gracious end in view, though hidden at the time. Children often made to feel the effects of a parent's sin, while these effects may be graciously overruled for their eternal good. The captivity of these youths made to turn to their own benefit and that of others. Apparent evil often a real good. "Ye thought evil against me, but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive" (Gen ).

3. The sovereignty of divine grace. Nothing is said of the parents of these youths. The royal seed had become a reprobate one. Both the sons of Josiah who succeeded him on the throne were wicked. The princes of Jerusalem imitated them in their sin. Grace makes exceptions. Perhaps these youths were judiciously taken away from the evil example of the rest. Safer perhaps at the time to live in Babylon than in Jerusalem. One might hope from the character of these four youths that they had been taught the fear of God at home. But graceless parents may have gracious children. Grace steps in and makes men to differ. The wind bloweth where it listeth. Saints found in Csar's household, and a godly Obadiah in Ahab's court.

5. God's instruments prepared for their work. Daniel and his three companions prepared beforehand for the part they were to perform in the relief and deliverance of their countrymen. Gifted by nature and endowed by grace, they received an education at the Babylonian court that fitted them for the post they were to occupy about the king's person and in the government of the country. Capacity for learning, united with conscientious application and the divine blessing given in answer to prayer, made the youthful exiles ten times more able to answer the king's questions than all the wise men in the realm, and so prepared the way for their future elevation. The influence of that education in reference to the exercise of Daniel's prophetical gift also not to be entirely overlooked.

6. Grace superior to circumstances. Captivity in a heathen land, residence in an idolatrous and luxurious court, a three years' course of study pervaded with idolatry and superstition, the constant presence of the followers of a false religion and a low morality, all combined are unable to crush out the piety of these young men. Circumstances changed their names but not their nature. With names imposed upon them that seemed to designate them the worshippers of idols, they were enabled by grace to remain the faithful servants of the true God. The religion produced by the Holy Spirit in the soul is fast colours—not painted, but engrained.

7. The value of gracious principles in early life. Only the presence of divine grace in the soul able to withstand the temptations of the world and to conquer in the battle of life. "Evil communications corrupt good manners" only when those manners are not the fruit of a divine principle implanted in the soul. "This is the victory that overcometh the world, even your faith." Only an apparently renewed Demas will forsake the truth, "having loved this present world." Renewed by the Spirit and grafted into Christ, we are "kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation," and made "more than conquerors through Him that loved us." Probably these youths taught like Timothy to know the Holy Scriptures from early childhood. Daniel may have had a Eunice for his mother, though her name is not recorded. His early youth spent in the reign of good Josiah, who apparently died only four years before he was taken captive to Babylon. Few men have become at once great and good who have not been able to connect their religion with a mother's prayers and the instruction received at a mother's knee. One thing concerning these four youths is certain, that in early life they had been taught to say in truth, "Thy word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against Thee."


Verses 8-10

HOMILETICS

SECT. III.—THE RESOLUTION (Chap. Dan )

1. Religious principle sure to be tested. The gold must be submitted to the fire to prove its reality and purge it from dross. The trial of faith a rule in God's government and the universal experience of His people. That trial may be a "fiery" one (1Pe ). May throw into heaviness for a season; but has for its issue "praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ" (1Pe 1:7). Believers to be, like Apelles, "approved in Christ." Difficult situations, involving danger, trouble, or loss, the ordinary means of the trial. The favour of God and conscious obedience to His will on the one hand, with suffering and worldly loss, or God's displeasure and a wounded conscience on the other, with the short-lived favour of the world; which shall it be? Moses must choose between the treasures of Egypt and the reproach of Christ; worldly greatness with idolaters, or "affliction with the people of God."

2. Trial a needful preparation for future service. Daniel and his companions destined to important service in Babylon. God was to be glorified in them as His faithful witnesses. The deliverance of their captive countrymen to be ultimately effected through their influence. Hence the necessity of discipline and trial. The instrument to be prepared and polished. The faith and obedience of these font godly youths to be afterwards severely tested. The trial to commence now, even at the beginning. Smaller trials must prepare for greater ones. The faith that is to face and triumph over the fiery furnace and the lions' den to be made strong by exercise.

3. Self-denial necessary to true religion. Daniel and his friends must choose between the dainties of the king's table and the diet of the humblest slave. A considerable difference to the flesh between the king's savoury dishes and delicious wines, and mere boiled beans and water. But the choice was soon decided on. Grace enabled Daniel, "instead of yielding to the temptations of luxury, voluntarily to subject himself to the humblest fare, that appetite might not betray him into sin." Like his ancestor Moses, he "chose rather to suffer affliction with the people of God than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season." The Master's rule, "If any man will be my disciple, let him deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me." The part of good soldiers of Jesus Christ to "endure hardness." Such endurance and self-denial the means of strengthening character and fitting for service in the world. The pulse itself probably made, even physically, a means towards Daniel's elevation. Protogenes, the celebrated painter, said to have lived on lupins during the seven years he was engaged on his famous picture, "that his judgment might not be clouded by luxurious diet." Calvin even thinks that Daniel might have desired pulse and water, on account of the injurious effects of good living. Auberlen remarks that "he who is to receive or interpret divine revelations, must not feed on the dainties nor drink from the intoxicating cup of this world."

4. Abstinence from what is in itself lawful sometimes a sacred duty. The royal provisions in themselves good, but in the circumstances not to be partaken of by Daniel and his friends without sin and moral defilement. So even in his old age, Daniel for a special religious purpose abstained for a time both from flesh and wine (Dan ). "Every creature of God is good, and to be received with thanksgiving of them that know and believe the truth." But there are times when, for the sake of others, if not for our own, it may be our duty to abstain from the use of some. Christian wisdom and an enlightened conscience needed to direct us in regard to such abstinence. The same Apostle who counselled Timothy to "use a little wine" for his stomach's sake and his frequent infirmities, asserts that "it is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor anything whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak;" and declares for himself, "If meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend" (Rom 14:21; 1Co 8:13). The character of the wines and other intoxicating drinks used in this country, the prevalence of the drinking customs, the continued evidence before our eyes of the terrible effects of the use of these drinks, both physically, socially, and morally, slaying as they do their tens of thousands, and drawing in their train both misery, poverty, disease, and crime—these facts are believed by many to make it the duty of Christian men and women in general, in the exercise of that charity that "pleaseth not itself" and "seeketh not her own," to abstain entirely from the use of these beverages for at least the sake of those who must, one way or other, be influenced by our example.

5. Grace made sufficient for all situations. Grace needed most in times of difficulty and trial. That grace now afforded to Daniel and his friends in their perplexity. To Paul's thrice-repeated prayer that the "thorn in the flesh" might depart from him, the only answer vouchsafed was, "My grace is sufficient for thee; my strength is made perfect in weakness." Believing this, Paul gloried in his infirmities and necessities. Neither tribulation, nor persecution, nor famine, nor nakedness, nor peril, nor sword, able to separate the genuine believer "from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."

6. The value of courage and resolution in the matter of religion. These needful to serve God and keep a good conscience in the world. Constantly verified in the history of the Church, both in Old and New Testament times. To be faithful to God and faithful to the end, one must, like Daniel, "purpose in his heart," and through grace adhere to it. Joshua exhorted more than once before encountering the Canaanites, and marching in to take possession of the land, to "be strong and of a good courage, and not be afraid." Impossible at once to be a faithful Christian and a coward. The "fearful and unbelieving" among those who are excluded from the New Jerusalem (Rev ). "We have received, not the spirit of fear, but of love, and of power, and of a sound mind." He that timidly will save his life shall lose it. The feet to be shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace, in order to tread on briars and scorpions, "and all the power of the enemy." The promise, "Thy shoes shall be iron and brass." In a world up in rebellion against God, His servants need to be "made as an iron pillar and a brazen wall." The exhortation to Ezekiel always needed, "Be not afraid of their faces." Reuben "unstable as water," therefore "unable to excel." Fear makes men deserters; but "if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him." He that putteth his hand to the plough and looketh back is not fit for the kingdom of God,—neither for the enjoyment of it himself or the extension of it to others. A Christian needs to be a hero, and grace makes him one. Faith the foundation of true courage. Through faith, "out of weakness men were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, and turned to flight the armies of the aliens." The faith that is "of the operation of God" makes men heroes, and in religion a man must either be that or nothing.

7. Fidelity to God the best way to favour with men. "When a man's doings please the Lord, He maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him." Psa verified in Daniel and his companions: "He made them to be pitied of them that carried them captives." True religion commends itself even to worldly men. Grace a winning thing. Includes "whatsoever things are comely and of good report." Favour with men not to be bought at the expense of religious principle, and need not be. Daniel found favour with the chief of the eunuchs and yet kept his religion, and indeed by keeping it. Daniel made God's love and favour the first and chief thing, and God gave him in addition the love and favour of men. "The hearts of kings are in the hand of the Lord, and He turneth them as the rills of water." True religion consists in love, and love naturally begets love. Jesus, the embodiment of that religion, "grew in favour with God and men." The experience of Daniel in Babylon that of Joseph in Egypt. The chief of the eunuchs, like the keeper of the prison, won by the becoming behaviour and sweetness of disposition in a youthful Hebrew slave. The youth who pleases God likely to find acceptance with men.

8. The importance of faithfulness in little things. An apparently small matter, the kind of food Daniel should eat or not eat; but God's law made even that a matter of conscience. Fidelity to God and His worship involved in it. Daniel was faithful to his conscience, and desired to be excused from eating what he could not partake of without sin. Thus prepared for proving faithful in greater things—faithful to all his duties and trusts under the king, and faithful to God at the peril of the lions' den. "He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much."

9. The necessity of decision in the matter of religion. A distinct and settled purpose often our safety and preservation in the world. Daniel's purity in Babylon due to his "purposing in his heart." A firm purpose in God's strength to do right, the girdle that binds the spiritual armour together. "I have said that I will keep Thy word." "One shall say, I am the Lord's." "I have sworn, and I will perform it, that I will keep Thy righteous judgments." Jesus Himself an example of such decision. He "steadfastly set His face to go up to Jerusalem." Temptations to turn aside are to be resolutely answered as He answered Peter, "Get thee behind me, Satan; for thou savourest not the things that are of God, but the things that are of men." "When people are in Babylon they have need to take special care that they partake not in Babylon's sins."—Henry. Safety often in a decided "No."

DANIEL A NOTABLE EXAMPLE OF RESOLUTION

"Daniel purposed in his heart"—(Dan )

Resolution both an act and a habit. As a habit, it marks the character of the man who makes a resolution and acts upon it. The habit formed by frequent acts of resolving and acting accordingly. As a habit, resolution a most important part of character. Gives a man moral strength, energy, backbone. Constitutes force of character. Makes a man strong. Forms the hero, the scholar, the statesman, the artist. Makes the successful merchant, the man of science, the philanthropist, and the benefactor of his kind. "I will be a hero," the turning-point in Nelson's history. Reynolds resolves at Rome to study the works of the old masters till he has understood their excellence, and becomes a master himself. Paley at college resolves to shake off his habitual indolence and rise at four o'clock to his studies, and produces works that cannot die. Daniel's resolution in regard to his diet one of the means of strengthening his character and fitting him for future greatness. Each resolution carried out in spite of difficulty or natural reluctance makes a man stronger. An irresolute man a weak man. The part of weakness either to make no resolution, or to make it and fail to keep it. "Resolves and re-resolves, and dies a fool." Broken resolutions leave a man weaker. One resolution kept prepares for keeping the next. A resolution manfully carried out often the turning-point in a man's life and the determination of a man's character. Resolution as an act should be—

1. Made deliberately. Rash resolutions often both foolish and dangerous. Resolutely to carry out such, worse than the making of them. Resolution not to degenerate into obstinacy and wilfulness, as in Herod the Tetrarch, and Pharaoh at the Red Sea. Daniel thought before purposing in his heart. "Ponder the path of thy feet."

2. Directed to what is right. A resolution should be to pursue a right course—to act right, speak right, feel right. Daniel resolved to do what he saw and believed to be his duty. Resolution noble when it is to serve God, do good, and sin not; to be truthful, honest, industrious, kind, obliging; to avoid temptation as far as possible, and to resist it when it comes; to say "No "to every evil suggestion. If still with our back to God, our resolution to be that of the prodigal,—"I will arise and go to my Father." The diseased woman's resolution to press through the crowd and touch the hem of Christ's garment brought health to her body and life to her soul. The Syrophenician mother pressed on with her suit till she obtained a favourable answer, notwithstanding discouragements and repulses, and she succeeded. So Esther resolved, at the risk of her own life, to plead with the king for the lives of her countrymen: "If I perish, I perish."

3. Made in dependence on divine assistance. To make a right resolution needs divine aid; much more to keep it. The spirit willing when the flesh is weak. To will may be present, but how to perform that which is good we find not, and needs divine strength. Resolution to be linked with prayer. Strength given to them that ask for it. Daniel a man of prayer as well as purpose; the latter because the former. Peter resolved to follow his Master even unto death, but, trusting in himself, he denies Him at the challenge of a servant-girl. Neglect of the Saviour's caution, "Watch and pray that ye enter not into temptation," likely to be followed with a fall. "He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool." David's prayer, "Hold Thou me up and I shall be safe."


Verses 11-21

HOMILETICS

SECT. IV.—THE TRIAL (Chap. Dan ).

1. Faith IN God and fidelity TO God sure to be rewarded. "They trusted and were not confounded." "They shall not be ashamed that wait for me." "Them that honour me I will honour." God is a good paymaster, says Kitto; give what we may to Him of faith, or work, or trust, or love, or zeal, He gives back again with large interest. Trust in man or self may disappoint; trust in God never. "Better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in princes." "Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall; but they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength" (Isa ). The trust reposed in God by these four youths, honoured by the blessing received from God on all their undertakings and pursuits.

2. Health and vigour often the result of God's blessing on the humblest fare. Pulse and water, says Matthew Henry, shall be the most nourishing food, if God speak the word. The coarsest food with the divine blessing more conducive to health and good liking than the choicest diet without it. A natural connection with godliness and good looks not to be forgotten. Godliness promotes temperance, temperance health, and health a good complexion. Peace with God brings peace of conscience, serenity of mind, and sweetness of temper; and these the most certain means of bringing sweetness of countenance. One of the promises made to godliness, or godlikeness which is love—"The Lord shall make fat thy bones" (Isa ). "A merry heart doeth good like a medicine." A truly and abidingly merry heart the result of peace with God, trust in God, and obedience to God.

3. The divine blessing the best help to successful study. A sound intelligent mind as well as a sound and healthful body acknowledged even by the heathen to be given by the deity, and to be sought in prayer. One of the favourite gods of the Hindoos is one that is worshipped as the giver of wisdom and helper in study. That study likely to be barren enough that lacks the divine blessing. Daniel's three years' study with that blessing better than others' ten without it. That blessing given in answer to prayer. Hence, bene orasse est bene studuisse,—to have prayed well is to have studied well. He studies to best purpose who has a closet for prayer as well as a study for his books, and who is much in the one as well as in the other. Godliness one of the best teachers. "I understand more than the ancients, because I keep Thy precepts,"—a sentiment of which Daniel himself may have been the author. The most prayerful and conscientious usually the most proficient student. Hence the knowledge even of difficult languages so readily acquired by missionaries to the heathen, enabling them not only to preach the gospel, but to translate the Scriptures in the vernacular language. The late William C. Burn enabled to converse and preach in Chinese in a wonderfully short time after his arrival in the country. "We count it reasonable," says Kitto, "to look to the Lord for our daily bread, and to apply to Him for aid and guidance in the trials and emergencies of life. But how few are they who seek for the same aid from Him, and feel the same dependence upon Him, in matters of the intellect,—in learning, in study, in thought! It is very reasonable and becoming,—it is very necessary,—that when we go forth to the toil and business of the day, or when our affairs present perplexing difficulties, we should cast ourselves upon the Lord's protection, and look to Him for counsel and guidance. But is it,—can it be,—less needful that, when we sit down to write, to study, to think, we should lift up our hearts trustingly to Him?" Kitto himself an eminent example of the truth he teaches.

4. True piety the frequent path to worldly promotion. "Length of days is in her right hand, and in her left hand riches and honour." Daniel in Babylon and Joseph in Egypt distinguished examples. Worldly honour and advancement in God's hand. "Promotion cometh neither from the east, nor from the west, nor from the south: but God is judge; He putteth down one and setteth up another" (Psa ). God promotes His servants in the world as He sees to be most for His own glory and the good of themselves and others. Such promotion often a natural consequence of true piety. Godliness, even on natural grounds, "profitable unto all things." Makes a man more faithful, conscientious, truthful, honest, unselfish; hence more trustworthy and reliable. True piety connected with the exercise of thought; hence tends to make a man intelligent and prudent, even though poorly educated. Makes him acquainted with the best and most elevating book, the Bible; and gives him the best and most efficient teacher, the Holy Spirit. Hence a man with true godliness, though less gifted by nature and providence, more likely to acquire advancement in the world than a man more highly gifted without it.

5. God's purposes and promises sure of fulfilment. Means for accomplishing divine purposes never wanting. Daniel's good appearance, proficiency in study, and superior intelligence, with their result, his elevation at court, part of the means for accomplishing the divine purpose and promise in regard to Israel's restoration. The same true of Daniel's longevity. His life extended to about ninety years, in order to accomplish the purpose for which God had raised him up and sent him an exile to Babylon. His influence with Cyrus to be the principal means of leading that monarch, in the very first year of his reign, to liberate the Jewish captives, then under his dominion. An easy thing with God to make slaves and exiles, like Joseph in Egypt and Daniel in Babylon, his honoured instruments in accomplishing His designs in reference to His people, His kingdom, and the world. "I will work, and who shall let it?"

6. A happy issue given to a believer out of all his troubles. Believers have troubles promised to them, but with the troubles a joyous deliverance out of them. The angel "that redeemed Jacob from all evil" still lives, and does the same for all Jacob's faithful children. With the godly, the end better than the beginning. "Always better on before." Their latter end peace, whatever their previous experience. Those who mourn with Zion in her sorrows sometimes spared to rejoice with her in her joys. Daniel, after all his sorrow for his people, spared to see the promise made by Jeremiah fulfilled,—to see, at least in its beginning, "the good of Jerusalem and peace upon Israel." "Weeping may endure for a night; joy cometh in the morning."

 


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Bibliography Information
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on Daniel 1:4". Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/phc/daniel-1.html. Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1892.

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Sunday, December 15th, 2019
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