Making Daniels – a Vacation Bible School Message

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Daniel 1:1-6 (KJV) In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem, and besieged it. 2 And the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into his hand, with part of the vessels of the house of God: which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his god; and he brought the vessels into the treasure house of his god. 3 And the king spake unto Ashpenaz the master of his eunuchs, that he should bring certain of the children of Israel, and of the king’s seed, and of the princes; 4 Children in whom was no blemish, but well favored, and skillful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science, and such as had ability in them to stand in the king’s palace, and whom they might teach the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans. 5 And the king appointed them a daily provision of the king’s meat, and of the wine which he drank: so nourishing them three years, that at the end thereof they might stand before the king. 6 Now among these were of the children of Judah, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: … 8 But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.

Every year about this time we as a Church sponsor a Vacation Bible School. Some of our members will take this as a time to “take off from Church”, to go to the park, to take a vacation. Some will justify their taking off by saying to themselves, “My children are grown, my grandchildren are not here. I don’t have anything to do, so I’ll just make myself scarce”.

May I say dear friends that the children are the future of our country and the future of our Church. As goes the children, so goes our nation.

When God was going to send Israel into the Promised Land He cried out to His people, saying:

Deuteronomy 6:4-7 (KJV) Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD: 5 And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. 6 And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: 7 And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.

God commands His people to love Him with all they have, but also to teach the children to love Him with all they have.

Children are fertile soil.
They can be taught hatred, or they can be taught love.
A child can be taught to trust in God or to trust in man.
A child can be taught to believe in a Loving Creator or to be Socialist in their faith.

The Bible says:

Galatians 6:7 (KJV) Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

Children must be taught, and will be taught. A child will be taught respect for authority and how to be a good citizen in the land and in God’s Kingdom, or else the child will be taught that he or she is god above all. A child is taught humility or narcissism. A child will record – from its earliest days – what it is taught by you or by someone else. It is a fact that the first things learned are what the child will do as an adult.

Proverbs 22:6 (KJV) Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

A child trained to love the Lord will more often than not love the Lord later in life. A child trained to love himself will grow up selfish and greedy. We see this in the Book of Daniel. Daniel grew up in a Judah that was fallen from God.

Jehoiakim Was A Child Before He Was A King

Daniel 1:1 (KJV) In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah came Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon unto Jerusalem, and besieged it.

As we start reading the Book of Daniel we don’t start with Daniel but Jehoiakim. Who was Jehoiakim? Jehoiakim was an evil King of Judah. He came to the throne when he was 25 years old. The Bible tells us:

2 Kings 23:36-37 (KJV) Jehoiakim was twenty and five years old when he began to reign; and he reigned eleven years in Jerusalem. … And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his fathers had done.

Though Jehoiakim reigned eleven years in Jerusalem, all but three of those years he reigned as a puppet king or a vassal of Babylon. King Nebuchadnezzar came into Jerusalem and overthrew Judah, taking over Jehoiakim’s kingdom. But it was not Nebuchadnezzar who really conquered Judah. The One that conquered Judah was GOD. Jehoiakim was raised without Christ, and when he took the throne “he did evil in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his FATHERS had done”. He did what he was taught. The Bible commands us:

Ephesians 6:4 (KJV) … fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

Children must be taught the things of God.

I read with bemusement an idiotic article the other day written at the liberal and obnoxious Huffington Post. In the article the author accused Christians and brainwashing their children by taking them to Church, reading Bible stories to them, and having them attend Vacation Bible School. The author accused those who did so of being child abusers. How foolish! What a child is taught is what the child will grow up to be, and if we do not teach our children someone will. It is not abusive to teach a child the Gospel of salvation and that God loves them. The Scripture says:

Psalms 127:3 (KJV) Lo, children are a heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.

Children are precious gifts from God, but children must be taught of God. They must be taught of His Word. They must be taught of His Gospel. This is the responsibility of EVERY ADULT, whether you have children in your home or not. If you will not assist in training them they will grow up like Jehoiakim,

doing evil in the sight of the Lord

You say “but this will not impact MY life”. I beg to differ. We read:

Daniel 1:2 (KJV) … the Lord gave Jehoiakim king of Judah into {Nebuchadnezzar’s} hand, with part of the vessels of the house of God: which he carried into the land of Shinar to the house of his god; and he brought the vessels into the treasure house of his god.

Because Jehoiakim was not raised to love God, and because he as that Judah’s king “did evil in the sight of God”, the LORD GAVE THE NATION INTO A HEATHEN KING’S HAND. Failure to train the children to love the Lord in our nation has caused this nation to become postChristian and godless.

God turned Judah over to Babylon. He in effect said “If you’re going to act like unbelievers, I’ll let you be run by unbelievers”. That was God’s judgment. But God even went farther. Nebuchadnezzar took “part of the vessels of the house of God” to Babylon, and used these vessels to worship his false god.

God shut the Church down!
God shut the Church down!
God shut the Church down!

Judah is under siege. The nation has been invaded by a foreign power. The people can no longer worship God in the Temple because many of the necessities and furnishings have been taken away. This is like a bad nightmare. But what else is going on? We read:

Daniel 1:3-4 (KJV) And the king {Nebuchadnezzar} spake unto Ashpenaz the master of his eunuchs, that he should bring certain of the children of Israel, and of the king’s seed, and of the princes; 4 Children in whom was no blemish, but well favored, and skillful in all wisdom, and cunning in knowledge, and understanding science, and such as had ability in them to stand in the king’s palace, and whom they might teach the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans.

King Nebuchadnezzar decided that he would take the best children from Judah and send them to Babylon to indoctrinate them and use them in that godless land. These were called “children” (the Hebrew BEN orבֵּן) in verse 3, and (יֶלֶד yeled) in verse 4. These are words used for young children, probably (based on the fact that they had to be:

skillful in wisdom
cunning in knowledge
understanding science (able to reason)
ability to stand (and not run around)

This tells us that the children were not to be very young, but probably were TEENAGERS who were gifted. These children were taken from their families through no fault of their own. They were placed in a godless and foreign environment to be taught the ways of the unbeliever.

Daniel 1:5 (KJV) the king appointed them a daily provision of the king’s meat, and of the wine which he drank: so nourishing them three years, that at the end thereof they might stand before the king.

These children were put into a THREE YEAR training program. At the end of those three years they were going to have to stand before King Nebuchadnezzar and be tested. If they did not make the grade it was highly likely these children would either be killed, or at the least sold as slaves into hard service.

Daniel Was A Child Before He Went Before The King

Daniel 1:6 (KJV) Now among these were of the children of Judah, Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah:

You may recognize the name of Daniel, but the other three names you may not. We find out shortly though who these other three young people are.

Daniel 1:7 (KJV) Unto whom the prince of the eunuchs gave names: for he gave unto Daniel the name of Belteshazzar; and to Hananiah, of Shadrach; and to Mishael, of Meshach; and to Azariah, of Abednego.

This is Daniel, and his three friends Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. These young teens were in a terrible place. Taken from their parents, and robbed of their homeland, they are put in a foreign palace and forced to learn Babylonian things. Babylon took everything away from Daniel and his friends. They took their names away.

Names mean something in the Bible.

Daniel” means “my Judge is God”
He was renamed “Belteshazzar” which means “The god BEL is my father”

“Hananiah” means “Yahweh Gave Me Grace”
He was renamed “Shadrach” which means “A Little Friend Of The King”

“Mishael” means “Imitator Of God”
He was renamed “Meshach” which means “The Guest Of The King”


“Azariah”
means “Yahweh Helps Me”
He was renamed “Abednego” meaning “A Servant of the god Nebo”

These four teenagers were renamed in an attempt to remove their identities. They lost their mommas and daddies, their brothers and sisters. They were taken from school and bused away from their friends. They lost everything, but that which is greatest.

They know Who Their God is!

Daniel and his three friends loved the Lord. They had been taught the truths of God. In this foreign palace strange foods were set before them. As a follower of God there were certain things that Daniel could not eat at this time. The Bible says:

Daniel 1:8 (KJV) … 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:…

I love how this is written. Think of it. Dwell on it!

Daniel purposed in his heart

That which defined Daniel was not his name, nor peer pressure, nor what was going on around him. His heart was set on God. Daniel had been taught by his parents:

1 Corinthians 6:20 (KJV) For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.

Neither Nebuchadnezzar nor his circumstances defined Daniel. What defined Daniel was his living relationship with God. Christ walked with him. He had been taught:

Colossians 3:1-4 (KJV) If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. 2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. 4 When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.

What did Daniel purpose in his heart? The Bible says:

Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile HIMSELF

Daniel saw any compromise with the godless a defilement of HIMSELF. Listen Beloved. When you get drunk you do not defile God, you defile YOURSELF. When you do drugs you do not defile God, you defile YOURSELF. When you sleep with a woman not your wife you defile YOURSELF. When you lay down with a man who is a hound dog, you defile YOURSELF. The Bible says:

Romans 6:23 (KJV) For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

When you do that which God says is SIN then SIN will DO YOU IN!
Sin never defiles God.
It defiles us. It hurts us.

Carry a grudge, defile yourself. Eat what God told you NOT to eat, defile yourself. Don’t believe me? Ask Adam. He ate himself out of Paradise. Sin destroys. Daniel and his three friends had been taught this. Daniel did not want to defile himself by sinning against God. So what does he do? Is he defiant? No. He respects those in authority over him. He was raised to respect authority in the family. We read:

Daniel 1:8 (KJV) … {Daniel} requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.

He “requested”. He did not demand. He respected the authority that God allowed over him. The Scripture says:

Romans 13:1 (KJV) Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.

Daniel was where he was because God ordained it. But Daniel did not want to dishonor himself by dishonoring God. So Daniel went to his boss and asked that he not eat that which would dishonor his God. Do you know what happened? God supported Daniel. We read:

Daniel 1:9 (KJV) Now God had brought Daniel into favour and tender love with the prince of the eunuchs.

God can control a heart. The Scripture says:

Proverbs 21:1 (KJV) The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.

God touched Daniel’s master. Daniel and his earthly master began to discuss the matter. The Eunuch said:

Daniel 1:10 (KJV) … I fear my lord the king, who hath appointed your meat and your drink: for why should he see your faces worse liking than the children which are of your sort? then shall ye make me endanger my head to the king.

The Eunuch was in charge of training and feeding these young slaves. If he failed in his duties then he would literally lose his head. But Daniel replied:

Daniel 1:12-13 (KJV) Prove thy servants, I beseech thee, ten days; and let them give us pulse to eat, and water to drink. 13 Then let our countenances be looked upon before thee, and the countenance of the children that eat of the portion of the king’s meat: and as thou seest, deal with thy servants.

Daniel proposed a ten day trial. He and his friends were to be given zeroa` or vegetables and water for ten days. They went on a vegetarian diet. At the end of that period if they were not as healthy as the other youth then Daniel said “we’ll go back to doing it your way”. Daniel trusted God, and left the matter in God’s hands. What happened? It was just as Daniel said. God gave the youth healthier appearances.

God is in control. God is always in control.

God was in control when the little baby Moses was placed in an ark by his mother, and floated into the arms of the Princess of Egypt. Had Moses remained a slave he would never have been able to write. But as an adopted child of the King he was given an education, and wrote the Books of the Law.

God is in control. God is always in control.

When Joseph was sold as a slave into Egypt by his brothers, it was because God is in control. Joseph became right hand man to the King of Egypt, and through him Israel grew into a mighty nation.

God is in control. God is always in control.

When Daniel and his friends were taken into captivity, it was so that one day wise men would come to announce the birth of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Daniel and his friends were trained by parents who loved them, and taught them of Jesus. Their relationship with Christ would carry them through many bad times. In fact, at the end of their three years of training Daniel and his friends would not only succeed, but …

Daniel 1:20 (KJV) And in all matters of wisdom and understanding, that the king inquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm.

Do you want your child to succeed in life? Teach them of Christ. Teach them to love God. The children we teach this week will grow up in Christ or in Satan. Which do you think is best for our nation?

May God touch your hearts with His Word.

About bibleteacherorg

A searching Pastor, I am looking for a people who love the Lord and love one another. Daily I pray for the Church. Most of what the world sees today is not the Church, but clubs pretending to be the Church. God is calling to Himself a people willing to be righteous, not self righteous, serving not served. I am called to pastor God's people, those who want to change the world by willingly and willfully following Jesus Christ. Only God is able to change the world, and we must follow His Christ. He is able! Praise His Name! Come quickly Lord Jesus!
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