the First Week of Advent
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Charles Spurgeon's "Morning & Evening"
“Whether ye eat or drink, do all to the glory of God.”
Daniel 1:3 , Daniel 1:4
This prudent monarch sought to increase the splendour and influence of the Chaldean court by having men of intelligence near at hand. He had probably made a selection from the noble families of other subjugated nations, and now he did the same with the captives brought from Judah.
And the king appointed them a daily provision of the king’s meat or food
They were to be thus honourably sustained and duly educated, till their personal beauty and mental gifts would be developed, and they would become fit attendants upon his majesty.
Daniel whose name signifies “judge of God”
Belteshazzar or Bel’s favourite
Hananiah, of Shadrach or young friend of the king
Mishael, of Meshach which probably means the lamb
Azariah, of Abed-nego or servant of Nebo. There may be little in a name to some persons, but upon others titles have very great influence; nevertheless, these three holy youths were not perverted from their faith: their names were changed, but not their natures.
The kings food was such as Hebrews were forbidden to eat, and his wine had most probably been consecrated to idols by libations, therefore Daniel endeavoured to avoid defilement.
Daniel 1:12 , Daniel 1:13
and let them give us pulse or vegetable diet only
Their temperate living had promoted rather than injured their health, an experience which has been confirmed in hundreds of instances; moreover, the Lord whom they so scrupulously obeyed, saw to it that they should not suffer. Be it ours to follow the right course with care, and no harm can come of it.
Thus by courteously requesting the favour, and submitting cheerfully to the officers test, Daniel and his friends gained their point, which they might not have done had they been rude and rash. Gentleness wins where roughness would utterly fail. The decision and wisdom shown by these four young men are an example to us all.
“He knoweth what is in the darkness.”
Daniel 2:1-9 , Daniel 2:12-24
Daniel 2:8 , Daniel 2:9
or get a respite during which the king might calm down,
Daniel 2:8 , Daniel 2:9
He argued rightly, that persons who could really foretell things to come by interpreting a dream could also tell the dream itself; and if they failed to do so, they were self condemned as base impostors, for whom no sentence could be too severe. The Chaldeans pleaded their inability and the unreasonableness of the kings request, but all in vain.
Daniel 2:17 , Daniel 2:18
Prayer appealed to the omniscient One, and discovered the key of the mystery. In our worst plights let us pray.
Prayer went before, and praise follows after. Prayer obtains the blessing, and praise acknowledges it; never let us fail to praise the Lord for mercies received.
Faith, assured that her prayer was heard, acted with courage. Daniel did not fear a failure, he knew in whom his faith reposed. May the like faith be in us.