When a Bible School Student gets to his third year of preparing for the ministry, he could easily get ants in the pants and want to leave school and enter the ministry immediately. The waiting for the third year to pass seems so long. Yes that was true in my case, yet once I had my own Church it seems I had exhausted my knowledge within three months and wished I could have had an additional year in training. Courses are designed to cover certain vital subjects … but once in the ministry, you are on your own and the hard work starts! Daniel and his friends three years of study and preparation came to an end. It was time to enter the service of the king.
1) The students were presented to king Nebuchadnezzar. He sent them for training and he wanted to see them, interview them and naturally decide where to place them in his government.
Da 1:18 At the end of the time set by the king to bring them in, the chief official presented them to Nebuchadnezzar
They served their full three years. They completed their course. Many don’t follow through to the end. Be it doing Bible School, a college diploma or a university degree, we need to be in prayer for those we know, that they will be faithful and go the distance. There are far too many failures. Notice the word “them” in verse 18. This does not only refer to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah alone, it refers to all those selected in verse 3. They all completed the three year course and each one was presented to the king to be interviewed. It is a tragic thing when people do not meet a superior and his team for an interview before starting to work. In our own time we have experienced many people employed without going through these interviews and the result is them becoming a handicap to the company, church or government.
2) The interview yielded important information for the king.
Da 1:19 The king talked with them, and he found none equal to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah; so they entered the king’s service.
The interview is not described, but rest assured Nebuchadnezzar was not king because people liked him. He was a warrior-king. His peers often described him as the greatest military leader of the Neo-Babylonian Empire. He ruled from 605 – 562 BC in the area around the Tigris-Euphrates basin. His leadership saw numerous military successes and the construction of building works such as the famous Ishtar Gate. He was shrewd, ordered and clever. No one becomes as great as he was without understanding the needs of government, military and control. Out of all those who completed the “three year degree at the University of Babylon”, none were equal to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. They were top of the class … and the one examining them was none other than this pagan king himself. The interview gave the king an insight into the character, personality and morality of these four men. He was not disappointed … rather he was please … and appointed them onto his staff and payroll. How was this possible? The Sovereign God was with them, preparing them for challenging, yet exciting service. Believers need to work hard, study hard and pray hard so that they will do their best at the school they are in. This does not mean they will score the highest year end marks but it must lead to us being “found unequalled” in wisdom, knowledge, discernment and application, because the Sovereign God is with us. He “causes” His faithful servants to succeed. I believe the best employee and the best manager ought to be the child of God.
3) The spiritual people of God outshine the occultic pagans.
Da 1:20 In every matter of wisdom and understanding about which the king questioned them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in his whole kingdom.
We do not know the content of the course other than grasping what the words wisdom and understanding mean.
(a) The word “wisdom”, as it is used here refers to objective knowledge (science) and
(b) Understanding refers to the powers of perception and insight enabling the mind to make proper distinctions and so to arrive at accuracy of knowledge. (EJ Young). Another said that the force of the wording means “wisdom regulated by understanding”. These men were found to be ten times better than any other “wise men” throughout his kingdom of Babylon. Commentators can’t find an explanation for “ten times better” other than to say, these men were superior. Perhaps to understand the exact meaning is to refer back to
Da 1:17 To these four young men God gave knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning.
Never underestimate those whom God called and equips for service. As an aside I must say that some might think they are called and equipped, but are not. The proof is in the fruits if their ministry and life, souls being saved and a real desire for holiness through repentant living. Yet the called and equipped know something of what these four men were credited with by God. It was not secular wisdom for there is no such thing. Wisdom flows from a heart that is made alive to the things of God, desiring, wanting and hankering for true spiritual food! Listen to our Master’s Words
Jn 15:15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business.
Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. See that? Those appointed by Jesus know the Father’s Business because everything Jesus learned from the Father, He in turn taught (made known) to his followers. What was this? Gospel … for the whole Bible is the workings of the Gospel! Paul puts it like this
1Co 2:16 But we have the mind of Christ. God equips and empowers for service.
They were superior to … all the magicians and enchanters in his whole kingdom. These were people who used occult arts to achieve “wisdom and knowledge” … to provide the king with answers. The “magicians and astrologers (enchanters) used satanic means … no wonder God’s men outshone them. They had the mind of Christ where the others had the mind of the devil! No comparison. An important take away today is that we need education … but more importantly we need to be educated by the Holy Spirit through being in a Church where the Bible is explained accurately, the Gospel preached faithfully, the Holy Spirit having full sway and in being depended upon and the Lord Jesus installed as the True King in our hearts.
Our Precious and Majestic Father, You amaze us as we see Your absolute sovereignty at work. May we experience this personally please? Amen.