As is always without fail, God watched over his word to perform it. For 23 years God put his word in the heart and mind of Jeremiah to deliver to his people referencing their captivity. And without fail the people of God rejected his spoken word through the mouth of Jeremiah. One of the things that has greatly perturbed me in reading the ways of Old Testament people, the people during the brief years of Christ, early New Testament people and latter New Testament people of which we are today is; the failure to see and hear God. Believers, my confession today is that I get really warm under the collar hearing the smack that was spoken to God from people who are living only because of him. I get warm under the collar when I see the abuse and read about the murders of the prophets by people who are too ignorant to realize that the words spoken by the prophets was wisdom and insight that the prophet would not have had the ability to even utter if it was not for God imparting His word into their hearts and minds. Their intellect and knowledge was not that profound, wasn’t that high or wasn’t that deep, as many to most of us can say. If you read your bibles and cannot see all God, then something is totally wrong. We get caught up in the hero’s and the men and women of action but fail many times to see God. When I open my bible, I’m looking for my God, my Creator, my Savior, my Friend, my Deliverer, my Prince of Peace. I’m looking for the Great I am, The Holy and Righteous One, the Promise Keeper. I’m looking for the Good Shepherd, The Lover of my soul. I’m looking for the Solid Rock on whom I stand and the Rock who is higher than I. I’m looking for the River of Life, the Sovereign God. I’m Looking for the Living Word. I’m looking for the Matchless One, the Majestic One. I am looking for the Supreme Authority. I am looking for the Self Existing One, and I look for the Bread of life. I look for the God of Rest and the God of insurmountable grace.  I look for the God of truth who speaks truth. I look for the God of all knowledge and the God who in character; changes not. There is much more to who God is and believe you me, when I go into the written word, I look for Him of whom I have still yet more to discover. I look beyond the vessels used to see the User of the vessels.

When I read my word and the histories of man’s interactions with God, I find myself constantly apologizing to the God head bodily. I find myself constantly praying and asking forgiveness on the behalf of an ignorant people from Old Testament to the present. God isn’t like the Babylonian gods that we will read about. He isn’t deaf, blind, cripple or crazy. He is not wood, stone, or any inanimate object. He is a living God, a God with emotions, a God with a heart. If we can open our bibles and cannot see a living God perhaps, we’re reading a book that belongs to someone else. Perhaps we’ve picked up a book that isn’t ours.

The book of Daniel is going to take us to our Sovereign God. The book of Daniel will take us to the very control of God in the world. The book of Daniel takes us to God in the White House. The book takes us to God reigning in the rule of man. Saying this informs us that man is still not in charge. Let us begin.

This is the message that Jeremiah the prophet spoke to all the people of Judah and all the people of Jerusalem: I have been a prophet for these past 23 years, from the 13th year that Josiah’s son of Amon was the king of Judah. And from that time until today, I have spoken messages to you from the Lord again and again. But you have not listened. The Lord has sent his servants, the prophets, to you over and over again. But you have not listened to them. You have not paid any attention to them.Those prophets said, “Change your lives and stop doing evil! If you change, you can return to the land that the Lord gave you and your ancestors long ago. He gave you this land to live in forever. Don’t follow other gods. Don’t serve or worship them. Don’t worship idols that someone has made. That only makes me angry with you. By doing this you only hurt yourselves.” “But you did not listen to me.” This message is from the Lord. “You worshiped idols that someone made, and that made me angry. And it only hurt you.” So this is what the Lord All-Powerful says, “You have not listened to my messages. I will soon send for all the tribes of the north.” This message is from the Lord. “I will soon send for King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. He is my servant. I will bring those people against the land of Judah and against the people of Judah. I will bring them against all the nations around you too. I will destroy all those countries. I will make those lands like an empty desert forever. People will see those countries, and whistle at how badly they were destroyed. 10 I will bring an end to the sounds of joy and happiness in those places. There will be no more happy sounds of the brides and bridegrooms. I will take away the sound of people grinding meal. I will take away the light of the lamp. 11 That whole area will be an empty desert. All these people will be slaves of the king of Babylon for 70 years. 12 “But when the 70 years have passed, I will punish the king of Babylon. I will punish the nation of Babylon.” This message is from the Lord. “I will punish the land of the Babylonians for their sins.

SOVEREIGN is a title, word and or name that carries a powerful meaning. Sovereign means {1} highest in power or authority {2} having independent authority {3} of the most important kind; a sovereign duty.

We want to hang out at definition number two for a moment. Sovereign means having independent authority. This is saying that God is not subject to the rule or control of any one or any thing. Sovereign means that there is an absence of a superior power or authority. In other words, there is no other authority higher than the authority of God. He does not have to give account nor answer to any one. God doesn’t have a boss, He is the boss!! He can rule and reign in all given authority of man without question and no one human or angelic can rule in his authority without being given permission by him. When permission is granted by God do know that accountability to him is required of him to whom permission or authority has been granted, be he human or angelic. With this being said, definition number one takes the highest meaning of the word sovereign: HIGHEST IN POWER AND AUTHORITY.

According to history, the 70 years of captivity where Daniel and his companions; Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah were captured and deported to Babylon was the second wave of captivity for the Hebrews. We will mention the first wave of captivity by Babylon further in our discourses. Just as God had spoken of what would come to be, came. Was the captivity a prediction?  Yes. Let me explain the word prediction. Personally, I don’t like using the word prediction when it comes to God simply because of the meaning that the word holds. PREDICTION with its example means: what someone thinks will happen. A prediction is a forecast, but not only about the weather. Pre means “before” and diction has to do with talking. So, a prediction is a statement about the future. It’s a guess, sometimes based on facts or evidence, but not always. A fortune teller makes a prediction using a crystal ball. A meteorologist uses maps and scientific data to tell us about the possibility of rain, snow or sunshine. ( From the definitions provided you may possibly have insight to my less love for the word prediction in reference to The Most High God. God is omniscient, which means He knows all. Omniscient means:    having complete or unlimited knowledge, awareness, or understanding; perceiving all things. In my opinion the word prediction is geared more towards man than it is to God. God states facts, He doesn’t guess and everything that He says is going to be or happen will be and will happen. The word omniscient can only be equated to God.  Computers have been programmed with an insurmountable amount of knowledge yet the knowledge it holds in its data banks in comparison to the knowledge and wisdom of God is finite or has limits or bounds. One prime example that I will share is this: An associate minister and very good friend of mine shared with me one of her witnessing experiences. She was witnessing to a young lady referencing God and the young lady’s union with God. The minister shared with the young lady about the book of life stating that whosoever name was not found in God’s book of life will be cast into the lake of fire where there would be weeping and gnashing of teeth. In other words, pain and torment. (Revelation 20:15). The young lady jumped up and ran to her computer to pull up God’s book of life to see if her name was written there. Of course the information the young lady sought could not be found. Why didn’t the computer hold this information in its data? Why doesn’t the computer hold the information of Jesus’ return and hold the name of the man of sin and his arrival? These things are reserved in God’s data banks and is only revealed in His timing and in His way.

The captivity was the spoken will of God. Through the prophet Jeremiah God said “Hey yall let me tell you about what I am going to do. Listen to what I am about to do with you. It doesn’t matter what is said to the contrary, I have told you beforehand.” Now why the people thought God was lying or joking is beyond me. Captivity had come once before, and it was coming again. Repeat simply says there is nothing new under the sun. As God said, He sent or summoned King Nebuchadnezzar to bring into captivity His people. Nebuchadnezzar thought his conquest of the people of God was of His own doings, yet as we can see from proceeding scripture reading, God spoke in advance what He was going to do. We will now enter into the sovereign reign of God in the rule of man. In other words, we will begin to see how governmental officials are under the rule of God even though they as well as man or the commoners think that man is in charge.

 Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came to Jerusalem and surrounded it with his army. This happened during the third year that Jehoiakim was king of Judah. The Lord allowed Nebuchadnezzar to defeat Jehoiakim king of Judah. Nebuchadnezzar took all the dishes and other things from God’s Temple and carried them to Babylon. He put those things in the temple of his gods. Then King Nebuchadnezzar ordered Ashpenaz, the man in charge of his officials, to bring some of the boys into the palace to train them. He was to include boys from among the Israelites, from important Judean families, and from the royal family of Judah. King Nebuchadnezzar wanted only healthy boys who did not have any bruises, scars, or anything wrong with their bodies. He wanted handsome, smart young men who were able to learn things quickly and easily to serve in his palace. He told Ashpenaz to teach these young men the language and writings of the Chaldeans. King Nebuchadnezzar gave the young men a certain amount of food and wine every day. This was the same kind of food that he ate. He wanted them to be trained for three years. After that they would become servants of the king of Babylon. Among those young men were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah from the tribe of Judah. Ashpenaz gave them Babylonian names. Daniel’s new name was Belteshazzar, Hananiah’s was Shadrach, Mishael’s was Meshach, and Azariah’s was Abednego. Daniel did not want to eat the king’s rich food and wine because it would make him unclean. So he asked Ashpenaz for permission not to make himself unclean in this way. God caused Ashpenaz, the man in charge of the officials, to be kind and loyal to Daniel. 10 But Ashpenaz told Daniel, “I am afraid of my master, the king. He ordered me to give you this food and drink. If you don’t eat this food, you will begin to look weak and sick. You will look worse than other young men your age. The king will see this, and he will become angry with me. He might cut off my head. And it would be your fault.” 11 Then Daniel talked to the guard who had been put in charge of Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah by Ashpenaz. 12 He said, “Please give us this test for ten days: Don’t give us anything but vegetables to eat and water to drink. 13 Then after ten days, compare us with the other young men who eat the king’s food. See for yourself who looks healthier, and then decide how you want to treat us, your servants.” 14 So the guard agreed to test Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah for ten days. 15 After ten days, Daniel and his friends looked healthier than all the young men who ate the king’s food. 16 So the guard continued to take away the king’s special food and wine and to give only vegetables to Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. 17 God gave these four young men the wisdom and ability to learn many different kinds of writing and science. Daniel could also understand all kinds of visions and dreams. 18 At the end of the three years of training, Ashpenaz brought all the young men to King Nebuchadnezzar. 19 The king talked to them and found that none of the young men were as good as Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah. So, these four young men became the king’s servants. 20 Every time the king asked them about something important, they showed great wisdom and understanding. The king found they were ten times better than all the magicians and wise men in his kingdom. 21 So Daniel served the king until the first year that Cyrus was king.

In reading the account of this first chapter of Daniel, my attention was brought to the fact that Daniel and his compatriots were placed under the authority of Alphenaz who the governing official over the eunuchs at the palace. Seeing this indicates that Daniel and his compatriots were made eunuchs as well. These boys were quite young when they went into captivity. Some research says the boys were 14 years old or above. Being made a eunuch had to be a very traumatizing experience for these young boys. Nebuchadnezzar wanted what he wanted and would not have anything ruin what he wanted. The boys were from the royal and noble family of the tribe of Judah. Nebuchadnezzar wanted these young men to go into a three-year training of learning the language, the literature and the arts of the Babylonians.  It appears that the King wanted to strip the Jewish boys of their heritage and culture and wanted them conformed to the life and ways of the Babylonians. Nebuchadnezzar didn’t want his hopes and dreams for the young men to come to ruin by them getting involved with girls. That kind of involvement could have, in his opinion ruined their lives for his cause. In wanting the boys to fulfill his purposes in the Babylonian kingdom the boy’s names were changed from the names with meanings that connected them to Yahweh the true and living God. He changed their names to ones that would connect them to the idols, the Baals and the false gods of the Babylonians. The name Daniel meant “God is my judge. Nebuchadnezzar changed his name to Beltshazzar which meant” the keeper of the treasure of Baal who was a heathen god. Hananiah whose name means YAH {Yaweh} is gracious, was named Shadrach, which means command of the moon god. Mishael’s whose name means “who is what God is,” name was changed to Meshach which meant the goddess Shach and Azariah’s whose name means YAH {Yahweh} has helped, name was changed to Abednego, the fire God. It didn’t matter what their names were changed to, the Hebrew boys maintained their stand and faith in the true and living God. It didn’t matter what their names were changed to, they were determined to keep the commandment of the Lord; “You shall have no other God’s before me.” (Exodus 20:3) “They may have been physically removed from their heritages and cultures, but their hearts were connected to the living God and that could not be taken away. They may have suffered some things in their physical bodies but their stand for the Most High God, their faith and their trust went beyond the physical.  They may have been denied some physical and earthly privileges of joy in a union with a female companion yet, their companionship with God outweighed the temporariness of an earthly union. At young ages these boys took their stand for righteousness. I personally feel that we do these servants of God an injustice when we address them by the names of pagan Gods. For as long as I can remember, in hearing the story of the Hebrew boys no preacher to my knowledge has ever taken a sermon referencing Daniel by the Babylonian name of Belteshazzar. Jesus didn’t address Daniel by the pagan name when he spoke of Daniel.

Ashpenaz: Ashpenaz was the chief eunuch of the court in Baylon and took (the prophet) Daniel (of the lion’s den) under wing, along with Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah (of the fiery furnace). Ashpenaz, the caregiver/caretaker, was a eunuch

Eunuch: : a castrated man placed in charge of a harem or employed as a chamberlain in a palace. 2 : a man or boy deprived of the testes or external genitals.

There are many who will not agree with the very thought of Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah being made eunuchs and you don’t have to agree until truth has been revealed. Keep in mind that being called into the service of God does not always yield roses and sweet spices. Being a soldier doesn’t guarantee going through the battle unscathed. Being a soldier does not mean you won’t be imprisoned: ask Apostle Paul, Silas, and Peter. Being a soldier in the army of the Lord doesn’t mean you will not be stoned; ask Stephen a man of unusual faith.(Acts6:8-8:3). Being a soldier does not mean that you may not be physically afflicted: ask Jesus. God in the flesh was wounded, beaten, and bruised while being in his own service.  He was beaten so bad that if people didn’t know who he was they would not have recognized him. Being a soldier does not mean that you will not be killed on the battlefield: ask the many prophets of old who were killed for the messages and the warnings that God sent them to give to his people.  And just why do you suppose the apostles were killed or martyred? In some places in the world today men and women are receiving battle scars and some are put to death for carrying and wearing the name of Jesus and by this we mean they are carrying the message of Jesus Christ and they have put on Christ in their lifestyles. The honest truth about the martyrdom of believers in both old and new testament history and even new testament today is; people are actually heated with God and hate him but there is not one thing that can be personally done to God so instead, their anger with God and their hatred for God is taken out on the servants of God. The following are the spoken words of Jesus. (John 15:18-25) New International Version.

1“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you. 20 Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master. If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also. If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also. 21 They will treat you this way because of my name, for they do not know the one who sent me. 22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin; but now they have no excuse for their sin. 23 Whoever hates me hates my Father as well. 24 If I had not done among them the works no one else did, they would not be guilty of sin. As it is, they have seen, and yet they have hated both me and my Father. 25 But this is to fulfill what is written in their Law: ‘They hated me without reason.’ Psalms 35:19; 69:4

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