Tale of Two Kings – Daniel 1

JehoiakimI am working on a message on Daniel 1.  The Hebrew text frequently hints at things that are not clearly said.  One has to pay attention.

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

Jehoiakim is the second king after Josiah.

In a previous message, we explored how Josiah came to hear, for the first time, the “Book of the Law” which was found, having been lost in the temple.  Upon hearing the word read, Josiah repented, inquired of the Lord and set out to rid the Temple, the Royal City and the Nation of a cluster of abominations placed there by previous kings.  Josiah is warned that judgment was coming, but that he would not live to see it.  (II Kings 22,23)

Now Jehoiakim, a son of Josiah enters the kingship.  He does not follow the example of Josiah.  An interesting story is told in Jeremiah 36, where the Prophet dictated a scroll to Baruch, who took it to be read in the Temple grounds.  The book was finally brought to this king, who had it read to him, and as it was read, he cut out the pages and tossed them in the fire. No repentance, only disrespect.

So Daniel 1:1 reports that after 3 years of his reign, he is besieged by Nebuchadnezzar.  the holy vessels of the temple are taken away and placed in Babylonian temples – presumably for safe keeping until the 70 year exile would end.

The end of the chapter, after Daniel and his three companions survive a test of faith and loyalty, it is said that Daniel served in exile until King Cyrus – the instrument of restoration – came to power 65 years later.

In the heart of the city of God and the house of worship was unfaithfulness and a disregard for the word of God – under Jehoiakim.  In the heart of the city associated with magic, decadence, and idolatry, we find faithfulness and care in keeping the Word of God, with Daniel.

Athanasius – “Theologian of the Year”

673655I preach a “Theologian of the Year” message every Reformation Sunday, the Sunday closest to
All Saints Eve (Halloween) in honor of Martin Luther’s posting of the 95 Theses.

This year, fitting with a series called Profiles in Courage, I chose Athanasius for his courageous stance on defending the orthodox view of the divine/human nature of Jesus Christ.  Below is my sermon and a document with quotes from his work “On the Incarnation.”  Reading this ancient author has produces a few responses in me, one is under “Reactions” below.

The second reason for the Incarnation according to Athanasius is found in this quote:

Once the mind of human beings descended to perceptible things, the Word himself submitted to appear through a body, so that as a human he might bring humans to himself and return their sense perception to himself, and then, by their seeing him as a human being, he might persuade them through the works he effected that he is not a man only but God and the Word and Wisdom of the true God.  (On the Incarnation # 16)

My reaction:   Jesus entered the material world.  All of humanity turned from the knowledge of God to the enjoyment and even worship of material things.  So Jesus was born in this material world to gain out attention.  Once we noticed his works, we could listen to his words and be restored to the knowledge of God.

John’s gospel called the Miracles of Jesus Signs – they did not exist as an end in themselves.  He did not turn water into wine just for the wedding. He did not feed the 5,000 just because they were hungry.  These miracles were signs.  Once they had their fill of wine and bread, would they turn to consider who it was that was among them?


Athanasius excerpts

Reactions to Athanasius

Crouton 27



October 17, 2013



“On the contrary: ‘If you enemy is hungry, feed him”  Romans 12:20

The next few croutons are a quote from Proverbs 25:21-22.

If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat;
    if he is thirsty, give him water to drink.
 In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head,
    and the Lord will reward you.

What is this advice “on the contrary” to?

Does this proverb promise reconciliation?  What does it promise?


Crouton – 24



October 24, 2013

“If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”  Romans 12:18


There are two conditions:

  • If it is possible: maybe it is not possible.
  • as far as it depends on you:  you can only control your part.


Are you in conflict with anyone?