Book 27 of the OT, having 12 chapters. Time to read: 1 hr 10 mins.
Daniel recorded events during the exile of the Jews from 605-535 BC to show how God is in control and watches over those faithful to Him. This major prophetic book also includes the visions he received of God’s plans beginning with Babylon and continuing until the end of time. Habakkuk, Ezekiel and Jeremiah were also prophets during parts of Daniel’s ministry.
Key people: Daniel, and his three friends (Shadrach, Meshach, Abednego), and four kings including Nebuchadnezzar and Cyrus.
Outline. In 605 BC King Nebuchadnezzar attacked Judah and thousands of Jews were deported back to Babylon. From this number Daniel and several other talented young men were chosen and given intense training to become officials in the Babylonian Empire. However, they purposed that although they would be loyal to this new regime they wouldn’t compromise their faith but maintain a strong trust and commitment to God. They refused to eat the King’s food or bow down to him. This brought them into conflict with the authorities as did Daniel continuing to worship God against a royal decree forbidding this. Daniel was thrown into the lion’s den and miraculously was not devoured by them. The sovereignty of God outworking his plans, intervening and arranging situations in the lives of nations and individuals through various circumstances is evident throughout the book. Daniel interpreted various dreams, one of which was fulfilled that very night when Babylon was captured by another nation. He had numerous visions – some related to that period in history and others have yet to be fulfilled.
Key lesson. It is possible to live a God-fearing life in the midst of unfavourable circumstances knowing that God is sovereign and working out His plans for individuals and nations. This gives us security, hope, peace, confidence and purpose in our lives today and an enthusiastic motivation to live for Him in spite of pressure and hardship.
Key verses and thoughts. * God knows and reveals hidden things (Dan 2:22). Although this was not an area of sin or a cover up it shows nothing is exempt from His sight and knowing – we cannot hide anything from God. Is there something I am trying to conceal from God, or hoping He won’t reveal to another – an area in my life that is questionable? Own up to it – confront and confess then move on. It is embarrassing having others confront you about something you are ashamed of and have tried to keep hidden and haven’t dealt with for “There is nothing hidden that shall not be revealed” (Lk 12:2).
* “God is able to deliver us. But even if He doesn’t we will remain loyal to Him” (Dan 3:16-18). These men chose to honour God, maintain their integrity and were determined to be faithful regardless of the consequences. Their faith was in God, not as an insurance policy but a commitment of heart, whether He intervened or not. Throughout history many people have been martyred because of their refusal to deny Christ (Heb 11:35-40). What would my response be in this kind of situation?
* Daniel continued to pray as he had done before (Dan 6:10). He was not intimidated because he was living uprightly for God, acknowledging the higher authority. Truth and justice triumphed in the end. We can trust God to be with us through any trial because He promises, “to never leave or forsake us” (Heb 13:5). He has been faithful to us, and we should remain faithfully committed to Him, regardless of the pressure to compromise or deny Him.
* “The people who know their God shall be strong and firmly resist the enemy (Dan 11:32). The greater our connection, and consequently intimate relationship with the triune God the greater our effectiveness in the Kingdom of God. We are in a life and death struggle for the souls of people. He calls on us to be actively engaged in the battle for righteousness and winning the lost into His Kingdom.