Daniel – God is in charge
“Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, For wisdom and might are His. And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise And knowledge to those who have understanding. He reveals deep and secret things; He knows what is in the darkness, And light dwells with Him…” Daniel 2:20-22
Daniel was a contemporary of Ezekiel and Jeremiah. Like Ezekiel, Daniel was among the people exiled to Babylon from Jerusalem after Judah was overthrown and demolished.
The Book of Daniel is full of amazing stories that ignite the imaginations of children as they learn about Daniel in the lions den, sovereignly protected by God. And Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-Nego, the faithful Hebrew men who would not bow to a false idol. These three were thrown into a blazing furnace of fire so hot that it killed people outside the furnace with its intense heat. Yet the three young men remained alive in the midst of the furnace, as cool and fresh as a dewy spring morning, protected by the Lord, who joined them in the furnace.
It is a book of apocalyptic detail which has ignited the imagination of eager bible students desiring to decipher and apply Daniels imagery to current and future events.
When we read Daniel we tend to think of the future because of how he alludes to it, which is understandable and even intended by God. But, also, think of the context, Daniel is in a foreign land with the opportunity to speak to Kings and Rulers about the wonderful works of God.
Through fasting, prayer, an amazing grasp of the Law history, and a whole-hearted devotion to God, Daniel speaks about the sovereign God to the unbelieving gentile rulers of the known world! And one after another these pagan dictators are left to admit the authority and power of God. Now, it typically drives them mad, but they have to admit that there is a power higher than the King.
Daniel is like the Christians today that selflessly seek the Lord through prayer, fasting and study. These people see the ‘big picture’ regarding world events. They are not shaken by anything in the news, because in everything they know something is going on behind the scenes that the cameras never catch. God is at work. It’s the difference between walking in darkness and walking in light.
Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” John 8:12
While the rest of the world is walking around in darkness, falsely perceiving their importance, behaving selfishly, seeking to build little personal kingdoms, God’s people have a different perspective. They see all this leading somewhere. They are not shortsighted. They know that God is watching and Jesus is coming soon. They know that good times are the blessing and beauty of God, and difficult times are for pruning and purging. Everything we go through is a time for repentant hearts and greater dependence on the Lord Jesus.
In the Septuagint version of Daniel there are extra verses at the end of chapter 12 and another story. In this story we see Daniel laughing at the folly of those trying to trick the king into worshipping false gods. He laughs because it is ludicrous. As serious as this life can be, sometimes people are just idiots and it is just impossible not to shake your head and laugh at the folly of the world. Really, though, it’s not funny.
The deprivation and sin of the world is horribly real, so it is serious business, dear one. Like Daniel we are called to bring light into that darkness. Pray, fast, seek the face of the Lord and He will enlighten your heart with the right words and the right time. Like Daniel of old.