We begin our reading of Daniel today. Daniel was in one of the first groups taken to Babylon (1:1 = 605 BC). The last date given for him is 536 BC in 10:1. Thus he lived out his life in Babylon. Yet he was faithful to God through the years and against all the circumstances that would have seemed to dictate otherwise.
The book is pretty much divided into two parts. The first part, chapters 1-6, are personal stories of Daniel and his friends. They demonstrate how God’s people should have served God throughout the OT. People CAN BE faithful even in difficult situations. It is good to pay attention to how God is shown to intervene in such affairs (cp. 1:9, 17, etc.). Again, the real story is not about Daniel and his friends, but God.
Then, chapters 7-12, God through Daniel reveals the coming events in world history. Such events are not just random wandering of politics, but are known and guided by the hand of God. We see the history heading towards the eternal kingdom of Jesus, the eternal kingdom that is setup without men’s hands (ch. 2). World powers will come and go, but God’s kingdom, authority, and rule is eternal.
Such revelation as we see in chapter two would have strengthened their undergirding faith in God as sovereign. Seeing that He indeed even rules over the greatest living man of the day and does with him what He would, allows them the faith to withstand ungodly demands of men.
God rules in the kingdoms of men, and thus in the very lives of His people. It is however often difficult to be faithful to God. Would you be able to remain faithful to God and His teaching if your hopes and plans were dashed to the ground? Would you serve Him even though you were reduced to serving someone else’s plans in a foreign country? Would you be faithful to God if it required withstanding the king and political rulers? Would you be faithful if your very life hung in the balance? Would you save your life and lose your soul?
Daniel and his friends answer YES to all the above. They hold to their conviction of following God’s rules on clean and unclean food (ch. 1). They refuse to worship any god but God (ch. 3). Daniel was held up as an exemplary man of God by Ezekiel (14:14,20; 28:3). The book of Hebrews will recount that he and his friends “by faith conquered kingdoms, performed acts of righteousness, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong…” (Heb. 11:33-34). God sees what is happening. God hears the prayers of His people. God knows the dreams and private thoughts of even pagan kings. God cares. Read again 4:34-35 and 6:26-27.
We serve an amazing God, let us be faithful unto Him.