The Book of Daniel is a well read book of prophecy. His prophecies cover a vast time period. From Daniel’s day to the present. But that’s not what I want to talk about this time. As I studied the book of Daniel several things popped out at me. He has much to say about how we should live our life today, especially with our government gone wild! First a little history about Daniel.
We know that Daniel was given dreams and visions between 605 BC and 530 BC. But I found something profound in the testimony of Daniel. Not only did he prophecy, but he left us with a perfect trail for living our lives in a difficult and topsy turvy world. Let’s look at how Daniel came to be in Babylon.
Daniel Chapter 1 (NIV)
In the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim King of Judah, Nebuchadnezzar King of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. And the Lord delivered Jehoiakim King of Jucah into his hand, along with some of the articles from the teimple of God. These he carried off to the temple of his god in Babylonia and put in the treasure house of his god. Then the King ordered Ashpenaz, chief of his court officials, to bring in some of the Israelites from the royal family and the nobility—young men without any physical defect, handsome, showing aptitude for every kind of learning, well informed, quick to understand, and qualified to serve in the king’s palace. He was to teach them the language and literature of the Babylonians. The King assigned them a daily amount of food and wine from the King’s table. They were to be rained for three years, and after that they were to enter the King’s service. among these wre some from Judah: Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. The chief official gave them new names: to Daniel the name Belteshazzar; to Hananiah, Shadrach; to Mishael, Meshach; and to Azariah, Abednego.
So What Did Daniel and Friends Do?
They were taken captive, and told they would have to learn new customs, they would be fed from the King’s table and have his wine to drink. Now the Iraelites had strict dietary laws. Daniel decided that he was not going to defile himself in this way. It would have been very easy for Daniel and his friends to just go along with everything so they wouldn’t be killed, but they made a statement. They asked the head servant to not make them partake of this. The head servant liked them, but he was more afraid of the King, and he was afraid if he just fed Daniel and his friends the vegetables he wanted, that they would wither and lose weight and make the King mad. But Daniel convinced him and let them try it. It turned out that this type of diet actually made them look good. It’s at this time that God gave them knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. Daniel could understand visions and dreams. The King thought Daniel’s wisdom was pretty awesome. In fact he found them better than all his magicians. He excelled in everything he did. He even told the King a dream he had, and then told him the meaning. This outdid all the kings magicians and wise men, because no one (they thought) could tell someone what they dreamed! But Daniel did. This pleased the King, but it made the rest of the King’s court mad.
Then King Nebuchadnezzar made an image of gold and set it in Babylon, and summoned everyone in the kingdom for dedication. He told everyone, well the Bible say’s this: “This is what you are commanded to do, O peoples, nations and men of every language: As soon as you hear the sound of the horn, flute, zither, lyre, harp, pipes and all kinds of music, you must fall down and worship the image of gold that King Nebuchadnezzar has set up. Whoever does not fall down and worship will immediately be thrown into a blazing furnace.
Whoa, can you imagine what went through Daniel’s mind? I’m sure he thought, well, this is a fine mess we’re in. How are we gonna get out of this one?
Well imagine what that must have looked like. They played the music and everyone fell face down and worshiped the golden image. Everyone but Shadrach, Meshach, and Abindigo, that is. Maybe they thought no one would notice since everyone was face down, but there were some astrologers who took notice and went to the King, to make it short, the King was furious and ordered them to be thrown into the fiery furnace. So they fired that thing up hotter than ever before. Imagine what that looked like, a furnace big enough to hold 3 men?! Well anyway, they threw them in there, and it wasn’t too long before they peeked in to see, and realized there were 4 men in the fire and not 3!! And they were walking around! Untouched! They said the 4th man “Looks like a son of the gods.” So we know who that was in the fire with them! Anyway they pulled the 3 men out, and the King promoted them. The King had other dreams, even went insane for a while, and Daniel and his friends thrived.
The Party to Beat All
Well, Belshazzar Nebuchadnezzar’s son, decided he was going to throw a party to beat all party’s. So he got out the gold cups, his father brought from the temple, dusted them off, and used them in his little orgy. Well that was the end. A huge hand appeared and wrote the demise of Babylon on the wall. So Daniel and his friends was hauled off to serve yet another King! Boy, I bet by this time they were really growing weary. But they didn’t give up! King Darius’s men found Daniel on his knees praying one day and went and told the king, and they convinced him to throw Daniel into the Lion’s Den, for praying to God, and not the King. Well, can you imagine what Daniel thought. I’m sure he didn’t scream at God, but he went rather than bow down to a false god. And God sent an angel to guard Daniel, so when the King came to check on Daniel, because he felt guilty, there was Daniel in the middle of the Lions, unharmed!!! The Bible say’s no wound was found on him because he trusted his God!!!
So, My Point Is This
If we’re going to survive in the world today, and in the day’s ahead, we are going to have to somehow harness Daniel’s blind trust of God. Daniel didn’t cower and say Oh, I hope God takes care of me, those Lion’s look pretty hungry, He has absolute faith and trust in God! A kind of Blind faith! Shadrach, Meshach, and Abendigo had that same blind trust and faith, and Jesus walked through the fire with them!
Now Daniel and his friends didn’t get rich, they didn’t get their freedom, and you’ve already seen the kind of faith they had. You know they had to pray for their release and return to Jerusalem. But God had a plan. They did prosper though, just like Joseph when he was sold into slavery. None of these righteous men of God got exactly what they wanted. Because let’s be honest, they didn’t choose what happened to them. In fact they prayed for deliverance. But God prospered them none the less. So if we learn from Daniel’s experience, it’s that we can live our lives in the world, but we don’t have to be a part of it. Daniel lived and served in Babylon, and persia, but he didn’t become a part of it. Him and his friends separated themselves from the world they lived in, even to the point of death. This is what we must do.
The prosperity teachers, and the emergent church leaders would have us believe that all the old testament doesn’t matter today because we are under the new covenant. There is many things wrong with that, but that’s another topic. Let’s say for a minute they are right. Just imagine it for a minute for the sake of topic. Ok so we’re under a new covenant, and we should teach only Love of Christ, No Hell, No Wrath for disobedience, and if we ask we can have new cars, new homes, great amounts of money in the bank, and everything our hearts desire, if we just ask and have faith. Not. Do you think that the apostles were rich? Do you think that they had everything their hearts desired? Not. Christ loved them so much. Even John was exiled to an Island and forced to work in a quarry. John was the only desciple not executed, but he wasn’t rich. There’s probably a reason for that.
The Gospel According to Christ: Matthew 6:19-20
Jesus said: “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” 24. “No one can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other,, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. YOU CANNOT SERVE BOTH GOD AND MONEY.”
Christ loves us and commands us to love others. He also say’s anything you ask in my name shall be delivered. But you can’t have both. Devotion to Jesus and devotion to money. Our God takes care of our needs. I don’t know how many times when I was really in bad financial straits there came an unexpected check, or someone gave me some money. There is always a miracle no matter how small.
So, read the Bible, the whole Bible. And by the way, Jesus just didn’t teach or practice the word of God, He IS the word! John 1:1-2 “In the beginning was the word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the Beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.”
So read the Bible, memorize it’s words, and keep it close to your heart. God’s words will never fail you. The books of the Bible are more then mere stories, it show’s people, ordinary people becoming extraordinary through their faith and blind trust in God. So the next time your hit with a problem or despair learn how to say, Ok those Lion’s don’t scare me, because God will take care of me. And He already knows how this is going to turn out. Tune up your blind faith, read the scriptures and let God reveal His love and guidance to you. God Bless.