Daniel the Beloved

September 15, 2020 

Daniel 7:1-8

1 In the first year of Belshazzar king of Babylon, Daniel saw a dream and visions of his head as he lay in his bed. Then he wrote down the dream and told the sum of the matter. Daniel declared, “I saw in my vision by night, and behold, the four winds of heaven were stirring up the great sea. And four great beasts came up out of the sea, different from one another. The first was like a lion and had eagles’ wings. Then as I looked its wings were plucked off, and it was lifted up from the ground and made to stand on two feet like a man, and the mind of a man was given to it.

And behold, another beast, a second one, like a bear. It was raised up on one side. It had three ribs in its mouth between its teeth; and it was told, ‘Arise, devour much flesh.’

After this I looked, and behold, another, like a leopard, with four wings of a bird on its back. And the beast had four heads, and dominion was given to it.

After this I saw in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast, terrifying and dreadful and exceedingly strong. It had great iron teeth; it devoured and broke in pieces and stamped what was left with its feet. It was different from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns. I considered the horns, and behold, there came up among them another horn, a little one, before which three of the first horns were plucked up by the roots. And behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking great things.

 Daniel is described three times in the book as “the man greatly beloved” (Daniel 9:23; 10:11,19). It is an interesting fact that the other man whom Jesus loved, John the beloved, also wrote a book about prophesy. I guess you tell your best friend things you might not tell other people. God told these men similar things relating to the end times, things he was going to bring to pass.

It is difficult to understand the book of Revelation without having some knowledge of Daniel’s prophesy. And reading and understanding Revelation gives insight on how to interpret Daniel. These books complement one another, it is almost like Daniel’s visions are not completely understood until John.

Daniel had been given to gift of interpretation by God and was successful in revealing the message behind Nebuchadnezzar’s dreams. But when he was given his own dreams, visions by God they alarmed him. He became anxious and worried about the interpretation.

Like the visions of Ezekiel before him and John after him he was only able to describe what he saw in the terms of the language accustomed to him. It seems he didn’t have the vocabulary to describe what he saw. “It was like…” became a common expression as they all searched for ways to describe the “other worldly” creatures and phenomenon they saw. Besides the actual events portrayed there were obviously things Daniel could not understand with regards to the things they revealed about the future.

So, when Daniel spoke to one of the people in the vision and asked what it all meant. The angel answered him and seemed happy to unravel the secrets and mysteries of the dream.

God desires understanding for his people. He has given us his word, he has revealed things by his spirit that the world will not understand. He calls us to know him and to be the recipients of information about what he is preparing to do. This knowledge is available to us because as believers we are in Christ, and we are therefore the beloved of God.

The Living God

September 14, 2020 

Daniel 6:8-9, 16-17

24 And the king commanded, and those men who had maliciously accused Daniel were brought and cast into the den of lions—they, their children, and their wives. And before they reached the bottom of the den, the lions overpowered them and broke all their bones in pieces.

25 Then King Darius wrote to all the peoples, nations, and languages that dwell in all the earth: “Peace be multiplied to you. 26 I make a decree, that in all my royal dominion people are to tremble and fear before the God of Daniel, for he is the living God, enduring forever; his kingdom shall never be destroyed, and his dominion shall be to the end. 27   He delivers and rescues; he works signs and wonders in heaven and on earth,  he who has saved Daniel from the power of the lions.” 28 So this Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrus the Persian.

The end of the story of Daniel in the lion’s den has a disturbing twist. There is an irony to the events that happen afterward, much like the story of Mordechai in the Book of Ester. The satraps who wanted Daniel dead, who tricked the king into making an irrevocable decree were themselves executed by the same device (the lion’s den) that they used against Daniel.

But Darius is not content to put to death these men, he also executes their entire family along with them… they, their children, and their wives. Yes, the king has a change of heart towards Daniel’s God, but he is in no means acting for God or being used by God to execute judgement. But it does point us to the fact that earthly kings will never be able to satisfy the justice of God, they are temporary rulers who are given temporary power until the final king takes the throne.

A cursory examination of the law of Moses reveals the children are not to suffer for the sins of the fathers. Women are not to be judged for their husband’s guilt. We are all responsible for our own actions before God.

We are not told, but it must have grieved Daniel to see this injustice performed in the name of God. Darius has seen the power of God and now, and his decree is for everyone in his kingdom to have a reverential fear of the only living God.

The theme of the book of Daniel is God is sovereign. He lifts nations up and brings them down. He alone decides who lives and who dies, who becomes king and which kings will be defeated. He rules over the nation.

In our day we often forget these facts. We worry and fret over elections and politics and often lose sight that whatever happens God is in control and he is still sovereign over nations.

We cannot overlook the facts surrounding the formation of our country. A government for the people and by the people under God… this was the dream of our founders. We want justice and mercy to be the guiding truth and we have the great responsibility to vote our conscience, to put people into elected positions who will carry out the will of almighty God.

It has been a great experiment, but it will not last forever. There will come a day when our great nation will submit itself to the will of another great world ruler. Daniel saw it in a dream, it will come to pass. Darius was used by God, but he did not subject himself to the will of God. America has been used by God, but we are not submitting to the will of god. God is still sovereign, he is the living God, may his will be done.

The Ultimate Daniel

September 12, 2020 

Daniel 6:8-9, 16-17

16 So the king gave the order, and they brought Daniel and threw him into the lions’ den. The king said to Daniel, “May your God, whom you serve continually, rescue you!” 17 A stone was brought and placed over the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet ring and with the rings of his nobles, so that Daniel’s situation might not be changed.

18 Then the king returned to his palace and spent the night without eating and without any entertainment being brought to him. And he could not sleep. 19 At the first light of dawn, the king got up and hurried to the lions’ den. 20 When he came near the den, he called to Daniel in an anguished voice, “Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, whom you serve continually, been able to rescue you from the lions?”

21 Daniel answered, “O king, live forever! 22 My God sent his angel, and he shut the mouths of the lions. They have not hurt me, because I was found innocent in his sight. Nor have I ever done any wrong before you, O king.” 23 The king was overjoyed and gave orders to lift Daniel out of the den. And when Daniel was lifted from the den, no wound was found on him, because he had trusted in his God.

The king says, “Oh my goodness, how did this happen?” What does he say to the king? He says, “O king, live forever! My God sent his angel …” Do you remember Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego? Into the furnace, now into the lions’ den, who is this guy?

Nebuchadnezzar saw him, and he said he looked like a son of the gods. The weird thing about this angel is he does not deliver outside of the furnace. He doesn’t deliver outside of the den. He could. Why doesn’t he? If he’s going to deliver Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, if he’s going to deliver Daniel, why not just strike the guards dead? Why not just create an avalanche and cover up the den?

Why does he always go in? Who is this guy? We already referred to him. There is somebody else, who was also thrown into a tomb and sealed over with a rock and also came out, but why?

The Bible tells us in Psalm 22 what the Messiah is going to say from the cross. “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? All who see me mock me. They hurl insults, saying, ‘He trusts in the Lord, but the Lord will not rescue him.’ Roaring lions open their mouths wide against me. You lay me in the dust of death.”

This is what it means. The real Daniel, who went into the real lions’ den and who went before the real lions, the justice of God, who got the punishment that we all needed, was broken and was torn by the justice of God.

The real Daniel, who went into the real lions’ den, was Jesus Christ. Because he was the ultimate Daniel, who went before the ultimate lions, we now can go into the lion dens of our lives with confidence.

Because he was thrown away, because he was cut off, because he was thrown into that ultimate lions’ den, I’m never going to experience anything like that. Therefore, I can truly be Daniel. Do you know what Daniel means? The word Daniye’l means my judge is God. God is my judge. I don’t care what you think. I don’t care what anybody thinks.

In other words, do you believe the ultimate Daniel went into the ultimate lions’ den for you? Do you believe Jesus Christ went and took your punishment so that now you really are innocent in God’s sight?

If you’re in awe about what he has done for you, then you’ll walk into every other lions’ den, and you’ll say, “Daniye’l. God is my judge. This is a small thing because of what Jesus Christ has done for me.” Fear God, and fear nothing else.

Daily Devotions 2020