Bible Reference: Book of Daniel
Heart of the Story: Daniel was a Jewish prophet who lived in Babylon. We remember him because he lived through a night in a lion’s den, but, there is so much more to this sage and prophet.
Back Story: About 605 BC, Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon. besieged Jerusalem and King Jehoiakim gave the city over to Nebuchadnezzar after a short siege. King Jehoiakim, his wives. and various members of the Jewish nobility were taken captive into Babylon. With them, Daniel was taken to Babylon; likely he was in his early teen years (13-15). There, he was trained to serve in the Babylonian court. After the fall of Babylon, Daniel served the Medo-Persian Empire.
Most of the chapters of Daniel depict events from the time of Nebuchadnezzar through Cyrus’ third year as Emperor. In these years we see Daniel refusing to defile himself with foods offered to idols. He refused to stop praying to his God (the God of Israel) so he spent an unharmed night in a lion’s den. He saved the lives of other wise men in the Empire when he was able not only to interpret King Nebuchadnezzar’s dream but to tell the king what it meant. Daniel read the mysterious writing that appeared on the wall of Belshazzar’s banquet hall.
Despite or perhaps because of all these notable actions, most of us stop reading the book of the prophet Daniel at about the end of the 7th chapter. But it is Chapters 7-12 that Daniel recorded his visions and we see more of Daniel’s prophetic side. He saw a vision of four great beasts and a heavenly court (chapter 7) and the vision of the ram, goat, and the little horn (chapter 8). In chapter 9, Daniel realized that the 70 years of Judah’s exile is about over. He confesses the sins of the exiled Jews and begs God to restore them to Jerusalem. Finally (chapters 10-12) sees an end time battle when God’s armies prevail over mankind’s arrogance.
I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t understand a whole lot about Daniel chapters 7-12. My pastor had a sermon series on Daniel this summer and I still do not get it all. I guess the good news is that Pastor Mark understands most of what Daniel wrote. My role is to believe that a) Daniel remained true to his God, b) he confessed and repented the sins of the Jews, c) he saw and recorded that God wins in the end. If God wins, I win because I believe in God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. My future is secure.
Reflection: Because I rest secure in God’s promises does not mean that I do not have to work to promote his kingdom. Daniel can be my role model.
Copyright October 3, 2017; Carolyn A. Roth
Please visit my website for information on books I have authored particularly on Lesser Known Bible Characters and Out of the Shadows, Exposing the Power of Bible Women.