While snowblowing recently I plugged into my phone and listened to the book of Daniel on an app; a couple of things grabbed my attention.
1st Daniel’s faithfulness to God: Daniel was a teenager when he and many others were taken captive by Nebuchadnezzar’s army and brought to Babylon. There he was soon faced with this: would he stick with God’s Word? Happily, even though he was ripped away from the influence of parents, peers, and priests God’s Word was hidden in his heart and it provided the influence to keep him from sinning against God.
He…“purposed in His heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s delicacies, nor with the wine which he drank…therefore he requested of the chief of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself.” And many years later, as a ruler in Babylon, some adversaries arose who wanted to destroy Daniel; so they concocted a scheme which played off King Cyrus’ ego and a law was established that prohibited anyone from praying to anyone other than the king for 30 days; the consequences of violating this law…they’d be lunch for the lions.
But Daniel…“when he knew the writing was signed, went home and in his upper room, with his windows open toward Jerusalem, knelt down on his knees three times that day, and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as was his custom since early days.
When God’s Word is treasured…choices become easy…because we want to be faithful to the LORD.
2nd God’s sovereign rule over all things: It was God who gave Jehoiakim king of Israel into Nebuchadnezzar’s hand; which means God was responsible for Daniel’s captivity…yet we never hear Daniel accusing God of being “unfair”. God sovereignly worked in the life of prideful, pagan king Nebuchadnezzar by sending him a dream which caused him great anxiety; and then God used Daniel to be the one through whom Nebuchadnezzar would have his questions about the dream answered. After this Nebuchadnezzar had a tall statue of gold built in his likeness and ordered everyone to worship it when the music sounded. Daniel’s three friends, who had the same heart as Daniel, told the king they’d burn before they bowed; God sovereignly overruled the king’s command and they walked out, unharmed, by the flames.
Then God sent Nebuchadnezzar another troubling dream and again God gave Daniel the interpretation…the meaning of which he relayed to the king… “till you know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men and gives it to whomever He chooses. Eight years later, the once prideful king, humbly acknowledged this truth while being tied to a stump as an animal.
Two things I take away from this:
1st God does rule in the kingdom of men: I think He graciously saved prideful Nebuchadnezzar and maybe even egotistical Cyrus.
2nd When God’s Word finds lodging in our hearts, our faithfulness to God is fueled by an understanding of His sovereignty.
I want my faith in this same sovereign God to be like Daniel’s.