Day 210 – Thru the Bible
Today we start Daniel. Here’s the overview video.
Video – Read Scripture: Daniel
How does this video help you understand the big picture of Daniel?
Daniel 1 – The opening words of Daniel remind us that God is faithful to His word and to His people. In Leviticus 26:33, 39, the Lord warned His people that faithlessness would result in exile. Now, after a lengthy history of disobedience, Nebuchadnezzar is the instrument of God’s discipline. The discipline includes the details that the “vessels of the house of God” and members of the “royal family” were taken from Jerusalem in accord with previous prophecies from Isaiah (2 Kings 20:12–19; Isaiah 39) that came in response to King Hezekiah’s arrogant display of Israel’s treasures to Babylonian representatives.
The discipline shows God’s faithfulness to His people in three ways. First, the discipline turns Israel from spiritually destructive disobedience to renewed blessing according to God’s long-term plan. Second, the warning of discipline indicates a divine heart that takes no delight in His people’s suffering. If God did not care, he would not warn. Third, the discipline itself demonstrates God’s persevering love—because He is faithful to His covenant with His people, God does not destroy them but maintains a remnant (that includes the royal line of David) in exile, through whom the Messiah will eventually come.
Daniel acts faithfully, but God provides the protection and provision necessary for such righteousness. “God gave” the young man favor from the chief of the eunuchs. God also gives better health to the four young men who do not eat the better food. God is working prior to, through, and beyond Daniel’s own resolve to act righteously. Such care reminds us to act righteously and let God take care of the rest that is needed for His purposes to be fulfilled.
God supernaturally preserved Daniel and his friends, and then “God gave” supernatural insight into present and future events. Though Daniel and his people are helpless before the earthly and spiritual powers holding them captive, God is working powerfully to provide them hope in that age and in the ages to come. The final words of the chapter mention King Cyrus, the future ruler who will allow Daniel’s people to return to Israel (2 Chronicles 36:22–23; Ezra 1:1–3).
His does God’s faithfulness through the ages and His promises for the ages to come give us abundant hope to act faithfully in present difficulties?
Daniel 2 – The inability of Nebuchadnezzar’s wise men to provide the content and interpretation of his dream reminds us of the limitations of even the greatest human wisdom.
Daniel does two things that demonstrate his dependence on God’s gracious provision: (1) he urges that God be sought for needed answers, and (2) he gives God credit—in private and in public—for the revelation of the king’s dream.
The superiority of Daniel’s God over the pagan deities is evident not only in the revelation of the dream but also in the revelation that Daniel’s God will be the final and eternal victor over the successive kingdoms of humanity.
This vision coheres with the gospel promises that Jesus will ultimately reign over all (2 Samuel 7:11–16; Isaiah 9:7; Luke 1:32–33; Ephesians 1:20–23). This kingdom reign of Jesus dawned decisively in His first coming (Mark 1:15), and His full and uncontested reign will be perfectly completed at His second coming (Rev. 20:6). Faith in Jesus’ ultimate rule over matters present and future is the basis for our abiding peace and unshakable hope amid present trials.
The superiority of Daniel’s God is shown to the people of his time by the fact that their most powerful king pays homage both to God’s representatives and to God himself.
How does this remind you of all God has done in your life and how do you give a Him the glory, both privately and publicly?
Daniel 3 – Daniel puts his friends, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, in the spotlight to indicate that God is able to deliver all who trust in Him from the powers of evil. This is supremely true for those who have been united by faith to Jesus, who delivers His people from the ultimate powers of evil (Colossians 2:15) and works all things together for good even now (Romans 8:28).
The three young men acknowledge that God is able to deliver them, regardless of what the king threatens. “But if not . . .” indicates a willingness to bow before God’s sovereign wisdom and will. Whether God delivers them from the king’s present threats or ushers them into eternal bliss in heaven, the young men will not serve the false idols of Nebuchadnezzar. They do not demand that God deliver them in the way that they think is best but trust that He will deliver as He knows is best. God’s deliverance may come in this life or in the life to come, but His grace is always operating to provide what is best for our eternal good.
The presence in the furnace of one who “is like a son of the gods” may be a Christophany (i.e., an Old Testament appearance of Jesus), but it is unquestionably an indication of the presence of a heavenly emissary from God. Such a presence reminds us of the saving nature of God, who will ultimately appear as Immanuel (“God with us”) in the person of Jesus Christ (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23). Then as now, Jesus often meets His people most profoundly in the “furnace experiences” of life.
As he previously did with Daniel (see 2:46–49), Nebuchadnezzar gives homage and promotion to God’s representatives and to God Himself. The absence of any singeing or smell of smoke indicates how thorough was God’s protection and deliverance of His people. Sadly, Nebuchadnezzar does not yet acknowledge this God as his own; he only honors “the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego.” The words remind us of the importance of trusting Jesus personally, not just acknowledging Him as a religious icon or concept that others accept.
How do you trust God to do what He knows is best for you (even if it differs from what you think would be best)?
What other thoughts or questions does today’s video and reading bring up?
Some of these notes are from the ESV Gospel Transformation Bible study notes. We highly recommend this study Bible.
Videos produced by www.TheGospelProject.com.
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